Golden Monkey Trekking in Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the very beautiful Africa safari destinations and undoubtedly one place to visit. The scenery, rare wildlife species and unique activities make this beautiful land of a thousand hills worth visiting. Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda is one of the amazing primate tracking experiences searching for the rare golden monkeys that are only restricted to the Virunga volcanoes of Africa.
Golden monkeys are restricted to the Virunga Volcanoes that stretch through the boundaries of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. They scientifically referred to as Cercopithecus mitis kandti which is a species of the Old World monkey. Previously, the golden monkey was thought to be a subspecies of the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) however, it was found to just be similar. The golden monkey can be differentiated from other monkeys by the golden-orange patch on their upper flanks and back which make them so beautiful and worth sighting.
Unfortunately, due to loss of their habitat in the past decades, their numbers declined and the golden monkey is now listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List. Only about 2000 to 4000 individuals are estimated to be remaining in the world.
These beauties are mainly herbivorous noted to eat mainly bamboo branch lets, shoots, flowers, fruit and leaves with their feeding mainly influenced by the availability of fruit and vegetation. It is only in a few cases that golden monkeys are spotted eating insects. Due to what they love to feed on, the golden monkeys mainly live in areas with a lot of bamboo and fruit with Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park being one of them.
Movement of golden monkeys is mainly influenced by the presence of food and they stay in areas with a lot of ripe fruit during the dry season. On the other hand, in the rainy season the bamboo is shooting and they mainly stay in those areas with bamboo.
Just like most primates, golden monkeys live in groups with some groups as large as 100 individuals. The group is always led by the adult male. The size of the golden monkey is determined by where they live with those in higher altitudes being smaller than those in the lower altitude.
Unlike the popular primates of chimpanzees and gorillas that sleep in new nests each day, the golden monkeys sleep on top of dense bamboo plants or weave together bamboo to make a sufficient foundation to sleep. The nests are share by about 4 individuals.
The Golden Monkey Experience in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park has two (2) habituated golden monkey. One of the groups in the park is so big comprising of about 80-100 members. This group is mainly found in the foot of Mt. Sabyinyo.
For a golden monkey trekking experience, tourists have to be at the park headquarters in the morning for briefing before they start the trek in Kinigi at 7:00 am local time. Your guide will ensure the drive to the park headquarters from you place of residence or lodge. Remember to have breakfast at hotel before setting off or have your breakfast packed.
The trek starts with the guides taking the trekkers to the forest in search of the golden monkeys. From a distance, you can spot them playing and leaping around the bamboo branches as they enjoy their daily activities. When you get to the golden monkeys, a maximum of 1 hour is allowed for tourists to spend with them. You spend this time taking pictures and recording videos of these beauties. They offer a great daily show for the tourists and it is in most cases amazing to watch them just from their look to the playful character. After the one hour, you then return to the park headquarters where you meet your driver guide for a way forward drive.
Golden monkey trekking permits can be booked early or bought at the park headquarters in the morning of the trek.
Golden monkeys share the same habitat with the elusive mountain gorillas that live in Rwanda and therefore making it a perfect option to plan a single trip including gorilla trekking and golden monkeys. We help tailor golden monkey as well as Rwanda gorilla tour safaris as single activity trips or even as a combined trip. Golden monkeys can also be seen in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is also a destination for Uganda gorilla safaris and way cheaper than trekking in Rwanda. Beyond primate tracking tours in Rwanda, we do plan memorable wildlife trips including Kenya safaris and Tanzania safaris tours.