Many tourists to Rwanda know the Volcanoes National Park for mountain gorillas but there is more to this destination than gorilla trekking safaris. Golden monkey tracking is one of the many things to enjoy in this Park during Rwanda safaris.

Golden monkeys are one of the primate species that call the bamboo forests home. Just like mountain gorillas, these animals are also habituated to get used to the presence of human beings who visit them time and again. With the presence of these two popular primate species, Volcanoes National Park is one of the few places where Silver meets Gold (silverbacks and Golden monkeys).

Scientifically known as Cercopithecus kandti, Golden monkeys are sub-species of Sykes monkeys also referred as the Blue monkey and inhabit the base of the Virunga Volcanoes within the Bamboo forests. They are found in three National Parks including Mgahinga National Park in south-western Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in North-western Rwanda and Virunga National Park within Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They are generally frisky, inquisitive and flick around within their habitats in the most charismatic manner that shows their gratification hence the reason you cannot afford to miss them during Rwanda safaris. Golden monkeys are generally shy creatures with long tails, which they always attach on the bamboo but you can cut off branches so as to see some of the monkeys with shorter tails.

They are listed under IUCN Red List of endangered animals and are identified by the golden-patch on their upper flanks and backs. They are social animals that live in groups/families of up to 60 individuals (larger than gorilla families) and are herbivores that feed on mainly fruits, flowers, bamboo shoots, shrubs, branchlets and leaves and sometimes invertebrates (insects). Currently, two habituated Golden monkey families exist in Volcanoes National Park with members ranging from 80 to 100 members.

How Golden Monkey Tracking is Conducted

Just like gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking starts at 7:00am with arrival at Kinigi Park Headquarters for pre-tracking briefing. After this, you will be required to drive to the trailhead (that is about 15 minutes away from the border of the Park) then venture into the jungles.

Cost of golden monkey permits

The Cost of golden monkey permits for Volcanoes National Park is only $100 per person. Unlike gorilla trekking that has a higher demand, this adventure is not very competitive hence you can even acquire the permits from the Headquarters on the day of trekking. It is advisable to hire a porter at Kinigi Headquarters to help carry you backpack. After sighting the family, spend only one hour to watch and take photographs (it doesn’t matter even if you use a flash camera) of these primates

Required level of physical fitness for Golden Monkey Tracking

This activity is one of the least strenuous activities within Volcanoes National Park because these primates occupy the base of the Volcanoes in the Bamboo Forest with relatively flat and easier terrain to trek. Therefore, basic fitness is enough unlike gorilla trekking which is more challenging.

What to Carry and Wear for Golden monkey Tracking

Appropriate dressing for the adventure is long trousers to protect your legs from grass scratches, long sleeved shirts for the same purpose because you will be trekking through areas of different vegetation types. Also wear a Hat and sunglasses to protect your head and eyes respectively from effects of sunshine, carry light-weight rain jacket/poncho whether in rainy or dry season because Volcanoes National Park being on a high elevation receives rain all year round, wear strong waterproof hiking boots and cotton socks, enough drinking water and packed lunch, carry a backpack for packing your lunch, snacks, water, a camera (Flash Cameras are allowed) and binoculars and don’t forget to carry a walking stick.

Where to Stay During Golden Monkey Tracking In Volcanoes National Park

This Park boasts of a number of accommodation facilities for tourists to spend overnights during this adventure and they include Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge (just 15 minutes drive from the Park Headquarters), Jack and Hannah Cottages and Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel for tourists interested in Luxury, Le Bambou Gorilla village, Mountain gorilla view lodge, Garr Hotel and Villa Gorilla for midrange options and Amahoro Guest house, Kinigi Guest house and Hotel Muhabura for budget accommodation.

In conclusion, Golden monkey tracking is one of the must-do tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park. Combining this adventure with gorilla trekking will make your safari memorable.