Common Mistakes To Avoid When Booking Golden Monkey Permits in Uganda and Rwanda
Booking golden monkey permits is common with tourists visiting Uganda and Rwanda to watch primates in their natural habitat, especially trips to the Virunga Mountains. The Golden monkeys living on the slopes of the Virungas look like the snob-nosed monkeys of China. They often clamber for leftover attention from the world-famous mountain gorillas, who share the same habitat.
These social creatures primarily feed on bamboo (Sinarundinaria Alpina) located between 2,100-3,550-meter altitudes on the Virunga Volcanos slopes. It is the only place you’ll find these endangered little primates, attracting tourists to these parts of Africa to watch their cute little faces.
You can watch habituated golden monkey families in Mgahinga National Park at the southeastern tip of Uganda or its neighboring Volcanoes National Park on the side of Rwanda. However, you’ll need a ticked commonly known as the golden monkey permit.
Booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda is not a walk in the park, especially with foreigners on another continent. Travelers make many mistakes trying to plan golden monkey safaris that sometimes cost them money.
For that reason, in this post, we discuss some common mistakes to avoid when booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda.
Not booking golden monkey permits with an operator.
Travel infrastructure in Uganda and Rwanda is not yet international standards, so travel logistics are still a nightmare. Planning the trip on your own can lead to regrettable mistakes.
Although some people can plan a trip on their own, it’s wiser to employ a tour operator to help you buy the permit from UWA or RDB and also plan your entire trip. Tour operators understand the operations of local service providers; they will give you suitable recommendations and process your permits.
Usually, the operator will ask you your preferred travel date, then try to find permit availability. When they do, they will ask you to send them your passport copy and the permit price cash deposit. After making the reservation, they will send you a copy of the permit and start planning the other items on your itinerary.
Booking golden monkey permits is similar to booking gorilla permits, only that the golden monkeys don’t get as much attention as gorillas. Thus, the finding availability is not very challenging.
Booking the wrong trekking permits for the wrong place
You can trek golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Both these places, in addition, offer gorilla trekking. Many travelers make the mistake of assuming that booking a gorilla permit also gives you access to the golden monkeys, which is false.
Although you could bump into the other when trekking either of them, which would be pretty awesome, it doesn’t mean you can access both on the same ticket.
Additionally, some travelers mistake Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda for golden monkeys because it has mountain gorillas. So they buy gorilla permits, hoping to see golden monkeys.
That is why we encourage travelers to book with a tour company who would advise them on which permits to buy and avoid the common bugling mistake.
Not preparing for the experience.
Although the golden monkey experience is not as tasking as gorilla trekkings, it requires a bit of your physical ability. Guests may make the mistake of booking the experience, hoping for a walk over, but they have to hike quite a challenging bit to get to the little primates.
Two golden monkey groups of about 80-100 individuals are available for tourism in Volcanoes National Park, while Mgahinga has one group of about the same size. They occupy the bamboo forest zone of the mountains, which requires about an hour’s hike up the elevated slopes to get to and then try to locate the little buggers. The time you take to reach the monkeys can not be accurately estimated, but prepare for anything between an hour and three.
The daily golden monkey trekking excursions start at 08:00 am and take almost half of the day. At the briefing point, at the park’s visitor center, you’ll join a small group of trekkers, with a trekking guide and two armed park rangers.
Your guide will be in radio communication with trackers on-site to ensure you see the golden monkeys and will lead you through the first forest vegetation until you reach the bamboo zone and locate the golden monkeys.
You’ll be allowed precisely one hour to observe the playful monkeys when you find the golden monkey troop. Initially, they may be up bamboo trees and jumping all over the place, but after a few minutes, they’ll come down to the forest floor where you can enjoy them at close quarters.
Falling for a scam and paying more than the advertised price
The golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda cost $100 per person for a single trek. The permit allows visitors only an hour to observe the endangered primates. However, you can spend more time with the golden monkeys in Uganda when you book a golden monkey habituation permit that costs $140 per person.
Because the golden monkey permits and less expensive and not as scarce as gorilla permits, one can easily make the mistake of paying an operator more than the advertised price. Remember that only RDB and UWA are authorized to sell the permits at the advertised price, which means that you pay precisely the advertised price and nothing more.
Although plenty of golden monkey permits are available, even in the high season, we recommend booking yours earlier so that you can easily deal with the logistics and secure the gorilla permit for the same trip. Encounter Africa Safaris Ltd can take care of all the necessary booking arrangements, including accommodation and transport for the journey.
Expecting more than what’s included with the permits
Nothing more included with the permits than the guided trek and ranger security. So don’t make the mistake of booking golden monkey permits expecting to get accommodation, or meals and drinking water.
The minimum age for booking a golden monkey ticket is 15 years. A single trekking group can have up to sixteen (16) tourists alongside two armed rangers, a senior tracker guide, and some porters to help carry your gear.
The permit doe snot include meals, snacks, porter fees, accommodation, drinking water, or for that matter, anything outside the excursion period.
How to buy golden monkey permits
Booking golden monkey permits is based on availability, though availability is more guaranteed than gorilla permits, even in high seasons. Rwanda’s online application process requires filling out mandatory forms, uploading requisite documents, and paying the applicable fees online. On the other hand, you have to visit the UWA office in Kampala to buy Uganda’s golden monkey permits.
All applications for permits, whether online or with a tour operator, require your full details, including a copy of your passport leaf, contact email and phone number, and of course, full payment of the cost. The process is based on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Booking last minute can lead to disappointment.
Although a few people are interested in the primates and last-minute booking is often available, it can also disappoint when you least expect it. Maybe the only time you traveled all the way to the park without booking was the only time the permits were not available.
We generally advise our guests to their permits weeks in advance, especially if they intend the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys on the same trip. Booking early means getting both permits for your travel dates is highly guaranteed.
Contact our safari team at email@example.com to get the latest booking information for Uganda and Rwanda permits.
Not reading booking terms and conditions before booking.
Not reading booking terms is a common mistake that leads to guests complaining about outcomes when they could have technically avoided them. It is common practice to brush off terms when acquiring anything but make it an exception for booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda.
Firstly, you can use golden monkey permits within two years of the purchase date unless you reschedule not more than seven days before the visit date.
Secondly, you must book in advance with full payment; a partial cash deposit is not accepted.
Thirdly, before the experience, every visitor must check-in at the visitor center for permit validation from 07:00 am to 7:30 am with the golden monkey permit or booking reference number and passport.
Fourthly, you can reschedule your permits because of planned itinerary changes or unforeseen circumstances. But you can do that not less than seven (7) days in advance with notice and once within 15 months of purchase or booking date, subject to availability.
Booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda is easy with Encounter.
Book your golden monkey permits and safari trip in Uganda and Rwanda with Encounter Africa Safaris Ltd. We take care of every nitty-gritty for a wonderful primates experience, including other necessary local logistics such as accommodation reservations, transport arrangements, and other activities.
Whether you want to trek golden monkeys and mountain gorillas on the same journey, we can plan a memorable experience in the Virunga mountains with you.
Contact our safari team to get a free quote and help you plan at firstname.lastname@example.org.