Besides mountain gorillas, golden monkey trekking is yet one of the thought after tourist activities that make an African safari a lifetime experience. Much as golden monkey trekking is often done as a complement to gorilla trekking, an encounter with these playful and lively creatures (golden monkeys) is surely amazing. Golden monkeys are Scientifically known as Cercopithecus kandti is one of the critically endangered species, which only survive in the tropical rain forests of the Virunga Conservation Area. Golden monkeys have gold hair, which differentiate them from, other monkey species and it’s after this golden hair that the name “golden monkey” was derived. Unlike the sister gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking is a more lively adventure where monkeys are on a continuous move, as they jump over across tree branches just above trekkers, which make it a memorable experience.
Where to go for golden monkey trekking
The rare species only reside in the tropical rain forests of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Altogether, there are roughly 5000 golden monkeys surviving in the wild but a few have been habituated for trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. Golden monkeys in these gorilla national parks co-exist and live harmoniously with the mountain gorillas hence an opportunity for tow activities at once.
The golden monkey trekking permit
Just like in trekking gorillas, a golden monkey trekking permit is a must have for everyone taking part. These permits can be booked direct from Uganda wildlife authority in Uganda or Rwanda development Board in Rwanda at a cost of 100usd per person. Alternatively, you can book for golden monkey trekking through any trusted tour operator offering related travel packages. In most cases, golden monkey permits are accessed from the national park head quarters of the trekking day but travelers are reminded to book in advance. The permit price is an inclusion of park entrance fees, ranger guide and the hour interaction with the critically endangered species.
Hiking to search for the golden monkeys start in the early morning immediately after a short briefing. Regardless of an hour’s interaction, the hiking time can last for as short at 30 minutes to several hours depending on the speed of their movements but it not strenuous as gorilla trekking. On meeting the golden monkeys, travelers are reminded to keep calm, low tone, take photographs as well as closely observing the unique characters of these endangered species. Interestingly, travelers have great chances of encountering other animals such as mountain gorillas, baboons and various bird species.
Trekking to see these endangered species require proper dressing. All travelers are required to dress in hiking boots, which ease movement in slippery muddy grounds especially in rainy season and early mornings. Similarly, gardening gloves are helpful in protecting against scratches from thorny bushes in case of grabbing thorny bushes for support. Do not forget warm sweaters, jackets and rain jeers for the unpredictable weather conditions. Long sleeved shirts and pants tacked into stockings are very helpful to prevent bites from ground insects. Regarding the number of people allowed to trek golden monkeys, there is no limitation unlike in mountain gorilla trekking where a maximum of eight people are allowed to interact with these endangered specie for an hour. All trekkers must be aged 12 years and above and anyone below age is not allowed to take art in golden monkey trekking.
Remembering that golden monkey trekking is not a walk a way venture, travelers must have a clear packing list. These include enough drinking waters along with energy giving snacks to keep you strong in the process of hiking. Walking sticks are also very helpful to provide support in the steep slopes and are hires for 10 dollars on the park head quarters. Other essentials include insect repellent and packed lunch in case of longer treks.
Alternative activities in Volcanoes and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park include mountain gorilla trekking, hiking of the Virunga volcanoes and community walks among others. Within Uganda, gorilla tours is also done in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park hosting half of the world’s mountain gorillas others shared in Virunga conservation area.
Conclusively therefore, golden monkey trekking is a once in lifetime experience worth doing. All travelers must therefore travel to volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park for encounter with these endangered species.