Planning A Golden Monkey Safari In Uganda And Rwanda
Planning a golden monkey safari in Uganda and Rwanda. Planning the golden monkey adventure in Uganda or Rwanda starts with securing a golden monkey permit. Viewing these primates takes you to some of the leftover primates in the world that are highly protected by both internal and international conservation bodies. These monkeys possess a charming nature that keeps you on your toes amidst excitement throughout the golden monkey experience.
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Golden monkeys are some of the endangered primates, with about 2000 to 4000 living in the Virunga area. These primates have a unique body larger than other monkey species. They have golden brown hairs at the lower bottom. Scientifically, the golden monkeys are called Cercopithecus mitis kandti
One must possess a golden monkey permit to do golden monkey trekking or habituation experience in Uganda or Rwanda. In Uganda, the golden monkeys are residents of Mgahinga National Park, while Rwanda hosts these special primates in Volcanoes National Park.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and Rwanda Development Board are mandated to sell and regulate the golden monkey permits. Only a maximum of 8 tourists are accepted to visit each troop of golden monkeys for conservation reasons.
How to plan the golden monkey safari in Uganda or Rwanda
Book a golden monkey permit
Before confirming the Golden Monkey safari, the permit must be booked. These permits are limited to a maximum of 8 per troop for conservation reasons and to prevent mass tourists’ effects on the environment. Identify the people you hope to go on this safari to avoid moving back and forth with securing Golden Monkey permits.
You can go through an accredited tour operator Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board, to book the Golden Monkey permits.
The Golden Monkey permits are secured on a first-come, first-served basis because of their limited numbers.
You must purchase the golden monkeys permit in advance at least a month upfront especially during the peak season that runs from June through September and December to January.
Reserve accommodation to use during the Golden Monkey Safari
Golden monkey safaris can only be done in two national parks: Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. You need to overnight closer to these parks to stay energized from the drive before starting the trek.
Besides, the accommodations within or on the outskirts of these national parks are booked by tourists taking part in other activities in the Virunga area so competition for the limited choices is tight, especially in the high season.
Some of the accommodations you can book for the Golden Monkeys safari include:
Volcanoes National Park Accommodation: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, La Palme Hotel, Hotel Muhavura, and others. You can also overnight in Kigali city, about 2 hours and a half drive away.
Mgahinga National Park accommodations: Gahinga Volcanoes Lodge, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp, Mutanda Lake Resort
Book transport to use on Golden Monkey Safari
You need to identify which means of transport you are comfortable using on a golden monkey safari. You can use road transport or Air transport. When you secure transport, especially road transport, in time, you get to book a professional and knowledgeable driver guide who will add excitement to your safari experience.
In Uganda, the drive to Mgahinga National Park is about 8 hours to 9 hours driving through meandering roads. The route to Mgahinga National Park is from Kampala to Kabale, which is 414 kilometers, then drive on a winding road for 80 kilometers to Kisoro, as this is a mountainous area. Carry on for 14 kilometers to Ntebeko Visitor Center then to your lodge.
While in Rwanda, you can drive from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park for about 3 hours through winding roads to Musaze.
Each day, daily domestic flights from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Kisoro Airstrip area are available. You must secure a transfer vehicle to your lodge as the park is about 2 hours away from Ntebeko, the main administrative center of the Mgahinga National Park.
You can also charter from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe Airport to Kisoro Airstrip.
Charter flights from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park are available.
Reserve Additional Activities To Combine With Golden Monkey Safari
The area where the golden monkey’s safari happens is known for other special activities like gorilla trekking, birding, scenic viewing, and primates walking, to mention but a few.
If you are interested in the golden monkey safari but have extra holiday time on tour, you can select any of these activities. However, for gorilla trekking, you must possess a gorilla permit. It would be best if you were accompanied by a ranger guide to participate in any activity in the forests of the Virunga area.
You may also make a combo of golden monkey safari with other activities in Uganda or Rwanda, like
- Uganda Safari activities: Game drives, Launch trips, chimpanzee safaris, visit source of the River Nile, white water rafting, multi-cultural experience, sport fishing, Kampala city tour, scenic viewing, nature walks, and bungee jumping, to mention but a few.
- Rwanda safari activities: Game drive, boat trip, chimpanzee safari, genocide memorial visit, cultural experience, visit primatologist Dian Fossey’s grave, and others.
Pack the right golden monkey safari gear.
Golden monkey safaris are special, so you must pack the most comfortable attires that protect you from the harsh surfaces in the jungle. During golden monkey safaris, you walk in the jungle with a jagged topography because of the volcanic work in this area.
On the list of what to pack for the golden monkey safari, you must include safari boots, long-sleeved shirt and trouser in wilderness-friendly colors like Khaki, insect repellant, rainproof gears, and a few.
