Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda : Golden monkey trekking is an interesting and adventurous activity that is fast picking ground among tourists visiting Uganda. Some visitors in Uganda are opting for golden monkey trekking as an alternative for gorilla trekking which a bit expensive, with a gorilla permit in Uganda going for USD 600 to USD 700 dollars per person, and USD 1500 in Rwanda. This is a bit expensive for some tourists, who prefer to trek golden monkeys at a fee of only USD 50 dollars for a permit in Uganda and USD 100 in Rwanda.

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda

Golden monkey trekking is an activity that involves visitors, accompanied by park rangers and guides, hiking through the dense forest vegetation in search for golden monkey species. The search for these golden monkeys may also involve tracking the species using their fecal matter, leftover food, broken tree stems and branches, nests that the monkeys made the previous night, and finally tracking their sound/ noise.

Golden monkeys are believed to be very social primates, with the species living in big troupes of about 100 individuals that are led by a dominate male. Usually the troupe majorly consists of females with very few males.

The golden monkey species is listed as an endangered species under the IUCN Red List. However, the number of golden monkeys that are living within protected areas are reported to be declining at a fast rate, with their current populations estimated to be between 2000-4000 individuals in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park alone. Their total population worldwide is estimated to be between 10,000 to 20,000 individuals.

Golden monkey species, which is also known scientifically as Cercopithecus mitis kandti, can be found only in the Virunga Volcano Massif and Nyungwe Forest Reserve. Their populations are currently under threat majorly due to habitat loss, degradation, poaching, and interbreeding with other related sub-species.

Their diet mainly comprises fruits, bamboo shoots and leaves, sprouts, flowers, and small insects among others. Golden monkey groups that visitors trek have been habituated for tourism purposes and are therefore safe for visitors to trek.


Golden monkey trekking can be somewhat tedious for visitors, and the activity can take between 3-6 hours with an hour allocated to trekkers once the golden monkeys have been located. However, golden monkeys do not go into higher altitudes like gorillas, hence sparing trekkers several hours of intensive hiking.

Once the golden monkeys have been located, trekkers can then spend their one hour watching how the monkeys interact with one another as they jump and swing from one tree branch to another. Trekkers can also watch the golden monkeys feed, what their diet is comprised of, watch how the youngsters play with each other among others.

Golden monkey trekking is much more easily compared to gorilla and chimpanzee trekking since the activity involves visitors and park guides following the trail of fruits and bamboo shoots left behind by the golden monkeys as the move through the forest.

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda is done from Mgahinga gorilla national park, which is part of the Virunga Conservation Area/Virunga Massif. The national park has two habituated groups of golden monkeys that visitors can trek at any given time of the year. In Rwanda, visitors can trek golden monkeys from Volcanoes National Park or Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Visitors can also opt to do golden monkey habituation experience in Mgahinga national park at a fee of USD 100 dollars per person. The habituation experience gives visitors a chance to participate in the habituation process, which involves being around the monkeys, studying their behavior and generally getting the monkeys used to humans. This activity lasts for four hours and is perfect for tourists who love being around nature and primates.

Apart from golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga national park, visitors are able to carry out other activities such as Gorilla trekking, birding, cultural encounters where you will meet the Batwa “pygmies”, hiking, nature walks where over 76 mammal species are seen including the Bush pigs, Golden cats, elephants, African porcupines, buffaloes, duikers and many other activities according to the visitor’s itinerary.

Golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda
Golden Monkey Trekking Safaris

Visitors doing golden monkey trekking in Uganda and Rwanda are always briefed and given a set of guidelines to follow while trekking, and these include;

  • To start golden monkey trekking, visitors must obtain the permit either directly from the Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices or connect with a trusted company to handle all your trip including booking the permits, transportation and accommodation. This is the best option to avoid stress in preparation for your trip in Uganda and Rwanda for golden monkey trekking.
  • Wear water proof and anti-slippery hiking shoes and a walking stick to avoid falling down during the trekking activity in the rainy season.
  • A visitor is advised to wear a long sleeved shirt, long trouser, and a hat to avoid the insect bites and thorns in the forest from harming you. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen lotion to help your skin from getting spoilt by the sun
  • Well, carrying enough drinking water is a guarantee for all trekking activities (including the golden monkey trekking , chimpanzee trekking and Mountain Gorilla trekking ) as they require a lot of movements hence visitors must carry enough drinking water to avoid dehydration  while in the forest.
  • Lastly but not the least, since this activity is done early in the morning, visitors are supposed to wake very early and plan for the day beginning with an early breakfast and then join the rangers for briefing on how to handle their golden monkey trekking activity.
  • And finally, please don’t forget your camera as you will need to capture the beautiful moments in the forest. Using flash light in the forest during the golden monkey trekking is okay as you catch these most beautiful primates as they jump, run, climb, swing and feed.

Enjoy trekking golden monkeys in Uganda and Rwanda. While you are at it, do not forget to take lots of pictures to take home as wonderful memories of your visit to Uganda and Rwanda. Enjoy watching these lovely primates playing with each other and jumping about the trees in the forests.

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