Planning an adventure that combines both mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Rwanda is one of the best experiences to encounter during your travel to the black land. Rwanda is among the leading destinations in East Africa and Africa at large for primate safaris. It protects over 10 primate species in different destinations including mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Volcanoes national park, chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park and others.
Where to go for a safari
A Rwanda safari that combines both gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking is done in Volcanoes national park which is located in the northwestern Rwanda. With a total area of 160 square kilometers of rain forests, the park boasts over 10 mountain gorilla groups and each group is visited by a maximum of 8 tourists per day during gorilla trekking experience. Aside the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, the park also encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in Virunga mountains – Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo.
Gorilla trekking experience
Gorilla trekking involves hiking through the park rain forests in search of the magical mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The experience starts with a briefing from the park authorities and Rangers at around 7:30am. During the briefing, participants are divided into groups and assigned to a particular gorilla group. At around 8:00am, the park Rangers lead the group to search for the gorillas and once found, you will be allowed to spend a full hour in their presence as you enjoy their lifestyles like playing with each other, feeding, and others. After, you will walk back to the starting point to pick your trekking certificates and then drive back to the lodge.
Note: For one to take part in the gorilla trekking experience, he or she need to possess a trekking permit from RDB at USD 1500 per non foreign resident per day.
Golden monkey tracking
Also done in Volcanoes national park, golden monkey tracking is another exciting adventure that offers an amazing encounter with the rare and beautiful monkey species known as Golden monkeys. These species are known for their golden fur coat and their lovely character that is good to watch and offer amazing photography. Golden monkey tracking experience is most times an add on to the Rwanda gorilla tour in Volcanoes national park. There are two habituated troops of golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park and the larger troop in Sabyinyo volcano with 80 – 100 members is the most visited.
Golden monkey tracking only takes place in the morning and it starts from the park headquarters –Kinigi where visitors are briefed by the park rangers and then proceed to the starting point which is just 15 minutes away from the park. Upon the arrival, you will trail through the bamboo forest in search of the cute species that you will allocate in less than an hour. Once found, trackers spend a maximum of one hour watching closely these incredibly beautiful monkeys as they are making huge jumps from one bamboo tree to another which is enabled by their extra long tails that provide great balance. You will be allowed to use flash during photography which is not allowed during any other primate tracking safari.
Note: For one to take part in golden monkey tracking experience, he or she should possess a tracking permit at USD 100 per day for international tourists.
Best time to go for the combined gorilla trekking and golden monkey trekking safari
Since both activities take place in Volcanoes national park, we shall use the best time to visit this destination.
Volcanoes can be visited all year round but the best time is dry season which is in the months of June to mid-September and then from December to February. Volcanoes National Park is much easier during dry season and game viewing is clear as most of the animals are near water sources drinking water because it’s a dry season meaning you have chances of seeing these animals converged in one place.
What to pack for a golden monkey and mountain gorilla trekking safari
For the best combined safari, there are specific equipment one must pack during the preparations of the safari and among these include;
One is not allowed to take part in golden monkey trekking and gorilla trekking safari since it is the key requirement to the encounters. You will be asked to show your permits at the park headquarters during the briefing and registration process.
It is very important to include hiking boots on your packing list during while going for a gorilla and golden monkey trekking safari. You will have to pass through different trails and at times especially the wet season, the trails are muddy and slippery.
These will help you hold trees, branches and others as they protect your hands from getting scratches and other injuries. This makes them a must item among the packing list for the golden monkey and gorilla trekking safari.
Other items: Other items to pack for the experiences include the tips for the rangers, binoculars, digital cameras, walking sticks, some snacks and drinking water, sun glasses, rain jacket and sweater, and others.