Welcome to the complete guide for the ultimate golden monkey trekking experience, all the things you need to know about visiting the golden monkeys of Rwanda and Uganda, where to stay, the permit costs, tour operators, when to go and general information about these apes.
About The Golden Monkeys
Golden monkeys are known to have unique characters and are a rare species that are endangered at the moment and they are currently found in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. They are easily recognized due to the yellow patches that can be seen all over their bodies. The Golden monkeys are also known as ‘the Old world monkey’ and the only way to separate these primates from others is by their noses. There is a unique character about the golden monkeys and that is most of the monkeys have their nostrils pointing to the sides but if you look closely at the golden monkeys, their nostrils face upwards.
Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda mostly takes place in the Volcanoes which is found in the Virunga Mountains and it has only one session per day which starts in the morning. Those who are willing to take part in the golden monkey trekking are advised to report at the headquarters by 7:00 am for a mini briefing about the trek before it starts and it is only fifteen minutes away from the Park.
The Golden monkeys in the Rwanda are divided into two troops and the largest is located in the Sabinyo and this has 80 to 100 monkeys and it is the most visited troop in Rwanda. The other troop is located in the Volcanoes and it is slightly smaller in number.
Plan Your Golden Trek Experience
Golden Monkey Tracking 1 day
Gorillas & Golden Monkey Trek 4 Days
Trekking Permit & Costs
The permits for golden monkeys trekking in Rwanda go for $ 100 Dollars each and the beauty about the gorilla trek in Rwanda is that it does not limited the age of the people who are to participate in the trek and the number of people.
The monkeys are easily found since most of them live just right below the Volcanoes Mountain and can be seen swinging from the bamboo trees in the forest. The tourists get to see monkeys which have short tails that were cut off because they got stuck in the bamboo trees and they get an hour to view the creatures and get to know about their different characteristics from the experienced your guide who goes with them. The easiest way to track them down is by following the left over bamboo shoots which are always left by the monkeys after eating. The monkeys also move out in the open and feast on the cones and food in the fields owned by the farmers near the forest making it easy for the tourists to see them as they swing back and forth.
They live in the Albertine region and they are Albertine Endemics. Endemic refers to species that are confined in that specific area. The Albertine region refers to the area which is filled with valleys and Mountains including various tree species that make up the forests surrounding the area and after looking at the various traits of the Golden monkeys, we are about to find out how to go for the golden monkeys trekking Safari in Rwanda, where to go and what you need on this tour.
What To Carry While On A Golden Monkey Trek
There are several things that you need to know so as to enjoy the Golden monkeys trekking and some of these include:
When taking photographs, flashes are not allowed on the cameras as they scare the monkeys away.
You need to carry food or snacks and water for the hike. There are no other stops where you will get food from therefore it is advisable to pack breakfast from the hotel or a few snacks to munch on along the way.
You will also need a rain jacket because the weather in the area is unpredictable. This will shield you from the heavy rains just especially in the morning.
You will also need to carry good hiking shoes that do not slide due to the wet ground, a wide brimmed hat for when it is hot to shield you from the sunshine and do not forget repellent to avoid insect bites.
Ever since they were declared endangered, many people have come to see the yellow patched primates and in order to get to know more about these primates, we are going to discuss the golden monkeys in form of questions so that we get a better understanding about these animals.
How do golden monkeys communicate with each other?
Like any other animal species found on Earth, monkeys also communicate and scientists have come to reveal how the golden monkeys communicate with one another. They normally communicate through gestures using hands, vocalization and facial expressions. They wave their hands about in order to tell others what they need and most of them communicate with a purpose.
The young golden monkeys normally use call communications to show their submissiveness to the older ones, the male primates use their call communications to show the hat they own the territory and as a sign of aggression, whereas the female golden monkeys use call signs for bringing the group of monkeys together.
Where do the golden monkeys sleep?
Most people believe that they live in the open up in the trees but what they do not know is that these golden monkeys weave various bamboo plants together to make a nest where they nest and make their homes. These bamboo trees are weaved together to make beds where they rest after a long day.
What is the overall population of the Golden monkeys in Rwanda?
The Golden monkeys are becoming extinct and it is believed that some of the reasons for this is the limited area where they habitate from. The population is believed to be about 2500 to 3500 but it is reducing at a drastic rate. They all live in the Albertine in the Virunga forests but they have been endangered Sue to the human population cutting down trees so as to get vast land for farming and settlement.
