A Trek with the Golden Monkeys in Rwanda
Time to switch from gorillas to smaller primates – Golden Monkeys! The routine was the same – 5 AM wakeup, 6 AM departure to get to the National Park. Snow was on top of one of the volcanoes this morning. This is the low season before everyone starts visiting during Christmas holidays and very few people were at Volcanoes National Park today – only 2 gorilla trekking groups and 2 monkey groups.
The park doesn’t set any limit to the number of people who can visit the moneys and our group consisted of 10 people. Fernando was the trekking guide we had for the gorilla trek the day before.
- 3 Iowans – they are everywhere! Mom and Dad and a daughter who’s with the Peace Corps in Rwanda.
- Mark and Susan
- Jane and Larry from Colorado (They were with us yesterday.)
- Ben and Belinda from Australia but they live in Geneva, working for NGO’s.
- Amy Porter – gorilla researcher in the Congo with Diane Fossey Organization
The starting point was in the middle of a small village. Only Mark and Susan hired porters (Jack and Theo) to start with – one each. Shortly after we started walking, the Iowa lady decided she wanted one after she found out the porters carried our backpacks with water as well as helped Susan walk up the really steep parts (only 1 spot) and across bridges or rock “steps” ( A few piles of rocks to maneuver.)
We walked through farm fields again and they were a bit drier than the wet ones yesterday! We saw a few chameleons and a rock hydrax along the way before we entered a bamboo forest and continued uphill. The walk was only about 20 minutes after we reached the bamboo forest before we saw Golden Monkeys! We followed them as they moved along through the forest – climbing, peeling and eating bamboo, moms with babies.
The Iowa people didn’t tuck their pants into their sox nor did they wear gaiters and they managed to get ants crawling up their legs and inside their pants! I was really glad I had long socks AND gaiters on!
No exciting stories for this trek. The monkeys are adorable, naturally, and move incredibly fast as they jump from tree to tree or scurry along the ground on the hunt for bamboo. The speed makes them tricky to photograph.