Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park
Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park are some of the top Rwanda tourist Primates attractions which have been habituated for trekking. When one talks about Volcanoes National Park, what strikes their mind is the existence of the endangered mountain gorillas. But deep in the bamboo forests lives other endangered primates known as the golden monkeys. The golden monkey trek is a rare and delightful experience that should not be missed when you make your way to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
The golden monkeys, also known as the “the old world monkeys” live in the Albertine region found in the Virunga Conservation Area which was established to protect such primates. These golden monkeys can be found in the bamboo vegetation towards the floor of the volcanoes. The golden monkeys have unique characters that have made them some of the fascinating primates to look out for once you visit Volcanoes National Park. For example; the golden monkeys are very active creatures that live up in the trees and jump from one tree to another making it magical to watch and quite challenging to take photographs.
Characteristics of the golden monkeys
Between 2500 and 3500 golden monkeys live in the Virunga Massif, a place they have made home up to date. They have become some of the endangered primates because of the destruction of their homes through deforestation and settlements while others are being killed.
The feeding areas of the golden monkeys are found next to their resting places. The golden monkeys are herbivores and this means they heavily depend on the vegetation through eating plants, leaves shoots and their favorite is the bamboo leaves. In hard conditions they are forced to eat insects, the larva stages of insects found on the trees.
The golden monkeys live in groups and this means they are social animals. They have a male adult leader that looks after the group. The male monkey usually shows his dominancy and can mate with the females in other groups. The females have to guard their territories.
Golden monkey trek in Volcanoes National Park
The golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park are habituated and making it easy to find. There are only two groups of habituated golden monkeys in Rwanda and the largest group is found in the Sabinyo with members closing to 100 of golden Monkeys. The other group is found at the base of other volcanoes and it is smaller in number compared to the other group.
Additionally, golden monkey trekking usually takes place once a day or one session a day and it starts from 7 am much like the gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Those who are into golden monkey trekking are advised to mind about time since they always carry out briefing before they encounter the trekking exercise. Reaching the golden monkeys mainly takes about fifteen minutes which is not the case with the mountain gorillas.
Golden monkey permits and cost
Much like the mountain gorilla trek, you also need a golden monkey permit to carry out this activity. The golden monkey permit goes for $ 100 per person and the whole experience favors everyone regardless of their age and the number of visitors to Volcanoes National Park.
Trekking the golden monkeys is not tiresome because just after fifteen minutes of trekking the visitors immediately start viewing these endangered primates and you can easily start getting your photographic shots as the monkeys swing from tree to tree. Most importantly on this trek, you get to learn the characteristics of the golden monkeys as you are being explained to by the professional guide you are given during the entire trekking exercise. Only one hour is allowed to you to be close with the golden monkeys in the wild.
What to you should know during the golden monkey trek?
To have the best magical experience with the golden monkey trek, you need to know a few things that will benefit all parties during your trek. Such include the following;
- You will need to carry a rain jacket because you will not be sure of the weather of the forest. Africa has unpredictable weather making it a challenge to know the perfect weather conditions
- Taking photographs is allowed only to those with cameras that don’t have flashes since this will scare away the golden monkeys during your trek with them.
- You need to be equipped with some of the best gear such as hiking shoes, garden gloves, and long sleeved shirts plus trousers to protect your skin from forest irritations.
- Carry some snacks because in the forest you will not find stopovers to get meals or food hubs with in the forest. Therefore it is advised to carry your own food and feeding the monkeys is prohibited.
How to get to Volcanoes National Park
Travelers mainly use Kigali International Airport and on arrival they get taxis or private cars that transport them to their respective resting areas as they prepare to head to Volcanoes National Park. Getting from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park can take around 2 hrs without meeting traffic and the distance is about 109km.
A great number of accommodation facilities are located near Volcanoes National and ranging from luxury, mid-range, and budget. The visitors can choose according to what they prefer during their stay in Rwanda. Some of the great facilities are as the following;
Mountain Gorillas’ Nest Lodge: This luxury lodge is located in the Musanze district nestled in a forest of eucalyptus trees. This lodge features well-sized accommodation at the Jack Hannah’s cottage with a spectacular view of the slopes of the volcanoes in the Volcanoes National Park. The place has great professional staff and client services are excellent.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: The luxury lodge is also located in the Musanze district near to the Volcanoes National Park’s headquarters. The lodge has over 8 cottages all having a pleasant view of the volcanoes rolling hills. The lodge features a sheltered balcony for relaxation and having breakfast. There is also a bar and a restaurant in the lodge.
Garden Place Hotel: It is located in Ruhengeri offering stylish accommodation to both holidays and business travelers. Visitors can easily access the hotel because it is about 30 minutes drive from the airport. The hotel features 28 rooms with modern bathrooms having plenty of water and pressure. There is also a restaurant that serves all kinds of meals as well as the quality is legit.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: Mountain Gorilla View Lodge neighbors the Volcanoes National Park and it is located in the northern part of Rwanda. The Lodge offers thirty cottages which are made of stones and thatch. The main lodge has a restaurant serving complimentary meals as well as a bar.
Other great lodges that can be tried by the visitors include; 5 Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Gorilla Solution Lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel, Bambou Gorilla Village, and Kinigi Guest House.
In general, if you make your way to Rwanda for your safari. You need to stay a bit longer to enjoy another exciting adventure of visiting the golden monkeys that have made Volcanoes National Park one of the most flocked parks in Rwanda over the years. A golden monkey trek will give you that last satisfaction of an African safari in Rwanda.