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GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING IN RWANDA: When it comes to safaris to Rwanda, usually majority are left to think about mountain gorilla tracking but in reality, there is a lot more to enjoy. Adding golden monkey tracking on your Rwanda primate safari is ideally a good thing any primate enthusiast can do. The close encounter with golden monkeys in the wild might not be the same like it is while you are on gorilla trekking but it is fun watching these striking and playful creatures in the bamboo forest.

Golden monkey tracking is undoubtedly an amazing wildlife safari experience and it presents you a great opportunity to have an in-depth exploration about the unique characteristics of golden monkeys while they are in their natural habitat. Golden monkeys are also popular as the old-world monkeys and they are listed among the endangered species.

In Africa; they live only in the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southwestern Uganda and Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Golden monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) are a sub-species of the Blue monkey and they credited for their unique traits. On golden tracking tour, they can easily be spotted these strikingly beautiful creatures due to the yellow patches on their bodies. The only to distinguish golden monkeys from other apes is by looking at their noses. Unlike other apes, the nostrils of golden monkeys if keenly looked at, they face upwards.

Where to go for golden monkey tracking in Rwanda

Golden monkey tracking in Rwanda is carried out by tourists on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes National Park, one of the renowned mountain gorilla safari destinations in Africa. This park lies in Northwestern Rwanda about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city and forms part of the Virunga Conservation Area (VCA). It is set in Musanze, Rubavu, Nyabihu and Burera districts in the Northern Province of Rwanda.

Volcanoes National Park also hosts other varied wildlife species including the rare mountain gorillas and presently, 10 habituated gorilla groups exist for gorilla trekking. These include Susa A, Kwitonda, Sabyinyo group, Amahoro, Bwenge, Umubano, Hirwa, Ugenda, Agashya and Karisimbi (Susa B).

This park also hosts 5 of the 8 magnificent Virunga Massifs; Mount Gahinga, Bisoke Volcano, Mount Muhabura, Mount Sabyinyo and Karisimbi Volcano. Over 200 bird species also live harmoniously with other wildlife in this park making it also an exceptional birding tour destination presenting you opportunity to sight birds such as blue turaco, miombo wren warbler, Ross’s turaco, long tailed Cisticola and many others.

Treks to see golden monkeys in Rwanda are done in the 2 habituated golden monkey groups with the biggest group thriving in Sabyinyo volcanoes comprising of 80-100 individuals. It is also the most explored group by tourists on Rwanda tour in Volcanoes National Park. The other group is comprised of fewer members but it is equally amazing exploring it. The actual trek to view golden monkeys begins at 7:00am with briefing on safety measures which the park official shall communicate to you and later assigns you a park ranger guide to accompany you through the whole search for these rare apes.

Currently, fewer than 2500-3500 golden monkeys still exist on earth a section of which thrives in the Albertine area in the Virunga Volcanoes in Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga National Park and Virunga National Park.

Golden monkey tracking permits

Golden monkey tracking permits are a must-have for every trekker on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes National Park. It is possible for you to obtain your golden monkey permit easily through a recognized operator or directly with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) reservation team at US Dollars 100.

The rate for golden monkey permits applies to all visitors on golden monkey tour and it is safe if you reserved your permit early about 3 months prior the actual date of tracking golden monkeys.

Persons above 15 years are eligible to go track golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park and a maximum of 8 visitors are always allowed to engage in this rewarding primate adventure.

What to pack on golden monkey tracking in Rwanda

Pack wisely and lightly to have enjoyable golden monkey tracking experience in Rwanda and most importantly, start with a good camera, bottled drinking water, waterproof hiking boots, insect repellents, energy giving snacks, long sleeved shirts, rain jacket or poncho and others.

Best time to go for golden monkey tracking in Rwanda

Despite the fact that golden monkeys can be tracked at any time of the year, the dry season is considered to be the best time to go engage in a search for these beautiful apes in the wild. The dry season in Volcanoes National Park occurs in June, July, August, September and December, January, February. Traveling to trek golden monkeys during the wet or rainy season is possible but the challenge is that the park receives plenty of rainfall during this season leaving the forest trails and routes slippery.

Where to stay while on golden monkey tracking in Rwanda

Tourists on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes National Park need a comfortable accommodation to stay before or after tracking golden monkey. There are many accommodation options for you to consider ranging from budget to luxury. They include Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Gorilla Volcanoes Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, La Palme Hotel and others.

How to get to Volcanoes National Park for golden monkey tracking

Volcanoes National Park is set suitably in the Northern Province and it is shared by about 4 districts; Rubavu, Nyabihu, Musanze and Burera. This park is reachable from Kigali about 2 hours (130kms) and 76kms from Gisenyi which is 1 and half hours’ drive. From Musanze town, it is reachable about 13kms approximately 23minutes drive. From Kabale/Kisoro, it involves border crossing to reach Volcanoes National Park through Katuna and Cyanika border which takes you about 3-4 hours’ drive.

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