Golden monkeys are uniquely beautiful primates. Their gorgeousness is due to the combination of colors in their coat fur: gold, bright orange on their upper flunks and black. When swinging in bamboo trees, they never fail to catch the attention of photographers so they can be captured on camera.
They are an endangered species, with their numbers standing at less than 4,000 individuals. Golden monkeys are endemic to Virunga massif, a chain of volcanoes found across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is only in Uganda and Rwanda where troops of golden monkeys have been habituated to humans and therefore the only places tourists are able to track and see them up close.
They live in montane bamboo forests on the upper volcano slopes in the same habitat with mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda where we famously term the national park as “Where Gold Meets Silver”.
Golden monkeys are attracted by the bamboo shoots as their food and most of the time they stay in bamboo forests at a higher altitude of the volcanoes about 2,000 meters above sea level.
The large habituated troop of more than 100 individuals is found in Mgahinga gorilla national park. Volcanoes national park has 2 troops and is a fantastic place to observe golden monkeys too. Golden monkey tracking fee is $100 inclusive of the park entry fees both in Uganda and Rwanda, “GoExplore Safaris a Luxury Safari Company specializing in primate expeditions offers a combination of golden monkey trekking and mountain gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Rwanda.”
In Mgahinga this activity takes place in the morning and afternoon while in Volcanoes national park there’s one session in the morning. Golden monkey tracking starts at the respective park visitor center in Kinigi and Ntebeko in Mgahinga at 7:00 a.m. in the morning.
Your GoExplore Safaris driver guides while with you on your 10 Days Primates Safaris Expedition will give you all the information through and later take you to the briefing for the forest trail at the edge of the park just a few minutes from the visitor center. The Golden monkeys are easy to find, the Ranger guides follow the trails, looking out for the bamboo shoots eaten and just an hour of hiking, you get to see golden monkeys.
You can observe a troop of golden monkeys and be delighted to watch them for about an hour as they feed and swing in bamboo trees. Learn more about the behavior of the golden monkeys from your Uganda wildlife authority or Rwandan development board guide accompanying you.
These monkeys are camera shy but you could take lots of pictures. And the only advantage is that flash photography is permitted but prohibited while with the gorillas and chimpanzees.
Lissa and Jim one of GoExplore Safaris Luxury Clients Tells the Story of how they felt while on their Tailor Made 14 Days Safari across Uganda and Rwanda “Lissa – My Trip to Rwanda was just focusing on Gorilla trekking but what My safari planner never told me was, that me and my husband had more couple of days in Volcanoes national park while we went on a hike to track the golden monkeys in my life I had never thought there are such monkeys in the world till we found them in Rwanda and little did we know they were found in Uganda as well Jim and I had a great time tracking the Golden monkeys and Mountain gorillas.”
Therefore, once you are lucky on your golden monkey trek, you may find the monkeys feeding in the open potato fields at the edge of the forest in Volcanoes national park. There you will be very intrigued to capture their expressions and behaviors such as how they dig out potatoes for eating.
While on your Hike for golden monkey trekking
Treks to golden monkeys don’t require any basic level of fitness because they aren’t difficult and lengthy. Golden monkeys are also restricted to highland bamboo forests and the hike is straightforward despite the steep volcano terrain. In general, you will be hiking anywhere between 3.5 km for about an hour.
Something very important to our travelers that we take pride ourselves in, is that even though guest requests for a primate safari in Both Uganda and Rwanda, we know and have screened the best places to stay at in Volcanoes national park Rwanda and Mgahinga Uganda. Which range in quality from very simple mid-range which include Mount Gahinga lodge in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and our Safari Specialists have the personal touch while looking for you the best lodges/camps around Volcanoes National Park which include The Bishops House in Ruhengeri, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge and Bisate Lodge which is the most high-end lodge in this region
In the Volcanoes national park, most lodges are set inside the forest to offer you an eco-friendly experience of being close to nature. Others are found at the edge of the park or in the community but still nearby Kinigi, the visitor center. Staying at the lodges found in the communities is a great way to get an insight into the lives of the local people because most activities start early morning, we recommend our Safari Specialists will fully craft your safari while staying close to the visitor center to allow you get there on time. For the sake of convenience, we do not recommend staying in Kigali unless if you have less than 24 hours to see gorillas or golden monkeys. Bold tourists can stay in Kigali and prepare to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to drive to volcanoes national park.
In Mgahinga gorilla national park, tourists can find 2 lodges at Ntebeko the visitor center. Most of the accommodation is found in Kisoro town within a range of 10-14 km to the park. Travelers who want to stay on Lake Bunyonyi should expect to wake up early for the 30 minutes’ drive to the park.