Golden Monkey Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda
These unique endangered terrestrial primates are only endemic to 4 national parks in the East African rift valley region on the slopes of the three Virunga volcanoes which are shared by three countries Uganda, Rwanda, and the democratic republic of Congo. They were pronounced endangered by the IUCN red list, the tourist can get to see the endangered species in Uganda around Maghinga forest park in Rwanda around volcanoes national park and in Congo found in Virunga national park, these playful primates keep surviving in the bamboo forests because their diet is restricted to this habitat.
The prices of golden monkey trekking permits differ between these two countries for example a tourist interested to go trekking golden monkeys in Uganda Maghinga national park would only pay as little as $60 per person excluding the 40$ park entrance fees, and $ 150 for the habituated golden monkey trekking meanwhile for a tourist going to trek the same golden monkeys in Rwanda would therefore pay $ 1700 per person and those in for luxury would go as far as paying $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 per trek. Habituated golden monkeys can only be found in Uganda and not in Rwanda so if a tourist would wish to stay with the golden monkeys, Uganda would be the best choice for this during the trek you might find different other animals, birds, and endangered mountain gorilla if you are lucky.
If you’re someone who is looking at exclusive trekking, I would instead choose Maghinga, this is park is like a private villa where there always a few people that go for this activity in the ark thus making you maximize the time you interact with the monkies while in the wild which cant be the case when it comes to Trekking these monkies from Volcanoes park.so if I were you I would absolutely go trekking in Maghinga over Uganda.
In Uganda, there’s a possibility of going on the physical golden monkey habituation over the usual common trekking, in the habituation experience one is allowed to spend more than 4-5 hours within the jungle, whereby this opportunity to go for golden monkey habituation is only found in Uganda’s smallest park of Maghinga. so if one is interested in going for habituation someone would wish to maximize my time with these monkeys I would obviously go for Maghinga over volcanoes park.
In Uganda, once one goes for the golden monkey, the chances of spotting other apes are so high like the gorillas in most cases these monkeys where they are found it’s not much different from the location of the mountain gorillas why is it so? No one knows but by instinct, these apes are close to each other unlike in Rwanda where monkeys are located close to potato fields so making Uganda the best place to go for these monkeys.
Doing the golden monkey trekking in Uganda exposes you to multiple day hikes or tours such, a 1-day hike to Sabinyo, a 1-day hike to Mhabula, and Mt Ghinga hike, not getting the Batwa trail experience which is only found in Uganda as well as 1-day lake mutanda walk, while in Volcanoes Park, you can enjoy the Visiting Ellen Degeneres Museum of Dianne foesy or Ibiwachu cultural center and visiting the caves.
If you’re someone who is much looking more in a fancy hotel like, then Volcanoes would be a perfect choice or ideal choice being close to a number of Multiple FIVE STAR HOTELS, such one AND ONLY GORILLA NEST, SINGITA KWITONDA LODGE WITH THEIR KATAZA MAKING YOU FEEL THE BREEZE OF THE JUNGLE, while Mgahinga only has one upper luxury lodge which is GAHINGA LODGE and one basic lodge known as AMAJAMBERE WHICH IS BASIC for backpackers. Based on my analysis this Amajambere is only run by the community so one would feel comfortable supporting the community.
In terms of accessibility, Musanze is 3 hour’s drive from the main airport Kigali with 130km from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda which means accessibility in the case one has a flight or any emergency can be in a position to make it or fly out unlikely for Mgahinga which is 10hrs drive from the main airport Entebbe /Uganda thus giving volcanoes park an added advantage ahead of Uganda.
What a visitor must know while going for golden monkey trekking in Uganda is that the trek begins with a briefing at the park headquarters in Maghinga national park at around 8:00, the guides would tell the tourists what is expected while doing this activity trekking permits can be booked in advance or on that exact date and while in Uganda there is no limit on the number of people supposed to trek the golden monkeys, but that’s not the case for the tourists going to Rwanda for the golden monkey trekking in volcanoes national park since they limit the number of pax to a minimum of 12 people. This new normal was changed after the pandemic from a total number which was 16 to 12 people this reduction was brought about by the covid 19 pandemic which hit the world at the beginning of 2020, for a tourist in search of trekking the golden monkeys in uncrowded tourist destinations while still having fun you should not leave out Rwanda s volcanoes national park on this.
Golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga is something that you can choose to do even at the last minute there’s advance booking required and payment can be made on the ground either by visa card or by mobile money since three’s no PCR test is required in Uganda which maj\kes the activity doable on last minute a least expensive since the 50$ covid test is not applicable in Uganda unlikely in Volcanoes where everybody is required to provide a 24 negative PCR test.
Going on golden monkey trekking in Mgahinga, one starts the hike straight away from the briefing point since the briefing is done at the entrance of the forest, unlike in Volcanoes where one has to drive for 30 minutes to the starting point of the forest so making Mgahing the best spot to go golden monkey trekking.
Volcanoes being the hub for tourism with Rwanda with over 10 gorilla families, Bisoke nd dianney, Kalisimbi hike these all mean the place becomes too congested in such way that the impact of mass tourism is exhibited so much in volcanoes which is not the case for Mhaginga park which only hosts few guests making it an ideal place to those who want to enjoy the freedom of privacy and exclusive adventure
The primate tourism activities were forced to close with the news of the covid 19 pandemic worldwide which made the tourism and travel business very complicated and difficult. Nowadays the covid requirements needed to enter in any of these countries is not only a negative covid 19 PCR test certificate is no longer required for full chances of seeing the monkeys. Travelers who are fully vaccinated against covid 19 must provide a valid certificate of vaccination to grant you entry to Uganda. Tourists should exercise caution in any decisions about international travel, taking into account of their overall healthy for the case of Rwanda there is a rapid PCR done at $50 which automatically adds up to the cost of the monkey trekking permits making it expensive. Tourists without vaccination certificates traveling to Uganda should not forget to bring with them a negative PCR test completed not more than 72 hours before departure to both enter and exit Uganda.
What would be the chances of seeing the golden monkeys in Uganda vs. Rwanda?
A tourist may wonder