Golden Monkey trekking in Rwanda
Golden Monkey trekking in Rwanda : Golden monkeys are not a common sighting in the primate world however Rwanda is blessed to be one of the countries where you can visit the golden monkeys. These golden monkeys are however a common sighting in the Virunga mountain area which means you can see the golden monkeys in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Uganda, golden monkeys are trekked in the Mgahinga gorilla national park while in the DR Congo, you can take on a golden monkey trekking experience on your visit to the Virunga national park.
The golden monkeys are a monkey species identified by the yellow patches spread out all over their body and they are also commonly known as the Old World monkey. The majority of the other monkey species have the same nostrils pointing to the side but a close look at the golden monkey will show you their nostrils pointing upwards giving another unique identifier.
The physical appearance of the golden monkeys is the highlight of this species as they have sharp colors of yellow and gold on the body with dark legs. The cheeks, torso and the back of the golden monkey have a golden yellow color also around the eyes.
The golden monkey is an Albertine endemic species meaning they live and are originally found in the Albertine region. This Albertine region is majorly made up of valleys, mountains, water bodies and a number of forests where these golden monkeys stay. Being an endemic species, golden monkeys can only be visited in the 3 countries however the golden monkey trekking in the Democratic republic of Congo is not as popular as in the other two destinations.
Like every other living thing on earth, communication is important so do golden monkeys. Golden monkeys use hand sign language and make sounds along with facial expressions to pass on messages familiar to all the other primates. To attract attention for an urgent matter, the golden monkey will wave its hands to make it known however the younger ones will tend to use vocal signals more.
The usual call communications from the younger ones is to show respect to the older monkeys, the females tend to communicate to bring the monkeys together while the male monkeys use their call communication to show their strength and territorial rule.
Golden monkeys make homes at the end of the day and they sleep in the nests just like the mountain gorillas. These nets are made out of the readily available material in the forest that is the bamboo plants which they weave to form these nest beds for their night rest. The golden monkeys are commonly spotted in the trees and can be expected to spend their nights in the trees which may not be the case.
There are about 2,500 to 3,000 golden monkeys anticipated to be remaining in the world and the number are decreasing majorly because of human interference, poaching them and cutting down trees for domestic or commercial use destroying the homes of the golden monkeys and are becoming extinct even in this region.
There are two golden monkey groups in the Volcanoes national park where the biggest group has about 90 monkeys and is the most offered family for visits. This family is located in the Sabinyo area while the second group is located on the other side of the park and is smaller in number. This can be a whole engaging trek so be sure to spend a long time in the forest. A golden monkey trekking permit in the Volcanoes national park goes for 100 USD per person.
The golden monkeys are herbivore which is favored by their habitat being rich in plant life for them to eat. The golden monkeys feed on plants in the plant leaves, barks, roots, fruits and some larvae found on the trees. They majorly feed on the bamboo and the various forest fruits.
The Golden monkey live in families of about 30 individuals up to 80 golden monkeys and the family is led by a dominant male monkey and these are diurnal animals so you will see them playing and active during day. You will see these golden monkeys jumping from one tree branch to another once you reach the family of the day and grabbing a photo maybe tricky as compared to the mountain gorillas.
The estimated life span of golden monkeys is twenty years in the wild and more in captivity. The older male is the leader of a family and can mate with females from other families but the females tend to stay within their territory. Females are usually the ones who initiate the mating as the dominant male is usually one and can mate with all the females in the group.
The female golden monkeys give birth almost every two years with a gestation period of only five months. They produce one infant just like other primates with few cases of twins.
Top up your mountain gorilla visit in the Volcanoes national park with a trek to the golden monkeys and get to enjoy the two primates of the park. Volcanoes national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park are the only parks that offer the “where gold meets silver” experience.