Golden monkey tracking is one of the major activities done on a safari to Rwanda. Golden monkeys are one of the primate species scientifically known as Cercopithecuskandti. Golden monkeys, sometimes back where mistaken with the blue monkeys (Cercopithecusmitis), which almost look alike however the golden monkeys have a golden patch at their back.
Golden monkeys are among the endangered species according to the IUCN red list. The golden monkeys can be seen in Volcanoes National Park and there are a few places elsewhere where they can be seen; Mgahinga National park in Uganda, Kahuzi-Biéga and Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo. These fast moving primates prefer highland areas with bamboo trees and much fruits because it’s what they mostly feed on.
Quick Facts About Golden Monkeys
Golden monkeys move between areas depending on seasons, they are mostly found in a bamboo area in a rainy season just because bamboo shoots come out as in the rainy season which are most preferred by this species and also found in an area with fruits especially in the ripening period.
They live in groups ranging from 2-62 monkeys in a given group. Smaller groups are normally found at a higher altitude while the large ones at a lower elevation. They sleep in groups of four at the top of bamboo trees. They always return to their sleeping area after feeding every day.
Young Bamboo fruits, leaves, branchelets, flowers, shoots and shrubs are there most preferred foods however; golden monkeys are opportunistic feeders in that they feed more on a given type of food depending on the season. For example golden monkeys tend to feed more on fruits in the ripening season.
The conservation of golden monkeys is becoming more difficult due to some activities which increase the threatening of these primate species. Such activities include poaching, destruction of their habitats by cutting the bamboo treeswhich are serious threats to their survival.
The Activity of Tracking Golden Monkeys in Rwanda
Volcanoes national park consists of two habituated golden monkey groups, one comprising of about 80-100 monkeys situated at the base of Mt Sabinyo. Similar to gorilla trekking, golden monkeys trekking is also done in the morning which starts with a short briefing about the dos and don’ts while with the monkeys and later head into the forest in search for the gorilla in the forest. On reaching the monkeys, visitors are permitted to spend a maximum of 1 hour while with these primates.
Trekking golden monkeys begins at the park headquarters in Kinigi at exactly 7:00am. A permit costs $100 per person per visit and there is no fixed number of people allowed to visit the monkeys. Permits can be reserved in advance or booked in the morning on the trekking date at the park headquarters and it is much recommended to hire porters while going for the trekking as these assist in carrying luggage.
Golden monkeys are gentle primates which jump from tree to tree on their branches which is interesting however it becomes difficult to take photos. So we highly recommend all trekkers to set their Cameras in a fast shutter-speed to enable capture good photos in dense and low light areas where the monkeys are found.
Trekking golden monkeys is one of the incredible and adventurous activities you may do in Volcanoes National Park rewarding memorable experiences for a life time.
For further information about the golden monkeys or get help in reserving/booking a golden monkey permit or any other assistance about a safari to Rwanda, don’t hesitate to check out our recommended list of Rwanda Tour Operators.