Golden monkey tracking is a complete on-foot-walk primate encounter offering a lifetime opportunity to tourists on Rwanda safaris to meet, interact, take pictures, and explore the different behaviors of the strikingly spectacular golden monkeys while in their natural habitat. The golden monkeys are naturally distinct primates yet little known, scientifically called Cercopithecus Kandti, the sub-species of the blue monkeys.
On golden monkey tracking, you may not have a close encounter with golden monkeys like you get while interacting with mountain gorillas. Golden monkeys are jumpy by nature and you must be sharp to capture their pictures, but tracking them in the wild leaves nature lovers thrilled at the end of it all.
Golden monkeys are unique primates living only in the Virunga Area: Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo. They live in troops of 100 members and they can be spotted swinging from one tree to another. They are pretty creatures with shiny-gold backs blending well with the golden bamboo.
About golden monkeys
Scientifically known as Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti, the golden monkeys are a sub-species of the Sykes monkeys (blue monkey). These creatures live in large troops comprising 60-100 members and dwell mostly on the lower Virunga Volcanoes slopes. They have a distinct golden-orange patch on their fur coat hence their name “golden monkeys.” More than 5000 golden monkeys live within the Virunga Area in Africa.
Communication habits of golden monkeys:
Golden monkeys do communicate with one another using different ways. They use gestures such as hands, vocalization, and facial expressions to communicate with one another. Calls are usually used by infants to communicate and show submissiveness.
Where to go Golden Monkey Tracking Rwanda?
There is only one area to enjoy golden monkey tracking in Rwanda: Volcanoes National Park located on the Northwestern side of the country. Other Virunga areas to see golden monkeys include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park located in Southwestern Uganda and Eastern Congo in the Virunga National Park.
Volcanoes National Park is just 2-3 hours’ drive away from the heart of the beautiful Kigali capital making it the most accessible golden monkey tracking safari destination. The park is compact by size, with its boundaries covering up to 160sq.kms of land area. A large population of golden monkeys roams at the base of Mount Sabyinyo Volcanoes National Park constituting about 100 members.
What is Golden Monkey Trekking?
Golden monkey tracking/trekking is absolutely an on-foot-walk adventure. To see a troop of the golden monkeys, tourists must set foot into the jungles of Volcanoes National Park taking about 2-4 hours winding through the scenic forest/bamboo forest, and the steep slopes to search for these charming creatures. It is a less-strenuous primate experience compared to gorilla trekking.
Golden monkey tracking takes you through learning about how golden monkeys behave which is their copulation habits, social structures, and feeding habits and you have the ultimate time taking photos. This is during the one hour of magical encounters with golden monkeys in the wild.
What are the golden monkey tracking rules?
- An 8-10 meters distance must be maintained between golden monkey troops and humans as a way to limit the spread of human infectious diseases to them.
- Use of flashlight cameras is highly not allowed and it should be turned off prior to photographing these apes.
- Unnecessary movements aren’t allowed as they may scare the golden monkeys away.
- Drinking or smoking/eating while with golden monkeys isn’t permitted.
- Don’t liter golden monkey habitat, rather leave it in a better condition than it was found.
- Valid golden monkey permits are needed for every trekker visiting Volcanoes National Park for golden monkey trekking.
- Your voice must be kept low while tracking golden monkeys.
- Only 1 hour of face-to-face encounter is what is allowed for tourists to spend with golden monkeys- exploring their behaviors and taking pictures.
- Tracking golden monkeys when sick or ill isn’t acceptable.
- Only eligible trekkers are allowed to visit golden monkeys- that is persons above 15 years.
Golden monkey tracking permits Rwanda
All valid golden monkey trekking permits in Rwanda are available for reservation at US Dollars 100 per person. Booking any of the permits for tracking golden monkeys is made possible simply via a reliable tour operator on the ground or directly with Rwanda Development Board (RDB). In Uganda, golden monkey permits are open for booking at USD60 per person per day for foreign non-residents, USD50 for foreign residents, and 40,000/= for the East African citizens visiting for golden monkey tracking.
What is the physical fitness level required for golden monkey trekking?
Golden monkey tracking isn’t as energy-demanding as it is during the gorilla trek. Golden monkeys range around the Volcanoes National Park bamboo and the bottom of its Virunga Mountain ranges. The landscape is relatively gentle and tracking these apes is made easier meaning even a visitor with a basic fitness level can be part of this remarkable primate encounter.
What should I pack for golden monkey tracking?
A Rwanda golden monkey tracking packing list should comprise bottled drinking water, golden monkey trekking permits, insect repellents, raincoat/jacket or poncho, a camera, long-sleeved shirts, sweater, waterproof hiking boots, gardening gloves, safari hat, first aid kit, first aid kit, pair of socks, daypack and more.
When is the best time to visit Rwanda for golden monkey trekking?
It is a good idea to understand when is the best time to go visit golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. Treks to see these creatures can be conducted all year round although the dry season is the best time. In Volcanoes National Park, two dry seasons are experienced- the long and short: the long dry months run from June to September, and the short drier months start from December to February.
Where to stay
Visitors can have overnight stay in any of the luxury, mid-range, and budget accommodations in and around Volcanoes National Park. They include Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Virunga Lodge, Gorilla’s Nest Lodge, Muhabura Hotel, Bisate Lodge, Singita Lodge, and Da Vinci Lodge/Five Volcanoes.