The golden monkeys is a monkey species found in the Virunga Mountains of Central Africa specifically four national parks of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega park in Eastern Congo. The Volcanoes national park is among the best places to see golden monkeys and other primates while on a Rwanda safari.
It goes by the scientific name ‘Cercopithecus kandti’. The golden monkey is also part of the old world monkey family and was originally considered subordinates of the blue monkey. Their population has over the years reduced due to loss of their limited habitat and civil wars in the region. Today golden monkeys are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Golden monkeys prefer homes with plenty of fruit and bamboo. They migrate from area to area depending on the season. Areas with a balance of fruit and bamboo are basically but not restricted to highland forests. The primates have a shade of golden orange or reddish their back and dorsal sides and other darker patches. The males have a deeper colour depth than their female counterparts. They live in social groups of up to 30 members. The monkey has a collection of signals they use to express themselves.
Golden monkey trekking takes place in the Volcanoes at the same time as gorilla trekking. The Volcanoes National park has two habituated groups of golden monkeys that can be visited and allows you an hour of their time once you find them. Habituation of these primates has enabled them get rid of their shyness as they are active and swing from tree to tree. The sights of golden monkey swinging are excellent though difficult to capture but when the shot is got right gives amazing shots.
These monkeys have a gestation period of 5 months and breed seasonally. The offspring is born with fur and all its eyes open. The female eats the after birth and licks the baby to clean it. Man is the main threat to golden monkeys due to the destruction of the eco-system and poaching.
In the Kinyarwanda language, they are referred to as “Ikima” and are worth seeing while in the Volcanoes National Park for wildlife or gorilla trekking to Rwanda. A golden monkey trek is unique alluring experience not to be missed.