Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda : Primate trekking in Rwanda is one of the top tourist adventures in the country, most tourists that visit the country are excited to encounter some of the famous primates in the country; usually mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. But apart from mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, Rwanda is home to other primate species like the golden monkeys. These are monkey with a golden coloring on part of their bodies. This golden coloring makes them stand out from other monkeys, that’s why they are sought after primates after the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
The golden monkeys are listed as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and as of 2019, there are about 5000 golden monkeys remaining the world.
For that reason in this article we want to shade a light on golden monkeys and golden monkey trekking in Rwanda
As stated above, golden monkeys are monkeys but they are separated from others by their golden fur coats.
Like other monkeys they are playful and cheeky, sneaky and quite intelligent. When you meet them they will be trying out things, jumping on tree branches, eating fruits etc.
Golden monkey trekking is an exciting experience that takes you deep into the rain forest enjoying the beauty of the trees and the sound of the birds as you search for the golden monkeys. It’s usually a similar experience like the mountain gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking.
In the East African Region, Golden monkey trekking is done in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And it’s done in the following parks;- Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. These are only parks in the region that are habitats to the golden monkeys.
In Rwanda at the Volcanoes National Park, there are about 100 individuals (Golden monkeys) that live in the park. All these golden monkeys are habituated for trekking experiences.
On your golden monkey trekking experience you will trek the forest for about one or two hours and then you will find them. When you find them in their group you will stay with them for an hour and then you will trek back to the park headquarters.
So the trekking experience also starts from the park headquarters at 7:30 with a briefing. The briefing is done by the park rangers, who communicate to you what will happen on the trek and what is expected of you as you trek. After the briefing you will then follow the ranger to follow the forest. The ranger is your guide through the forest and as you meet the golden monkeys.
After the one hour of the watching the golden monkeys you will now head out of the forest following the ranger still.
The same guidelines for mountain gorilla trekking are used for golden monkey trekking which include keeping a 7 meter distance between you and the golden monkeys – though with their jumping and playing around they come close to you, do not trek when you are sick, do not use flash photography, do not feed the monkeys, do not do anything that will cause the monkeys harm, do not litter the monkey’s habitat among other things.
Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda can be done any time of the year and the permits cost USD 100 per person per trek. Usually people want to combine the golden monkey trek with the mountain gorilla trek, however this is quite tricky. Though both primate species stay in Volcanoes National Park and forest, they stay at different altitudes, the gorilla staying at the high altitudes and the golden monkeys in low altitudes.