How to plan a Mgahinga gorilla and golden monkey safari from Masaka city
How to plan a Mgahinga gorilla and golden monkey safari from Masaka city. When your plan is destined for Mgahinga National Park for gorilla and golden monkey safari, you must secure both gorilla and golden monkey permits. Mgahinga National Park may be the smallest, occupying 33.7 square kilometers among Uganda National Parks, but its rich biodiversity gives it an upper hand.
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Mgahinga National Park has only one gorilla family called Nyakagezi, which has a history of meandering into Rwanda. This gorilla family is steadily living in Uganda, so it is available for pre-booking.
The golden monkeys in Mgahinga National Park are some of the world’s endangered primates. Golden monkeys have a larger body structure than other monkeys, and although they are habituated, they still possess charming and restless traits.
Whether heading for gorilla trekking or golden monkey safari, you need to be 15 years and beyond because of the nature of the volcanic topography in this area, which creates rugged terrain.
Identify the number of people traveling for this primate adventure to avoid moving back and forth with bookings.
Secure transport means from Masaka to Mgahinga National Park, especially if you are using road transport. You need a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in good condition because of the nature of the roads in the countryside.
Choose the optional activities to combine with the gorilla and golden monkey safari to make bookings. While in Mgahinga National Park, you may also engage in birding, mountaineering, and Batwa visits.
What To Consider As You Plan A Gorilla And Golden Monkey Safari In Mgahinga National Park
Book the gorilla and Golden monkey safari permits
You must possess the necessary permits to confirm that the gorilla and golden monkey safari is happening. Gorilla and golden monkey permits are booked in advance due to their limited numbers, a maximum of 8 per troop per day.
You need to select the dates when you hope to do either gorilla or golden monkey safari as the permits are advanced according to per day basis.
Booking is required, especially during the peak season, because demand gets overwhelmingly high, creating scarcity. The peak tourism season is usually June, July, August, September, December, and January.
You must check availability to book the gorilla or golden monkey safari permits. At Encounter Africa Safaris, through our tour consultants, we can assist you in checking for availability when you enquire from us.
Upon finding gorilla permit availability, we advise clients to purchase their permits as soon as possible as they sell out in advance. Note that no gorilla or golden monkey safari permit is reserved without payment.
How much is the cost of gorilla and golden monkey permits?
Currently, a gorilla trekking permit costs $800 for foreign nonresidents, $700 for East African residents, and 300000shsh for East African residents.
Golden Monkey trekking permit costs $60 for foreign nonresidents, $50 for foreign residents, and 40000 shs for East African residents.
If you opt for the golden monkey habituation experience, the permit costs $100 for foreign nonresidents, $80 for foreign residents, and 100,000 for East African residents.
Book Accommodation To Use During Gorilla And Golden Monkey Safari
Although Mgahinga National Park has limited choices of accommodations to secure during gorilla and golden monkey safari, advance booking is required. Spending the night within or closer to Mgahinga National Park saves you from rising very early to catch up with a briefing before this primate safari.
- Mgahinga accommodations: Gahinga Lodge, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Mgahinga gorilla Triangle, Majambere Iwachu, Community Camp
Reserve Transport From Masaka City To Mgahinga National Park
Road transport is the most common transport from Masaka City to Mgahinga National Park. You need to plan for a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in proper condition as the terrain of this area is mountainous with rugged highlands that you may need to negotiate sometimes.
The distance from Masaka City to Mgahinga National Park is about 367.7 kilometers, lasting about 5 to 6 hours.
Charter flight service can be arranged from Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe airport to Masaka city, then Kisoro airstrip, and transfer by car to Mgahinga National Park. Booking is required so that all necessary arrangements can be made in advance.
Choose additional activities to combine with the gorilla and golden monkey safari in Mgahinga National Park.
For extra experience about Mgahinga National Park and other Uganda safari destinations, choose what else you can engage in while on this adventure.
Birding in Mgahinga National Park, where you can spot Albertine rift endemics, is superb.
Mountaineering in Mgahinga National Park to the peaks of the three highlands that make up the topography of this park: Mountain Gahinga, Mountain Sabyinyo, and Mountain Muhavura.
Visit Lake Bunyonyi, the tranquility haven with many small birds, 29 stunning islands that you can explore by boat, a thrilling zip lining experience, and swimming in the deepest Ugandan lake, to mention a few.
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park, chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park, launch trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and so much more.
Pack the right gorilla and golden monkey safari gears
Consider gears to pack while planning for a gorilla and golden monkey safari in Mgahinga National Park. Both gorilla and golden monkey trekking safaris happen in the wilderness, which involves walking in the dense jungle.
