The endangered Golden monkeys in Rwanda can be found in the famous Virunga mountains, they are common on highland forests and bamboo vegetation because they feed on bamboo shoot living in social groups of about 30 individuals feeding on insects, flowers, shrubs, bamboo branches,, fruits, invertebrates and leaves. They are said to be a sub species of the blue monkey also known as Syke monkey that belonged to the old order of monkeys.
The Virunga volcanoes harbor about 4000-5000 Golden monkeys. These monkeys have a rare beautiful strike of gold on the backs. The Golden monkeys can also found in Uganda at Mgahinga national park, in Congo, they can be seen in the Kahuzi Biega and Virunga national parks.
Golden monkeys always feed within their sleeping area, they most sleep in groups of four building their houses on top of bamboo trees, and the volcanic massif is a field of many science researchers who study the behaviors of golden monkeys. There is only one trekking session in a day if missed you will have to wait for the next day.
These Golden monkeys live accordingly to the food available in a particular place for example if fruits ae available in a particular area they will stay therein and if the bamboo shoot is available they also continue to stay until it’s done. Golden monkeys are known as Cercopithecus kandti with there scientific name.
While trekking the golden monkeys, tourists will always be given an hour of observing them and studying their behavior then they can move back to their respective lodges. Tourists can also take enough photographs before they can get back. The golden monkeys are used to human and don’t draw away or stop their activities when seen, they are more playful and noisy are beautiful to look at.
Trekking golden monkeys can be combined with a gorilla trekking experience the Virunga massif, the golden monkey groups that can be found on the higher mountain areas are small compared to the large groups that can be seen at the mountain slopes.
Unlike other primates, the golden monkeys aren’t very shy tourists can even take pictures with a flash camera and also get very close to them, they sometime come out of the forests to look for left overs within the parks lodges or to the village farming field looking for Irish potatoes left after harvest.
The golden monkeys in Rwanda are more common at the Sabinyo volcano with about 80-100 members, visitors going for golden monkey trekking must report to the Kanigi Volcanoes national park headquarters to obtain permits, booking can also be done in advance with the parks website.
The golden monkey trekking activity always starts at 7:00am in the morning where you will be briefed an provided with armed game rangers and tour guides. The maximum number for a group is very limited unlike gorilla trekking where only eight people can visit a group of gorillas, the maximum time for studying them is an hour. The maximum age for children trekking is 8 years old
Tourists are advised to come along with hats, long sleeved jackets, rain coats, good trekking boots and many potters are also availed to carry for your luggage at an affordable price.
The prices for telling the golden monkeys keep on changing so it’s better for tourists to consult the park headquarters or get help from their tour operator or sometimes the all price can be included in your itinerary of your using a tour company.
Accommodation can be found at Volcanoes national park, as the activity starts early morning tourists are always advised to sleep within the park to void being left out or late coming the accommodation ranges from budget, mid range and luxurious hotels where tourists can spend a night from.