What do the golden monkeys feed on?
The feeding areas for the golden monkeys are mostly located in areas where they sleep to make it easy for them to get food. The monkeys then take trips to the food places or foliage and bring back for the group especially the young ones.
The golden monkeys normally are herbivores and feed on the plants that are found in the forests. They also fed on the various fruits but their major food is the bamboo but they also adapt to the different seasons that affect the forests and therefore can eat anything that is available to them as long as it is edible like shrubs, larvae found on the trees, flowers, branches, shoots and many more others.
How do the Golden monkeys live?
The Golden monkeys live in groups of 30 to 80 and they always have one male monkey showing dominance over the rest in the group. The male monkeys travel from group to group and can mate from all the groups whereas the females tend to guard only one territory. The life span of these golden monkeys is twenty years.
They are known to be very social animals living in groups which are dominated by one male. They are very active during the day and they can be seen jumping from one tree to the next all day long. They normally sleep on top of the different bamboo trees in the self-made trees in the forests and they go to sleep they always crowd themselves into groups of four for easy protection especially for the young ones.
The Mating Habits Of The Golden Monkeys
Not much is known about the mating between the male and female golden monkeys but it is believed that the females always initiate the mating process. Due to the fact that there is always one male predominant in the group, the monkeys become polygamous as one male golden monkey mates with all the females in the group. The males live temporarily in a group for a specific period of time before they move to other groups to continue mating.
The females are known to give birth every two years since their gestation period lasts for only five months and they give birth to only one infant like humans. By the time they give birth, the baby will be well developed and it will be natured by the mother for the first months and as time goes on, the mother stops feeding the baby in preparation for the next gestation period. And once the monkey reaches puberty it leaves the natal group to join the older monkeys.
This is a very exciting experience and thrilling as you get to see the different primates along the way but most especially the Golden monkeys. These are located in the Volcanoes National Park which is located on the Virunga area and you will be able to recognize them due to the gold coating that they have on their bodies. Going in for the Golden monkey trekking will also involve the gorilla trekking so you get a two in one experience.
Where To Stay Before & After The Golden Monkey Tracking
The accommodation facilities that are near and close to Volcanoes National Park are so many and these include lodges, Hotels as well as camps. Some of these facilities are so near and they are 5 minutes’ walk from the real starting point of most of the activities in volcanoes National Park. And the far lodges are only 1 hour away from the real starting point. The guests can also want to stay in Kigali and then leave so early at 4:40 am to arrive at the park headquarters for a briefing. Though is stressing and we advise this to those who have got only one day for gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking as well as the volcanic hike . This is because this is stressing and we don’t often advise it. We therefore recommend the 2 or 3 days gorilla safaris. This will allow one stay in Kinigi or Musanze which is close to Volcanoes National Park and also be able to adventure volcanoes National park without being in a rush.
The Types of Accommodation.
We have also collected these lodges into three categories including; High class luxury accommodations, the standard luxury accommodations, the mid-range and the basic accommodations.
- The High class Luxury Facilities:
These are mainly the 5 star lodges or hotels, whose prices include all the drinks as well as services at an extra ordinary model and you will not regret your decision of choosing. These lodges are also usefully located with attractive views of the volcanoes and their rooms have got an African hint. These rooms also cost between USD 500 TO 900 per person per night.
- The standard Luxury facilities.
These are between 3.5 to 4 stars lodges with good facilities than those of mid-range accommodations. Some of these have got internet services as well as minibars and the fantastic structures. Many of these facilities give continental cuisines and a swimming pool. The room prices range from $300 to 500 per person per night.
- The Mid-Range Facilities
These are also moderate facilities with 2-3 star services. These rooms are also self-contained and have got a dining room that is attached to them and are only used by the lodge residents. The price ranges from $100 to 290 per person per night.
- The Budget Accommodation
These are also modest styles with humble beddings. These budget accommodations also don’t have services like television, mini bars and sometimes don’t have hot water. This means that you will be required to order room service with hot water. Even though they are budget accommodations, they have got restaurants that gives nice meals to clients.
All the stages of accommodation are there in close vicinity to the heed quarters of the park. These also allow you to participate in many activities. Some of the activities include; golden monkey tracking, gorilla trekking, and the volcano hike. We have also given information about some of the accommodation facilities that we have to use. In case you want to book these facilities, contact us please.