Golden Monkey Trekking is a famous activity in Rwanda coming second after gorilla trekking. Golden Monkeys belong to the “Old-World Monkeys” which are one of the world’s endangered species. In Rwanda golden monkeys can only be tracked in the Volcanoes National Park. Golden Monkeys are a unique subspecies of blue monkeys and live usually in groups that can go up to 100 members as they swing through the bamboo forests where they permanently inhabit.
Golden monkeys can be distinguished by their shiny yellowish-golden fur at their back which is where their name comes from. Since golden monkeys always live the foot of the volcanoes from where the forest starts, it’s easier to trek them compared to gorillas. One may not be able to get so close to the golden monkeys as they keep swinging through the bamboo, they are exciting and entertaining to watch.
How is Golden Monkey Trekking done?
Usually, golden monkey trekking starts early in the morning, briefing is done at the headquarters as the guide takes you through what you expect to experience and also lets you know of the rules of the activity. You’re then grouped and assigned to a guide who will help you track a particular group of golden monkeys.
The time you spend before you reach a group of golden monkeys depends on their location, however the experience cannot be as tiring as gorilla trekking. When you find the monkeys, you have at least one hour to be in close contact with them. Since these monkeys have been habituated, they’re getting used to being in the presence of humans and therefore can easily get really close or even just past you.
When to go for golden monkey trekking in Rwanda?
Golden monkey trekking can be done any time throughout the year. However, the activity is more conducive when conducted during drier months of December to February and June to September. The rainy months include April to May and November, however it’s usually slippery and hence making the activity a bit difficult and less interesting.
How much does golden monkey trekking cost?
Whenever you consider to go for golden monkey trekking, you should know that a golden monkey trekking permit is a requirement. The cost of golden monkey trekking is therefore decided by your budget since the trekking permits aren’t expensive. A golden monkey trekking permit is sold at US$100 for all international tourists.
At a small fee you could also get some porters to help carry your bags throughout the trekking. Other than the permits and porters, transportation and accommodation will also determine the cost of the activity.
RULES AND REGULATIONS.
Golden Monkey Trekking rules and regulations are shared during briefing held at the headquarters before the adventure begins. Among these include the following;
One is supposed to keep a reasonable distance. This is because it’s easy for humans to spread diseases to these primates.
When you’re taking pictures, you’re not allowed to use a camera flash as it may either drive them away or force them to attack you which may lead to fatal injuries.
In case you move with eatables or bottled water, you’re supposed to keep the litter within your bad as littering is not allowed within the park.
Silence is paramount when conducting golden monkey trekking. Loud voices usually drive away the monkeys as the forest should only be heard to produce sounds of nature.
You always have to keep in the direction of the group your moving with and also follow the directions of the tour guide.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK.
This is the most famous tourism activity conducted in Volcanoes National Park. The Park is the only place in Rwanda where mountain gorillas can be found and all over the world other than in Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Gorilla trekking takes place throughout the year and it’s up to you decide what time to visit.
A gorilla trekking permit is a requirement of anyone who wants to take part in gorilla trekking. Since the activity attracts very many tourists, it’s always advisable that you book your permit earlier.
The park has been a home to bird life throughout the year which makes it a perfect spot for bird watching. It is recorded to have over 200 bird species. However, since the volcanoes are known for having mist, it could be a bit challenging. This leaves a better option of conducting the activity during dry months of June to August and perhaps January to February when there is less rain.
Volcanoes National Park is home to the Virunga Volcanoes which include Mount Karisimbi, Mount. Bisoke, Mount. Muhabura, Mount. Gahinga and Mount Sabyinyo which makes the park a destination for hiking tours in Rwanda.
Hiking is therefore done on all the volcanoes apart from Mount Sabyinyo which is dangerous for hiking due to its sharp ridges. These volcanoes have different trails which make hiking easier. Time spent hiking depends on the volcano and level of fitness of the visitors.