Best place for Golden Monkeys Trekking and Golden monkey habituation experience
Golden Monkey Habituation Experience – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Uganda
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park – Best Golden Monkey Viewing Opportunities on a Regular Trek or Habituation Experience
Despite the name, many people would say that Uganda’s smallest national park actually offers better golden monkey viewing than elsewhere in East Africa. There are two types of monkey viewing on offer here. The standard visit gives you just an hour in the company of the little fellows and is similar to the golden monkey visits on offer in Rwanda. Much more interesting, and unique to Mgahinga, is the far more in-depth ‘Golden Monkey Habituation Experience’. The monkeys here have been at the center of a long running study into their behavior. By signing up to the habituation experience, you get to spend four hours in the presence of the monkeys and follow the scientists around as they study them. Not just does this give you the chance to learn a huge amount about golden monkey behavior, but it also offers a rare ‘behind the scenes’ insight into primate science.
You track the Golden Monkeys through the Bamboo Forest zones of the Virunga Volcanoes and you do have to be in reasonable shape to hike up to their habitat which is wonderful and offers a most rewarding experience. You spent a hour with the monkeys, there are large troops of 50+ members. This family has been habituated which means that they are now used to human beings without rushing off into the forest when humans approach.They move around alot feeding on the bamboo shoots. The Golden Monkey tour is a truly great experience and you see loads and loads of them up close in the bamboo thicket.
Gear for Golden Monkey Trek or Habituation Experience; This is not very different for that for gorilla trekking. It is best to dress right for this Golden Monkey habituation Experience, light-hiking boots, jeans, long-sleeved shirt, hat,rain-jacket, daypack, 1 liter of water, something to eat, and of course your camera and binoculars.
Tip: Hire a porter to carry your backpacks for a small fee – about 20 USD .
- Golden monkeys are much more active than gorillas, and you’ll often have to move quickly through the tangled forest in order to keep up with them. In many respects it’s more like chimpanzee viewing than gorilla viewing.
- Standard Golden Monkey Treks are limited to one hour. This costs US$50 plus $40 Park Entry fee in Ugada. It’s US$100 in Rwanda
- There is no limit to the number of people who can do a golden monkey trek. Having said this, it’s rare to have more than a handful of people in a group.
- There is no minimum age for a visit. So, if you’re travelling with your children, this is one primate experience they can enjoy with you. Take note though that young children will likely find the walking pretty hard going.
- The Habituation experience in Uganda costs $100 plus $40/person daily Park entrance fee.
The tracking permit comes with services of a UWA Ranger and spending one hour with habituated Golden monkeys. Golden monkey tracking permits can be booked in advance or on ground since there is no set limit on the people trekking them.
As with all safari trips, you need to wake up very early in the morning, and arrive to the reception around 7:30am for document verification, and later tour briefing…tracking starts around 9am. Every day trackers go to the forest early around 6am to track the gorillas or monkeys, so they are located well in advance before visitors start climbing up, therefore ensuring you will definitely see what you paid for to see. Visitors are accompanied by one armed guard (to scare shoot in a case you come across buffalos…) and guides that are very professional, polite, patient and client oriented.
This park is not crowded which is nice. Not a lot of tourist stop there, but you really should add one day to your trip to go there.