Golden monkey safaris involve walking in the jungle with biting nettles, so you must cover your body from irritating surfaces.
Do Pre Golden Monkey safari Exercises
Because of the volcanic nature of the forest where golden monkeys are residents, you need to bare some level of fitness. Although the golden monkeys are habituated to human presence, their charming and restless nature still exists. To stay energized before completing the safari, you must have some fitness level.
No need to be in the gym constantly, but do exercises that can stretch your muscles a little more than normal.
How much is a golden monkey permit for Uganda or Rwanda?
The Rwanda Golden Monkey permit costs $100 per person per trek.
Uganda Golden Monkey trekking permit currently costs $60 for foreign nonresidents, $50 for foreign residents, and 40000 shs for East Africa residents. For golden monkey habituation experience in Uganda, the golden monkey permit costs $100 for foreign nonresidents, $80 for foreign residents and 100000shs for East African residents.
- What are the inclusions of the golden monkey permit cost for Uganda and Rwanda?
Ranger guide fees, golden monkey conservation, security during golden monkey trek, local community support
- What is excluded from the golden monkey permit cost for Uganda and Rwanda?
Park entrance fees, accommodation, transport, tips, porter hire and any other items of personal nature.
Is the Golden Monkey Safari worth the money?
When you purchase the golden monkey safari, you contribute to the conservation of these endangered monkeys and have fun with them. The golden monkeys are few left in the world, so more funds are required to sell the golden monkey permits.
You may see other primates living in this biosphere reserve like the blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, L’Hoest’s and others.
How sure can I find the golden monkeys in Uganda or Rwanda?
The golden monkeys are famously known to be residents of Volcanoes National Park and Mgahinga National Park. They are also first habituated for some time to get used to human presence without altering their nature. Be sure to see the golden monkeys in Uganda or Rwanda because each tourist group is escorted by a professional ranger guide who knows where to locate the golden monkeys.
When is the best time to book a golden monkey safari in Uganda or Rwanda?
Golden monkey safaris are open year-round, but the dry season is most preferred: June, July, August, September, December, and January. The golden monkeys love showing off their acrobatic styles in the dry weather because the forest has less humidity. Even food is more available in the dry season since fruits are ripening.
For a better photographic experience, the dry season is a better season to capture the best texture of the golden monkeys. Even other primates may easily be viewed in the forest to add more wildlife photographs to your collection. The Virunga hosts other primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, mona monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and more.
When you do a golden monkey safari in the wet season, you may attend the session alone with less disruption from other tourists. Even some discounts may be forwarded to you in the low season which runs in March, April, May, and November. Some safari service providers discount their prices on accommodation, vehicle hire and others to break even since there are fewer tourist bookings in this period.
How Long Is Golden Monkey Safari?
The duration of the golden monkeys trek is hard to predict as the time of locating their exciting primates varies, but upon locating the golden monkeys, you have an hour in their company. Some factors that affect the time for the golden monkey trek include the proximity of their food, an attack from other primates, prevailing weather conditions in the forest, pace of tourists and others.
It would be best to have patience in the jungle because golden monkeys are free primates that are not choreographed to wait for humans but adopt to human interruption for at least an hour. Their nature is not altered during the golden monkey habituation process but left to live their own natural life.
To keep your focus off locating the mountain gorillas, you can look out for other exciting features in the wilderness like the sparkling water falls, beautiful natural trees, an array of birds, and other primates to mention but a few. The Virunga area is a biosphere reserve worth visiting and a haven for keen primatologists.
As this area is volcanic, you must have some fitness level to maneuver the steep slopes and deep valleys where these monkeys spend part of their day or naptime.
What Can I Pack For Golden Monkey Safari in Uganda and Rwanda?
- Safari clothes long trousers and shirt in colors that area wilderness friendly like tan or Khaki.
- Insect repellant to keep away biting insects that may sting you.
- A torch to use for lighting when power runs low, especially at night, as solar energy is the main power source.
- Safari hat to protect your head from dripping water off the trees.
- Garden gloves protect your palms from stinging nettles that you may touch in case you trip and fall.
- Rainproof gears because the Virunga area receives rain at any time without warning.
- Backpack to carry with your golden monkey trekking gear.
- In case you need a clearer look of far-ranging features, a pair of binoculars.
- Safari boots to use while walking in the jungle to find the golden monkeys. The nature of the trails in the Virunga forests is soggy and slippery, especially during the severe rainy season.
- First aid kit with emergency medication in case you need it.
- Extra hard cash in case you need on-ground purchases.
- Extra batteries are fully charged in case you need to exchange them with one that has run low.
- A camera to keep memories of your encounter with the golden monkeys.
- Flip flops to wear after the golden monkey trek.
- A shoe bag to keep in your safari boots, especially if you must continue to another destination.
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