Mgahinga National Park Uganda : Gorilla tracking is the most exciting tourist activity in Mgahinga National Park Uganda. The adapted gorilla group in this park is called the Nyakagezi, which consists of 9 members, 3 adult females, 2 silverbacks, 2 juveniles and 2 infants. However, due to their constant movement it is advisable to check the current location of the gorillas first.
The Uganda Safari guide leads you through the gorilla’s world, explaining aspects of their ecology and behavior along the way. Gorilla tracking in Uganda – Mgahinga can be tiring and may take the whole day. We must stress that, while you have a very good opportunity of seeing gorillas, success is not very certain. They are wild creatures with no fixed routine, and finding them requires the skill and familiarity of your trackers and guides, as well as luck. The trackers and guides have helped to habituate the gorilla groups and know them closely. Please feel free to ask guides while walking, to slow down if they are going too fast and if you need to rest. Take time to stop and enjoy the trees, flowers and birds. Uganda Gorilla Tracking can be physically demanding, so go prepared. Take time to read through the Gorilla trekking rules prior to your trip.
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga National Park Uganda
Golden monkeys are extraordinary and unique primate mammals that are found in Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Uganda and Rwanda birthed an idea to raise funds for golden monkey conservation and introduced the golden monkey trekking experience where tourists pay a fee to spend an hour with the primates. Tourists that come to Volcanoes national park combine gorilla trekking with tracking the golden monkeys. The experience is not as intimate as gorilla trekking since the golden monkeys have a tendency of spending a lot of their time on the top of trees, wavering from one branch to another. Even while on the ground, they are constantly on the move thus making photography trickier.
Uganda tour visitors gather at the park headquarters for a briefing session where important information about the primates is shared and how to behave around them. Rangers lead the visitors into the forest to search for the golden monkeys. It takes about an hour to locate the primates. The interaction with the golden monkeys takes only one hour to see them interact, groom, feed and mate. Golden monkeys have a glitzy and distinctive gold color hence they stand out from other species of monkeys. Golden monkeys are listed by the International Union for Conservation for Nature (IUCN) as in danger of extinction. Around 5000 of them are thought to be still living on earth and because of that are actively supporting government programs to protect them. Tracking rules and regulations as well as the terrain are similar for both Uganda and Rwanda.
Mgahinga National Park Uganda is a renowned mountain gorilla and golden monkey habitat in Uganda. Golden monkeys here can be seen at the slopes of Mt Gahinga and Muhabura, the two volcanoes have the highest concentration of golden monkeys in the world. The park has two habituated groups that are open to visitors.
Golden monkey Habituation Experience in Mgahinga National Park Uganda
Tourists have an opportunity to take part in the golden monkey habituation experience. Golden monkeys generally avoid humans like any other wild animal. Prior to tourists visiting the golden monkeys, they have to undergo the habituation process in order for them to feel at ease in the attendance of humans. Habituation is carried out by a team of primatologists and local trackers who start by studying the social structure and behavior of a particular troop which they subsequently use to their advantage to gain their trust. The habituation process can take up to three years. This habituation experience is open to tourists who are interested in learning how the researchers win the trust of the monkeys. It’s a costly longer activity where tourists spend more time in the jungle studying and observing everything that is there to know about the monkeys. Local porters are always present at starting points for hiring to help you carry your stuff at about $15.
Packing list for Golden Monkey Trekking includes; long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Clothing that covers the whole body and has neutral colors, a raincoat for the rain, a cap and sunglasses for protection against the sun, Suitable hiking boot shoes since the activity involves hiking for a long time in a rough terrain, A hiking stick, Insect repellants to protect against tropical insects, Water and Snacks, Binoculars and a good camera for memories.
Uganda wildlife authority for Uganda is the issuing authority for golden monkey permits. Permits can also be acquired through registered tour operators in both countries. Golden monkey permits are readily available since it’s not as popular as gorilla tracking. It’s very possible to get the permits right before trekking though it’s suggested to book in advance if you are arranging to travel between June to August and December to March.
Golden monkey permit in Uganda costs $60 per person for all foreigners. East African residents pay 40,000 Ugx. Golden monkey habituation permit goes for $100 for foreigners and 100,000 Ugx for East African citizens. The permit fee includes park ranger fees but excludes park entrance which is at $40 per person.