Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park offers a unique opportunity to observe one of Africa’s rarest primates in their natural habitat. These endangered monkeys are known for their distinctive reddish-gold fur and vigilant, deep-brown eyes. They are often confused with the snub-nosed golden monkeys of China, but they are actually quite distinct, with a golden-orange patch on their upper flanks and backs.
Golden monkey trekking is typically less strenuous than gorilla trekking and can make for a great introductory trek as you acclimatize to the high altitudes. However, like gorilla permits, you will need to obtain a golden monkey trekking permit before joining the daily excursion. These permits can be purchased in Rwanda, and are often included in gorilla trekking safaris.
Golden monkeys are social animals, living in groups of up to 100 individuals, with a dominant male leading the group. Their diet primarily consists of bamboo, which is why they can only be found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga mountains. While their daily lives are still somewhat mysterious, they are a fascinating species to observe. If you are planning a trek to see the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, consider adding an additional day to trek the golden monkeys as well.
Golden monkeys can only be found in the bamboo forests of the Virunga Mountains, including Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each of these national parks offers daily excursions to see these fascinating primates in their natural habitat. In this article, we will focus on golden monkey trekking in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
There are two habituated golden monkey troops in Volcanoes National Park that are available for trekking. To join these excursions, you will need to purchase a golden monkey trekking permit. Excursions typically start at 8:00 am and last for half of the day. At the briefing point in Kiningi, outside the park, you will join a small group of trekkers led by a guide and two armed park rangers.
After a safety briefing, you will drive to the start of the trekking trail and enter the rainforest jungle. Your local guide will be in radio communication with golden monkey trackers, who will lead you along the edge of the forest and into dense vegetation until you find the golden monkey troop. When you locate the monkeys, you will have exactly one hour to observe them. Initially, they may be up in the bamboo trees, but after a few minutes, they may come down to the forest floor, allowing you to see them at close quarters. Golden monkey trekking is a unique and exciting way to experience these rare primates in their natural habitat.
The cost of a golden monkey trekking permit in Rwanda varies depending on your nationality and residence status. For foreigners, the permit costs $100 for a single trek. Foreign residents in Rwanda pay $65, while East Africans and foreign residents pay $80. Rwandan citizens pay RWF 4000 for a permit.
Unlike gorilla permits, golden monkey permits are generally more readily available, even during high season. However, it is still recommended to book your permit in advance to ensure availability and to allow you to combine both gorilla and golden monkey treks during your trip. It is possible to arrange for the purchase of your permit in advance through a tour operator or travel agency.
To go on a trek to see Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park, you must be at least 12 years old. A group of up to 16 people is allowed to visit a single group of golden monkeys.
Your permit includes an expert guide who will lead you through the rainforest and stay with you during your time with the golden monkeys. Two armed rangers will also be present for security. The trek allows you to spend only 60 minutes with the golden monkeys.
Please note that the permit does not include porter fees, meals, snacks, drinking water, accommodation, or any other expenses outside of the trekking excursion.
Golden monkey permits can be obtained either at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) office in Kigali or online through the IREMBO official website. Alternatively, if you prefer to delegate the logistics to a professional, you can work with a tour operator such as Encounter Africa to handle the purchase, processing, and management of your Rwanda safari.
Obtaining a golden monkey trekking permit is relatively straightforward, as demand for these permits is not as high as it is for gorilla trekking permits. The process of booking a permit involves filling out required forms, uploading necessary supporting documents, and paying the applicable fees. This can be done either online or through a tour agent.
It is important to provide complete personal information (such as names, passport details, email, and phone number) when making a permit reservation, whether you are applying online or through an agent. Permit reservations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
It is often possible to obtain a last-minute golden monkey trekking permit, especially through tour operators, as only 16 people are allowed to visit a single group of golden monkeys and there is not a high demand for these permits. However, it is generally recommended to book your permit well in advance, particularly if you are planning to include a visit to see the golden monkeys as part of your gorilla trekking trip in Volcanoes National Park. By booking early, you can ensure that you have secured both permits for the dates of your trip. If you have any questions or would like to book a permit, you can contact our safari team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The permit must be used within two years of the purchase date, unless it is rescheduled at least 7 days in advance of the visit date. Full payment must be made at the time of booking, and a deposit is not accepted.
All visitors are required to check in at the visitor center before the start of their park experience to have their permit validated by park staff. This process must be completed by 7:00 am and involves presenting the original copy of the permit or the booking reference number obtained from the IREMBO or RDB Sales & Reservation office.
In some cases, it may be necessary to reschedule a golden monkey trekking permit, either due to changes in travel plans or unforeseen circumstances. Rescheduling is only possible with a 7-day advance notice and is limited to one rescheduling within 12 months of the original purchase or booking date. However, the availability of rescheduled dates is at the discretion of the RDB management.
To book a golden monkey safari in Rwanda, consider working with Trek Africa Tours. They can handle all of the logistics for your trip, including booking your golden monkey permit, arranging transportation and accommodation, and organizing any other activities you may wish to include.
Whether you are interested in seeing golden monkeys and trekking mountain gorillas on the same trip or just want to focus on the golden monkeys, Trek Africa Tours can help you plan a memorable experience in the beautiful and remote region of Rwanda. To get a free quotation and start planning your safari, you can contact their team at email@example.com.