Golden Monkeys in Rwanda
Golden monkeys are species of the old monkeys that are found in the famous Virunga Volcanic Mountains. The other destinations of golden monkeys include; Mgahinga national park, Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, Virunga as well as Kahuzi Biega in the far eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. These are commonly found in highland forests nearby Bamboo vegetation. Golden monkeys are believed to be sub species of the blue monkeys since both look alike and they have a golden orange patch on the upper back and flanks.
These golden monkeys live in social groups of about 30 individuals and mostly feed on fruits, insects and leaves and are listed as endangered species. These species also prefer most habitants with bamboo and fruits and move to different areas depending on seasons. For example, when the bamboo shoots are available, they will stay in that particular area and when the fruits are available in a certain place, these same primates will be encouraged to remain in the same place. It was recently studied that golden monkeys prefer areas with bamboo than any other place so they will always be located in such places.
These also move in many group sizes including both small and large groups of up to 62 monkeys. Mostly groups which are found in higher elevation areas tend to be so small than those found in low elevation areas. They usually sleep in groups of 4 individuals at the top of bamboo trees and often feed near their sleeping areas and return to the same place to rest in the evening. These species also have a special diet that consists of young bamboo leaves, bamboo branch lets, fruits, shoots flowers, shrubs, and invertebrates. Golden monkeys are endangered species and many activities like bamboo removal and tree extraction are a great threat to these species.
Golden Monkey tracking in Rwanda
Golden monkey tracking mainly takes place in Volcanoes National Park, the activity begins at 7:00am and you will enter the forest to start your search for these endangered species. Volcanoes national park currently has 2 habituated golden monkey troops which are available for visitors to view. Both of the troops have got 80 members in total.
These are mostly located in bamboo vegetation which is found at the base of volcanoes national park and the habituation process has greatly helped them to overcome their shyness to accepting their daily visitors as well as researchers. Only 8 people are allowed to visit each troop and are usually given one hour to spend with them as they play around, care for their young ones and also feed from leaves and fruits.
These primate species are very active creatures since they jump from one tree to another and are so beautiful to photograph! Trekking golden monkeys is a worthwhile experience as mountain gorillas and you shouldn’t miss it once you visit Rwanda. These species are also playful, flit around and also nosy in their characters.
Mostly, visitors who come to do gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park, also take a half day golden monkey trek, the activity begins early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters and each permit costs 100 USD per person, clients are advisable to wear long trousers, hats, light rain jackets, long sleeved shirts, water proof hiking boots, water proof day packs, carry some snacks, bottled water as well as a camera to take some photos. Porters are always available at the park headquarters to help you carry your luggage to the Jungle and back.