Golden Monkeys are one of the most attractive yet less known primates which share habitat with the famous Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, north of Rwanda. They are endangered species and are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, hence, other than Rwanda, the Golden Monkeys are also found in the neighbouring countries of Uganda (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).
The Golden Monkeys live in the lower zones of the Virunga Volcano Mountains where the bamboo forests makes for their favourite habitat and also provide a major source for their diet – the bamboo shoots. They live in large communities called troops, and a troop can number over 100 individuals. Like most monkey species, they are arboreal; spend a lot of their time high hoping from tree to tree whilst feeding on fruits and bamboo shoots. They will also spend some time on ground especially where there are eatables to pick or uproot.
Naturally, the Golden Monkeys are very shy that they cannot be approached within less than 50 meters before they flee. However two large groups have been habituated in Volcanoes National Park to offer a thrilling Golden Monkey tracking experience. The monkeys are fulfilling to see, their attractive golden fur coats, and big round eyes, makes them so photogenic! Add to the lush habitat, they make for a wonderful nature photography adventure! Flush is accepted and interestingly the monkeys are attracted to it. A maximum of one hour is allowed to be around these delightful apes.
The Golden Monkey tracking adventure, though not popular as the much sought-after Mountain Gorilla trekking adventure, is one of the unique and exciting adventures one can do in Volcanoes National Park and Rwanda. It is less costly compared to Mountain Gorilla trek, hence a good alternative for travellers who may not afford the Mountain Gorillas but wish to do something in the spectacular Volcanoes National Park. It is also less strenuous since the trekking takes place along the base of the Volcanoes because the monkeys do not go up the mountain like the Mountain Gorillas do many times. But it is also a wonderful supplement to the Mountain Gorilla experience and other activities in the park, for travellers who have more time that is.
What you need to carry for the Golden Monkey trek?
- Rain coat.
- Hiking shoes.
- Drinking water.
- Hiking stick.