You must wear the proper gear like safari boots, long-sleeved shirts, foldable safari hats, insect repellants, garden gloves, cameras, rainproof gear, and more. You must cross-check with the packing list while packing for this Uganda primates safari.
You do not have to overpack, but carry only the relevant wear so that you are not inconvenienced by so many bags filling out your legroom on the way. Even when you have to offload bags, you may be uncomfortable carrying heavy loads if you have to empty them yourself.
Do some pre-tour exercises before the gorilla and Mgahinga National Park visit.
Both gorilla and golden monkey safaris require you to hike because of the nature of the terrain of this area. The Virunga area was affected by volcanic action that led to the formation of ridges and plateaus on whose slopes these primates may spend the day. Sometimes, you may be required to follow the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys by hiking, which requires some fitness.
You do not need to be in the gym constantly, but start with straightforward strides to stretch your muscles more than usual in preparation for the gorilla and golden monkey safari.
When Is The Best Time To Book A Gorilla And Golden Monkey Safari For Mgahinga National Park?
Mgahinga National Park is open for gorilla trekking and golden monkey safari; however, the dry season is most preferred. The dry season is usually June, July, August, September, December, and January. Although the Virunga area is known for untimely rains, the dry season offers drier conditions.
The trails are less soggy, and less undergrowth is protruding to obstruct the way. The mountain gorillas and golden monkeys are more lively, and the forest is busy. Keen birders have more chances to enjoy the double experience of spotting an array of birds from Mgahinga National Park along the way.
Note that permits for the peak season, usually the dry season, are scarcer because of the demand worldwide. This makes it hard to find gorilla and golden monkey permits, which have a limited supply at the last minute.
The western season, usually March, April, May, and November, may have chances of getting last-minute gorilla and golden monkey permits. This is due to limited demand worldwide, which is only sometimes guaranteed. Those wishing to travel on a discounted gorilla and golden monkey safari may use this opportunity since some service providers offer safari discounts in the low season to break even.
What Is The Age Limit For Gorilla And Golden Monkey Safari In Mgahinga National Park
15 years and beyond is the age limit for gorilla and golden monkey safari because of the topography of this area. As a mountain area, hiking is unavoidable, which may be challenging for children below 15 years.
Even gorilla and golden monkey safaris have rules that need to be religiously followed, which is hard for a child of 15 years to abide by, like no shouting when with the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas look scary and intimidating at a glance, which may cause one to shout and react suspiciously.
Such behavior may cause the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys to get agitated, forcing them to go into hiding, yet just one hour of trekking is allowed with them.
How difficult is the Gorilla and Golden Monkey safari in Mgahinga National Park?
Mgahinga National Park’s topography is generally mountainous from the effects of the three highlands: mountain Gahinga, mountain Muhavura, and mountain Sabyinyo. Generally, the way to the mountain gorillas is strenuous, but having some fitness level makes the adventure less tiring.
The ranger guide carries a machete to help trim vines obstructing the way. You need to wear safari boots to protect your feet from getting hurt from the rough surfaces of the jungle. Hiring a porter to carry your gorilla safari gear saves your energy while you trek to find the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. It is also one of the direct ways of giving back to the local community.
The ranger guide follows the pace of the slowest trekkers so that nobody is forgotten in the jungle.
What Are The Dos and Nots of Gorilla And Golden Monkey Safaris
- Do not surround the gorillas or golden monkeys, so stay closer to the group of trekkers you are allocated with so as not to make them feel ambushed
- Speak at low tome when you are communicating while searching for the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys in the wilderness. The mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and other forest dwellers are suspicious of intruders in their vicinity.
- Spitting on the ground and vegetation is forbidden because this is food for mountain gorillas or golden monkeys.
- You may pass germs to these highly susceptible primates to human infections.
- Volunteer to stay behind in case you catch a communicable infection like Coronavirus. This may lead to the massive death of the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorillas have about 96% human DNA. Golden monkeys are also susceptible to human infection.
- Provoking the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys is forbidden as this may cause them to move into the deeper ends of the forest once they are agitated.
- Never feed the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys because wild animals must search for their food.
- Wearing a mask is a must during gorilla trekking or golden monkey safari as a measure adopted after the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the chances of passing this virus or other infections to the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys; remember to sanitize your shoes before starting the gorilla trek.
- Only persons aged 15 years and above can do gorilla trekking or golden monkey safari. This is because the time of locating the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys is still being determined, yet the forest topography is steep. These may not favor a child below this age.
- When you locate them, only one hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys. This is for conservation reasons as they are habituated to be in human presence for just that time.
- Dumping garbage in the wilderness, especially indecomposable waste like plastic wraps, may alter the nature of the forest where mountain gorillas or golden monkeys feed. The forest is the sole provider for the mountain gorillas or golden monkeys.
Contact us for more information.