Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga national park is among the activities to do in Kisoro District southwest of Uganda where the park is located.
Mgahinga national park park is known for being the only Park in Uganda where Golden Monkeys can be found. It is also known as the second destination where Mountain Gorilla trekking can be done.
Mgahinga National park is part of the Virunga conservation area which extends to Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. The name Mgahinga is derived from a local kinyarwanda language meaning small lava stones.
Mgahinga has very beautiful scenic views from the volcanic elevations within the park.
Mgahinga National Park covers an area of 33.9km making it the smallest National Park in Uganda. The park was a game reserve before it was later declared a National Park in 1991.
The park is a home to 76 mammals including elephants, buffalos, primates,reptiles and over 180 bird species 14 of which are Albertine endemics.
Golden Monkeys are a unique species that can only be found in this Mgahinga National park in the whole of Uganda. These playful creatures and beautiful primates attract many tourists to this park who enjoy the Golden monkey trekking experience within the park. Golden Monnkey Families have been habituated and are available to be trekked any day throughout the year. Some tourists combine their safari from Bwindi Natiopnal park from gorilla trekking to golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga national Park.
Golden monkey trekking in Uganda.
Golden monkey trekking involves hiking on trails within Mgahinga National Park looking for habituated golden monkey families. This activity begins early in the morning with a briefing from the Park ranger guides at the headquarters about the rules and regulations for Golden monkey trekking. Thereafter, you are led by a well-trained guide into the park.
This activity can take up to 3 hrs and this depends on the location of the Golden monkeys on that day. This is because these primates move every now and the within the park looking for food and so their location cannot be specific. Once you meet the golden monkeys, you will be given a chance to spen 1 hour with them, take some nice photographs, learn about their way of life and enjoy their playfulness while in their natural Habitat.
Mgahinga National Park also offers the Golden Monkey habituation experience. Here the tourists are given a chance to experience the process of introducing the golden monkeys to the presence of humans for purposes of research, and conservation. When tourists embark on the golden Monkey habituation experience, they are given 4 hours to spend with these primates unlike in the normal trekking where they only spend 1 hour with the monkeys.
What is the best time to do golden monkey trekking?
Golden Monkey trekking and habituation can be done at any time of the year however, the dryer months that are more preferable, like January, February, July, August, September, October, December which are also the peak seasons in the industry of tourism in Uganda.
Travelling in the wet months which are also the low season months is pocket friendly because in most service providers have discounted rates.
Cost of golden monkey trekking Permit
A Golden Monkey trekking Permit in Mgahinga national park can be got at USD 60 for Foreign nonresidents, 60 USD for foreign residents and 40,000 UGX for East Africans. These are documents issued by the Uganda Wildlife Authority that give you permission to access Mgahinga National park to participate in the Golden Monkey trekking experience. This price is inclusive of park entrance fees a guide, and an hour with the golden monkey once you meet them.
Golden Monkey trekking is only permitted for individuals with 15 years and above of age.
Booking a Golden Monkey Permit.
To book a golden monkey Permit, you can either make a direct booking from the website of Uganda Wildlife Authority or call them to book or buy a permit. Alternatively, you can do it through your agent or a trusted tour operator like Jewel safaris to help you with the booking of the Golden Monkey permit.
Accommodations to use for Golden Monkey trekking
There are various accommodation facilities you can use when in Mgahinga. These range from Luxury, Mid-range, and budget accommodations. The Lodges offer great services and amenities to their guests making their stay part of the memorable experience of their safaris. Some of these are; Mount Gahinga Lodge, Mount Gahinga rest camp, and Ntebeko river camp
What to carry on a Golden Monkey safari.
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers to avoid insect attacks.
- Hiking boots
- Hiking/walking stick for support on the hike
- Camera to capture the great moments
- Insect repellant
- Sweater or Jacket
- Back pack that is portable yet enough to carry the items
- Water bottle and water to keep you hydrated
Other activities to do in Mgahinga besides golden monkeys
Besides Golden Monkey trekking, there are other adventurous activities to do when you visit Mgahinga National Park. Gorilla trekking being one of them, Mgahinga has one habituated Gorilla Family which the visitors can trek. Bird watching, Batwa community visits, butterfly watching, nature walks, and primate viewing are some of the activities that can be enjoyed on your safari to Mgahinga National park.
How to get to Mgahinga National Park?
By Road; Mgahinga National park can be accessed through the main high-way road from Entebbe/Kampala to Mbarara, Kabale,Kisoro, then to the park which is approximately a 8-9 hour’s drive in total.
The park can also be accessed from Rwanda, where clients from Kigali international Airport can drive into Uganda through Cyanika Border for a 2 to 3 hrs drive to the Park.
By Air; You can fly from Entebbe International Airport to Kisoro airstrip to access the Park from Kisoro airstrip, you will have a transfer road drive to Mgahinga National Park which is about 2 hrs away. There are scheduled chartered flights available daily to these airstrips and the main handlers are Bar Aviation and Aerolink.
Travelling buy air to this park is more preferred by most travelers because it is less tiresome and time saving compared to the long drive of the road.