Golden monkey permits are highly sought after by tourists visiting Uganda and Rwanda to witness these fascinating primates in their natural habitat, particularly in the Virunga Mountains. The golden monkeys, residing on the slopes of the Virungas, bear a resemblance to China’s snub-nosed monkeys. Despite often competing for attention with the world-famous mountain gorillas in the same habitat, these social creatures captivate visitors with their adorable faces.
Thriving primarily on bamboo (Sinarundinaria Alpina) found between altitudes of 2,100 to 3,550 meters on the Virunga Volcanoes slopes, these endangered little primates attract tourists from around the world to these parts of Africa.
To witness habituated golden monkey families, one must secure a golden monkey permit. These permits grant access to observing the golden monkeys in either Mgahinga National Park in southeastern Uganda or Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, both situated on the Virunga Mountains’ side.
However, booking golden monkey permits in these regions can be a challenging task, especially for foreign tourists on another continent. Several mistakes are commonly made during the planning process, leading to potential regrets and financial losses. This post highlights some of the common mistakes to avoid when booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda.
The travel infrastructure in Uganda and Rwanda may not yet meet international standards, making travel logistics complex. Although some individuals can plan their trips, it is advisable to enlist the services of a tour operator who can facilitate the permit purchase from UWA or RDB and arrange the entire itinerary. Tour operators possess valuable knowledge about local service providers, offer suitable recommendations, and process the necessary permits.
Booking with an operator ensures that your preferred travel date is considered, and once the permit availability is confirmed, they will request your passport copy and the cash deposit for the permit price. Once the reservation is made, you will receive a copy of the permit, and the operator will proceed with planning the rest of your itinerary.
Golden monkeys can be trekked in both Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Despite both places offering gorilla trekking as well, it is a common mistake to assume that a gorilla permit also grants access to observe golden monkeys. Each permit is specific to its respective activity and location.
Some travelers may also confuse Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, known for mountain gorillas, with the habitat of golden monkeys. As a result, they purchase gorilla permits, hoping to see the golden monkeys, which is not possible. It is essential to consult with a tour company to avoid this confusion and book the appropriate permits for your desired activities.
While the golden monkey experience may not be as physically demanding as gorilla trekkings, it still requires a certain level of physical ability. Some guests mistakenly book the experience without considering the hike involved in reaching the golden monkeys’ bamboo forest zone.
Golden monkeys inhabit bamboo forests on the mountains’ slopes, which typically require an hour’s hike to reach. The time taken to locate the monkeys can vary from an hour to three, and trekkers should be prepared for these physical demands. The daily golden monkey trekking excursions usually start at 08:00 am and take up a significant portion of the day.
Golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda cost $100 per person for a single trek, allowing visitors an hour to observe the endangered primates. However, those seeking a more extended encounter with the golden monkeys in Uganda can opt for the golden monkey habituation permit, which costs $140 per person.
Due to the lower cost and availability of golden monkey permits compared to gorilla permits, some travelers mistakenly pay operators more than the advertised price. It is crucial to remember that only RDB and UWA are authorized to sell permits at the advertised price, and visitors should pay precisely as indicated.
Golden monkey permits solely cover the guided trek and ranger security. Tourists should not expect accommodations, meals, snacks, porter fees, drinking water, or any other amenities outside the excursion period to be included in the permits.
The minimum age requirement for booking a golden monkey permit is 12 years, and a single trekking group can accommodate up to sixteen tourists alongside two armed rangers and a senior tracker guide. It is essential to plan for additional expenses separately to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
A common mistake made by visitors is neglecting to read the booking terms and conditions before purchasing golden monkey permits. Familiarizing oneself with the terms can help avoid unpleasant outcomes that could have been prevented.
For example, golden monkey permits are valid for two years from the purchase date, with a possibility of rescheduling within seven days before the visit date. Full payment and advanced booking are necessary, with partial cash deposits not accepted. Additionally, permit holders must check-in at the visitor center with their permit or booking reference number and passport before the experience.
While last-minute booking for golden monkey permits may sometimes be possible due to fewer visitors showing interest in primates, it can also lead to disappointment if permits are unavailable during peak periods. To avoid potential setbacks, it is advisable to book permits weeks in advance, particularly when combining golden monkey and mountain gorilla treks on the same journey. Early booking increases the chances of securing permits for specific travel dates.
In summary, booking golden monkey permits in Uganda and Rwanda requires careful planning and consideration to avoid common mistakes. With the help of Trek Africa Tours, tourists can enjoy a seamless and memorable primate experience, including arranging necessary accommodations, transport, and other activities. Whether seeking to trek golden monkeys, mountain gorillas, or both, our team can plan a remarkable journey in the Virunga mountains. For a free quote and personalized assistance, contact our safari team at firstname.lastname@example.org.