Mgahinga National Park offers the chance to track the golden monkeys (Ceropithecus Kandti) sometimes referred to as a distinctive race of the more widespread blue monkey C.mitis), a little known bamboo-associated taxa primate listed as ‘endangered’ by the World Conservation Union. Endemic to the Albertine Rift, the golden monkey is characterized as a bright orange-gold body, cheeks and tail, contrasting with its black limbs, crown and tail end.
These primates are endangered and endemic to this region, sharing their home with the world famous Mountain Gorilla, as well as buffalo, forest elephant and other species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. In the beginning and for many months to follow it was very difficult to even find the monkeys owing to the fact that unlike gorillas they are small, do not make nests and leave little evidence of their presence on the forest floor, and at times can be quiet especially in the presence of their main predator the eagle.
A golden monkey permit in Uganda costs $50 per person for foreign non residents, $40 per person for foreign residents and Shs 20,000 for East African Residents. This cost doesn’t includes the park entry fee $40 per person and you spend 1hour with the golden monkeys. These permits can be booked on ground from the Park headquarters in Ntebeko Visitor Center. Also available is golden monkey habituation experience that costs only $100 per person.
Just like gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking starts with tourists arriving at the Park headquarters by 7:30am for pre-tracking briefing (on the dos and don’ts of tracking the golden monkeys). The actual trek begins at 8:00am. Hiking through the forests to sight the golden monkeys is not so strenuous like gorilla trekking because golden monkeys live in lower areas, so tourists do not track for more than 3 hours. When tourists encounter the golden monkey family, they are given one hour to spend with them (to take photographs and observe their behavior). With this activity, there is no minimum number of tourists who track each group and age limit is 12 years.
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