Golden Monkey Tracking in Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga
Golden Monkey Tracking is only possible in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Virunga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The snub-nosed monkey is a subspecies of the Sykes monkey, also known as the “blue monkey”, scientifically known as Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti. They live in a group of about 60 people on the slopes of the Virunga Rangers Hill. What sets them apart from other monkey species is the golden orange spots on their fur, making them one of the most beautiful and lovable monkey species in Africa. They usually feed on bamboo shoots/branches and occasionally look for ripe fruits and insects on the ground.
Golden monkeys are very active, curious, and playful. They are always jumping from tree to tree, making photography difficult. Their main predator is the golden eagle Like mountain gorillas, and Golden, monkeys are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and about 5,000 monkeys still live in the Virunga Mountains. Their habitat has declined due to civil war in the Virunga region. Locals have chased them in the past when they would sometimes break out of the park and loot the garden like fresh potatoes. Due to the scarcity and uniqueness of golden monkeys, tourists are attracted to golden monkeys, which has led to the protection of golden monkeys in the world.
Where to Go for Golden Monkey Tracking in East Africa?
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda:
Volcanoes National Park now has two regular units of golden monkeys. The largest and most visited group, numbering about 100 people, lives around the slopes of Mount Sabinyo. A troop of monkeys can also be found in the Kishwati Forest Reserve. A small group of people is believed to have survived in Nyungwe Forest National Park. However, Gishwati Forest Reserve and Nyungwe Forest National Park do not have organized tracking for tourists. The groups found here are unhabituated and remain wild.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda:
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park has two regular troops of golden monkeys. This park is probably the best place for golden monkey tracking. The park offers a four-hour golden monkey taming experience, giving visitors more time to observe and learn about the primates’ lives with international researchers, experienced trackers, and Uganda Wildlife Service guides.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Golden monkeys can also be found in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega in eastern DRC. For several reasons, including security, golden monkey tracking are not yet fully open to tourists in the Congo.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Volcanoes National Park
Golden monkey tracking is best done in Uganda and Rwanda as these countries are better organized and safer. There is no age or number limit for tracking golden monkeys. Golden Monkey Tracking begins with a briefing at the park office at 7:30 am. After the briefing, you can hire a porter to help with extra luggage before heading to the starting point. Tracking golden monkeys takes less time (about an hour) and requires less effort than trekking with gorillas, but it takes effort to find them.
They are smaller and leave no clear evidence of where they were in their former mountain gorilla existence. The tracker finds them by looking for fresh remnants of bamboo shoots. Each day of the golden monkey tracking is different – the weather and the activities of the monkey army determine how the day will unfold. Photographing these monkeys (unlike mountain gorillas, which can be taken in a flash) is a little difficult because they are constantly moving on the treetops.
Best Time For Golden Monkey Tracking
The only time monkeys don’t move is when it’s raining or windy. The wind makes it difficult for them to find prey and they must be alert. The best way to capture these cute creatures is to set your camera to a fast shutter speed. Once you find the monkeys, you usually have to follow them as they often jump from tree to tree with their long tails. Long tails help them balance, but can get stuck in bamboo trees and be cut off – no wonder some troop members have short tails.
Common Golden monkeys are not too shy around people and may approach out of curiosity. Like the mountain gorillas, visitors can only see the golden monkeys for one hour. You may also be interested in the 2-Day Golden Monkey Tracking Tour in Rwanda. We also have a 4-day gorilla trek and a golden monkey package. If you want to see both primates in one tour, check out our 3-Day Rwanda Golden Monkey Tracking and Gorilla Safari Package.
Golden Monkey Habituation in Uganda and Rwanda
Golden monkeys take some getting used to because of their shyness and wild nature. Troops of wild Golden turn away from humans at first sight. Adaptation of the Golden Monkey is the process by which the troops slowly adapt to the people around them. The Golden Acclimatization Experience is a special experience for visitors who want to learn more about the primates after the standard one-hour tracking. During the Golden monkey acclimatization, visitors have 4 hours to closely study the monkey’s behavior while receiving in-depth information from researchers and experienced trackers.
Golden Monkey Tracking Packing List
Take the following items with you as you track down the golden monkeys.
- Good hiking boots
- rain jacket
- Shirt with long sleeves
- Takeaway lunch and drinking water
- Flash enabled
- crutches for support
- Porters with additional luggage and moving on slippery terrain
- insect repellent
Golden Monkey Tracking Permit
If you decide to track a monkey’s nose, you will need a monkey permit. The permit allows visitors to spend an hour with the primates. Visitors can obtain permits directly from the various state councils. In Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, permits are obtained through the Uganda Wildlife Authority, while in Rwanda, permits are obtained through the Rwanda Development Board.
Deks Uganda Safaris can help you organize your entire golden monkey trip, including permits, accommodation, and transport. Unlike a gorilla license, the price of a monkey tracking license changes frequently. Golden monkey licenses do not require booking, like gorilla licenses. They can be obtained on the day of the tracking. The chance to see golden monkeys is very high. Authorities in various countries will refund you if you don’t see them (which is very rare). Let’s take a look at the cost of tracking golden monkeys in Rwanda and Uganda.
Rwanda Golden Monkey Tracking:
The current price for a Golden monkey tracking permit is $100 per person. a person. Prices include ranger and park fees in Volcanoes National Park. License obtained from Rwanda Development Commission. Uganda: Golden Monkey licenses in Uganda are available from the Uganda Wildlife Service or Mgahinga Park Headquarters – Ntebeko Centre. A monkey tracking permit costs $50 per person for international visitors, $40 for foreign non-residents, and 20,000 Ugandan shillings for residents of East African countries. Prices include the parking fee, ranger/guide fee, and time with the primates. Visitors who wish to participate in the 4-hour Golden Monkey Habituation Experience must pay $100.
Golden monkey tracking is overshadowed as an activity by gorilla trekking. In most cases, visitors combine gorilla trekking with golden monkey tracking. The more adventurous can choose to trek to one of the volcanoes in the Virunga Range, such as Mount Bisoke and Mount Karisimbi. It takes a lot of physical strength to perform such demanding activity.