Despite being much smaller and less famous than the Mountain Gorillas, Golden monkeys are still a delight to see. They are very active, so unlike the sedentary gorillas, you will witness them leaping between the high tree tops which adds to the excitement but may pose more of a challenge to photograph. We recommend packing a long camera lens.
Golden Monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) are considered to be a subspecies of the Blue Monkeys (aka Sykes Monkey) and are members of the OLD WORLD MONKEY order. The gold/orange patches of fur found on their flanks and backs differentiates them from other species. This species is consid- ered ‘endangered’, with its natural habitat restricted to the lower levers of the Virunga volcanoes, spread across the three countries Rwanda, D.R.C. and Uganda. Golden monkeys live within bamboo vegetation, their diet consisting of young bamboo branches, leaves, shoots, fruits and some insects. There are 2 HABITUATED GOLDEN MONKEY GROUPS in Volcanoes National Park named Kabatwa & Musonga. The largest group encompasses about 80 to 100 members and can be found at the base of Mt Sabyinyo. Expect the hike to be muddy and through vegetation including stinging nettles, but easier than trekking to the gorillas, due to the lower areas they inhabit.
The trek starts from the headquarters at 7:30am and the entire trek will last between 1 – 5 hours, including the time spent with the Golden Monkeys. As per the Mountain gorillas, guests can spend 1 hour at a time with the monkeys. When preparing fro the trek, please remember to pack lots of drinking water and snacks for energy. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to visit each Golden Monkey family each day, therefore only allowing for 16 total Golden monkey permits per day. Porters are available to hire to assist you with your trek, especially if you are carrying extra camera equipment and a backpack with snacks and water, to help you save energy to enjoy the time you spend with the monkeys,