Fairend Safaris

Golden Monkey Trekking

Golden monkey trekking is an adventurous and one of the unique activities done on a Uganda safari. These primates are an endangered species with 3000-4000 individuals still left in the world. They have some colors like black, grey, and a beautiful shade of orange-gold thus called golden monkeys. The monkeys  live in large groups of up to 100 individuals led by an Alpha male and usually stay in one location for a long time. They feed on bamboo leaves, seasonal fruits, flowers, sprouts, leaves, lichens, and small invertebrates.

Common questions asked about golden monkey trekking in Uganda

Where can I see golden Monkeys in Uganda?

Golden monkey trekking is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is in the Virunga area. It is the smallest protected area located in the southwestern region of Uganda in Kisoro district. The activity involves moving on foot into the tropical rainforest in search of the habituated golden monkeys and once found travelers spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Golden monkeys are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley, and they share their home with the equally endangered mountain gorillas.

Cost of a golden monkey trekking permit in Uganda

A golden monkey trekking permit costs 60 USD per person for foreign nonresidents, 50 USD per person for foreign residents, and 40,000 UGX per person for East African citizens. A golden monkey habituation permit in Uganda costs 100 USD per person for foreign nonresidents, 80 USD per person for foreign residents, and 100,000 UGX per person for East African citizens.

How to book a golden monkey trekking permit in Uganda

A permit in Uganda can be booked by visiting Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) head offices in Kampala. Alternatively, travelers can contact UWA via a telephone call or email. Golden monkey trekking permits in Uganda can also be booked through a tour operator like Fairend Safaris.

This can be done by contacting us with the dates when travelers wish to visit the golden monkeys. We will check for permit availability and if available you will be asked to deposit money for the permit. When we receive the payments, we will purchase the trekking permit and send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation.

When to go golden monkey trekking in Uganda

Golden monkey trekking can be done anytime throughout the year however, the best time is during the dry season. This period is also known as the high season which begins from June to September, and December to February. During the dry season, the park receives less rainfall therefore trekking trails are dry and passable. The vegetation is thin hence allowing travelers to view the golden monkeys and other wildlife species.

 What to expect during Golden monkey trekking in Uganda

This is an active activity that starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules, regulations, and expectations. After a briefing at the headquarters, travelers start trekking in the jungle with an experienced guide or ranger. The activity takes about 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on where the golden monkeys are located. The monkeys like to move from one place to another in search of food.

Golden monkeys are small in size and do not leave behind clear evidence of their previous day’s location like gorillas. During trekking, travelers can view other primates such as l’hoest monkeys, view bird species, and plants among others. Once the golden monkeys are located tourists are allowed to spend one hour with the primates. This allows trekkers to learn about their behaviors, habits, and the way they live their lives.

What to pack for a golden monkey trekking safari in Uganda

  • Hiking boots to enable travelers maneuver the different terrain of the trails and keep their feet dry during trekking.
  • Long-sleeved shirt and trousers to keep warmth and avoid insects from entering your trousers
  • Waterproof rain jacket to protect you from rainfall
  • Insect repellent to protect your body from insect bites
  • Backpack to carry golden monkeys trekking essentials like a camera, insect repellent, and rain jacket among others
  • Walking stick for support during trekking
  • Snacks, bottled drinking water packed lunch, binoculars, Camera, and extra batteries.

How to get to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by both road and air transport means.

Road transport, when using road transport means you drive from Entebbe or Kampala via Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, to Kisoro, and then to the park headquarters which takes about 9 to 10 hours’ drive.

You can also access Mgahinga Gorilla National Park from Kigali Rwanda where tourists will fly to Kigali International Airport and then connect to the park headquarters via Cyanika border which takes about 4 to 5 hours drive.

Air transport, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park can also be accessed by air transport means whereby you will book scheduled or charter flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Kisoro airstrip and then connect to the park headquarters by road.


Where to stay

There are several lodging facilities ranging from luxury to budget facilities. It all depends on your budget, there is only one luxury lodging facility which is Mount Gahinga Lodge. Midrange accommodation facilities include; Traveller’s Rest Hotel, lake Chahafi Resort, Mutanda Lake Resort, Kisoro Tourist Hotel, Birds Nest, and Mucha Hotel Kisoro. Budget accommodation facilities include; Amajambere Iwacu Community Camp, Mutanda Eco-community Centre, and Ntebeko River Camp.