One of the 20 primate species found in Uganda is the golden monkey. It is only found in the endemic Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, which is located in the Virunga Mountains. The golden monkeys are stunning when compared to other monkey species. They have long, golden hair that is blended with orange and brightly colored fur.
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The World Conservation Union has listed the little-known taxonomic primate species associated with bamboo as “endangered,” and Mgahinga National Park provides the opportunity to track golden monkeys (Ceropithecus Kandti), which are sometimes referred to as a distinctive race of the more common blue monkey (C. mitis). The golden monkey, a native of the Albertine Rift, is distinguished by its bright orange-gold torso, cheeks, and tail, which contrast with its black limbs, crown, and tail end.
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Golden monkeys can only be found in the Virunga Mountains; the current golden monkey population estimate is between 2000 and 4000 individuals, and they have been given endangered status. Golden monkeys forage mostly on bamboo shoots, a variety of seasonal fruits, lichens, bamboo leaves, sprouts, leaves, flowers, and small invertebrates. They are found in groups of around 100 and are led by an alpha male.
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Uganda offers both habituated and semi-habituated troops that are currently available for tracking and adventure travel. Because golden monkeys don’t construct new nests every day and don’t require pre-trackers to trace them every morning, tracking them isn’t as taxing as tracking gorillas.
Golden Monkey Experiential Tourism is a brand-new offering for Mgahinga Gorilla National Park visitors that enables them to gain insight into and a better understanding of what it means to study, conserve, and protect an endangered species in the twenty-first century, as well as the numerous difficulties the team faces on a daily basis in the field.
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Travelers learn about the value of research and how conservation is influenced by what they see in the field through experiential tourism. They will also learn about primate life in the canopy and their environment, as well as about other forest-protecting animals that coexist with the monkeys.
Golden monkeys are endemic and threatened primates living in this area among other mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, the world-famous mountain gorilla, forest elephants, forest buffalo, and other animal species. Due to the fact that unlike gorillas, monkeys are small, do not build nests, leave few signs of their presence on the forest floor, and occasionally exhibit quiet behavior, especially in the presence of their main predator, the eagle, it was very difficult to even find the monkeys at first and for many months after that. Also unaccustomed to us, they would simply flee.
Golden monkey treks are significantly influenced by the weather. The monkeys stay quiet and in the middle of the canopy because they have trouble hearing predators, and when the trees blow, it is difficult to tell whether the sound is the wind or the monkeys moving, or both. The wind makes it easier to track the monkeys as they walk down the slopes. Since the monkeys seek shelter when it rains and remain still, we can see them more closely. The woodlands are amazing to walk through every day, especially on holidays, regardless of the weather. With all of that said, the forest is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to be when it is raining and the mist settles amid the moss and hanging foliage.
How much is a golden monkey trekking permit?
A golden monkey trekking permit costs $60 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $40 per person per trek for foreign residents, and Shs 40,000 for East Africans. The golden monkey permit cost includes the park entry fee, guiding fee, and spending an hour with the monkeys. Golden-monkey permits can be obtained on the ground from Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters in Ntebeko Visitor Center. Travelers who want to spend more quality time with golden monkeys and learn more about them can opt for the golden monkey habituation experience, which costs only $100 per person.
How is golden monkey trekking conducted?
Golden monkey trekking is conducted like mountain gorilla trekking. Golden monkey trekking begins with travelers arriving at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park headquarters in the morning by 7:30 a.m. for a pre-trekking briefing (on the rules and regulations of trekking the golden monkeys), while the actual golden monkey trekking starts at 8:00 a.m. Hiking in the forests while searching for the golden monkeys is not as strenuous as mountain gorilla trekking since the golden monkeys reside on the lower slopes, so tourists do not move for so long. When travelers encounter the golden monkey group, they are given only an hour to spend with the monkeys.
What should you carry for golden monkey tracking?
There are many requirements for tourists to carry for a memorable experience with the golden monkey trek. Travelers should bring waterproof hiking boots, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a backpack for carrying packed lunch and drinking water, energy-giving snacks, a walking stick to support them while hiking, porters to assist them in slippery areas, and insect repellant.