Golden Monkey Trekking in Uganda – Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Golden Monkey trekking in Mgahinga gorilla national park Uganda for a great adventure in the bamboo forest of Mgahinga. Not forgetting trekking the mountain gorillas which are only found in Uganda, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo.
Golden monkeys are beautiful primates with a golden cot and a black patch that makes them look very unique and attractive. Monkeys are only found in three countries of Africa within the high altitude bamboo in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda is the only place in the country that has these beautiful species.
These golden monkey is one of the primates in Uganda preferred for tracking by tourists on Uganda safaris. They are only found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.
This same park is home to mountain gorillas and is best for gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda. It’s from the fact both golden monkeys and silverback gorillas live in the same park that the slogan “where gold meets silver” was derived.
The golden monkeys in Mgahinga go through a habituation process to get familiar with the presence of humans before they are opened up to tourists. The habituated troops are available for tracking and the semi-habituated groups are available for golden monkey experiential.
Golden monkey trekking isn’t as exhausting as gorilla tracking since the golden monkeys do not build new nests each day and therefore their movement is easily traceable.
The golden monkey experiential is the best way of having a greater insight into the lifestyle of the monkeys. You spend more time with the golden monkeys and learn their behavior before being fully habituated.
A brief about Golden Monkeys
Unfortunately, due to the loss of their habitat in the past wars, the golden monkey is listed as endangered. About 2000 to 4000 individuals are estimated to be existent in the Virungas.
Golden monkeys are found in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and in Congo. Golden monkeys are restricted within the highland forest especially near bamboo.
The golden monkey was previously thought to be a subspecies of the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) but found to just be similar. The golden monkey is differentiated by the golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.
They are mainly herbivorous known to eat mainly bamboo branchlets, shoots, flowers, fruit, and leaves. However, they are opportunistic feeders whose diet is easily influenced by the availability of fruit. In rare cases, they also feed on insects.
Because of their kind of diet, the golden monkeys live in habitats with a lot of bamboo and fruit, which is part of the Virunga Volcanoes. Golden Monkeys move between areas depending on where there is food. In the dry season, they look for ripe fruit and stay in those areas with fruit.
When the rainy season begins, they move to the bamboo areas since the bamboo is shooting at that time. In most cases, they prefer places with both bamboo and fruit.
These Monkeys live in groups of different sizes sighted from 3 to as large as a group of 100 each group led by an alpha male. In size, the golden monkeys that live in the higher elevations are smaller compared to those in lower elevations.
In most cases, the golden monkeys sleep in one of their sleeping areas after a day of feeding. Monkeys sleep on top of the dense bamboo plants or several bamboo plants that they weave together to make a sufficient foundation to sleep, they do this in small subgroups of 4 individuals.
When they make a sleeping area, the next day, they will feed close to the sleeping area such that they return in the evening to sleep. This is different from the mountain gorillas that spend each night in a different place.