Golden monkey safaris in Uganda -The Golden monkey Cercopithecus mitis kandti is one of Uganda’s 20 primate species. It is found in Mgahinga Gorilla National park which is part of the Virunga Mountains where it is endemic. Compared with other monkey species, the golden monkeys are gorgeous in appearance. They have bright coloured fur with long golden hair mixed with orange.
The overall estimate currently stands between 2000 and 4000 individuals and since they are only found in the Virungas, they have been classified as endangered. They live in troops of about 100 lead by an Alpha male, and mostly feed on bamboo shoots, a variety of seasonal fruits, bamboo leaves, lichens, sprouts, flowers, leaves and small invertebrates.
Golden monkeys have to be habituated for tourism. Currently the habituated troops are available for tracking, and also the semi-habituated troops are available for experiential tourism.
Golden monkey tracking is not as exhausting as gorilla tracking because the monkeys do not build new nests everyday so there is no need for pre-trackers to trace them every morning.
These permits can be booked on ground from the Park headquarters in Ntebeko Visitor Center. Tourists who wish to spend more quality time and understand the detailed information regarding the golden monkeys can visit this Park for the engaging golden monkey habituation experience that costs only $100 per person.
Golden monkey safaris in Uganda – Just like gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking starts with tourists arriving at the Park headquarters by 7:30am for pre-tracking briefing (on the dos and don’ts of tracking the golden monkeys). The actual trek begins at 8:00am. Hiking through the forests to sight the golden monkeys is not so strenuous like gorilla trekking because golden monkeys live in lower areas, so tourists do not track for more than 3 hours. When tourists encounter the golden monkey family, they are given one hour to spend with them (to take photographs and observe their behaviour). With this activity, there is no minimum number of tourists who track each group and age limit is 12 years.
There are several requirements that tourists need to have a memorable experience during golden monkey tracking. These include waterproof hiking boots, wear long sleeved shirt, long trousers, and carry a backpack for your lunch and documents. Also carry drinking water and snacks, carry a walking stick to support you during hiking, you can hire a porter to support you during hiking in slippery places and they carry your backpack, and do not forget to carry an insect repellent.