Where To Go For Golden Monkey Trekking
Golden monkey trekking is one of the thrilling wildlife encounters every traveler to Africa should add on his/her bucket list to Africa. With roughly 5000 golden monkeys surviving in the whole world, an encounter with these endangered species is a not miss for a complete African safari package. The golden coat on the back distinguishes golden monkeys from other monkey species. On several occasions, golden monkey trekking comes second after gorilla tours which rank as the most done tourism activity in East and central Africa which attract the highest number of travelers from all parts of the world. Golden monkeys are scientifically called Cercopithecus Kandti and are subspecies of the blue monkey dwelling in the Virunga Volcanic Mountains of Central and East Africa. Unlike mountain gorillas, golden monkeys live in bigger groups comprised of over 50 members are also habituated to make them familiar with human presence before they are confirmed free for trekking. Regarding their feeding, golden monkeys are herbivorous species, which only survive on bamboo, fruits, leave, flowers and shoots. Golden Monkeys were once at the verge o extinction to habitat loss and civil wars in their natural habitats. They are therefore one of the critically endangered species listed in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Golden monkey trekking is normally done as a gorilla tracking addon to make a complete package.
Where to trek Golden Monkeys
The endangered species only survive in Mgahinga gorilla national park and volcanoes national park in Uganda and Rwanda respectively. The remaining populations live in Gishwata Mukura national park but are not habituated for trekking. Mgahinga and Volcanoes national parks are therefore the best places to encounter these endangered species. Volcanoes national park is roughly 3 hours from Kigali airport, which give travelers with short time chance to also enjoy this encounter. On the other hand, travelers to see golden monkeys in Mgahinga Uganda can fly into Rwanda at Kigali International airport and then cross over through Cyanika Border to kisoro proceeding to Mgahinga a few kilometers from Kisoro district.
How much is golden monkey trekking
Just like in mountain gorillas, travelers to see golden monkeys must buy trekking permits. Fortunately, a golden monkey permit costs $100 which make it quite cheap compared to gorilla permits. Travelers are advised to book for these permits as early as 3 months before the trekking date and pay the booking fee of 30%. Permits are accessed from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Alternatively, travelers can book golden monkey permits through any trusted tour operator offering golden monkey trekking packages in Uganda and Rwanda. A simple briefing about trekking rules and orders precede the trekking session.
Trekking rules and regulations
Travelers are urged to follow the trekking rules and regulations to ensure sustainable golden monkey trekking. These include keeping a distance of 7 meters away from golden monkeys, keeping calm, not feed monkeys and keeping within the groups. Children below 15 years are not allowed to trek golden monkeys.
Travelers to see golden monkeys spend an hour in the company of these endangered species. An hour is counted immediately from the time travelers set their eyes on these species. However, trekking can take several hours before meeting these species depending on their locations and their speed of movements. On reaching the monkeys, travelers are reminded t breath in, take heart and utilize this hour to the fullest. Hold your camera, look for a better position and take as many photos.
Golden monkey habituation experience
Like in mountain gorillas, the golden monkeys go through a habituation experience for 2-3 years before they are opened to travelers for trekking. Habituation in the training process aimed at familiarizing these endangered species to the presence of people. Fortunately, travelers are allowed to be part of the habituation experience, which gives travelers a chance to spend four hours with these endangered species in their natural habitat. Six people are allowed to visit a group of golden monkeys during the habituation experience.
Other activities done
Besides golden monkey trekking, travelers have alternative activities such as mountain gorilla trekking, bird watching, cultural tours, caving, forest walks, and volcano climbing among others. A combination of these activities makes a complete safari package which rewards travelers with remarkable experiences.
Conclusively, golden monkey trekking is a thrilling out you should not miss out on your safari to Africa. Book a golden monkey tracking tour to Mgahinga gorilla national park and Volcanoes national park, meet face to face with these endangered species at the relatively low rates possible.