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Golden Monkeys trek

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.)


These are a few of the porters who helped on the monkey trek.

monkey trek sign

Pointing the way to our monkey group – into the bamboo forest

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.

wise monkey

Just hanging out watching the people and monkeys

munching monkey

This one was eating some plant he found delicious. Their fingers are very agile and allow them to peel bamboo and get to the yummy part in the middle.

monkey mom and baby

The baby was nursing with Mom. It was hard to take pics with all the shadows of the trees .

monkey looking at me

What did I do?

Fernando our trekking guide

Fernando was our trekking guide for Gorilla Trek #2 and for the monkey trek. The guides rotate which treks they do so no one has to do all hard treks.

monkey family

You can see the baby monkey if you look in the grass carefully.

monkey balancing on limb

He’s carefully balancing on the limb – and is a bit fuzzy!

monkey and baby on limb

Mom and her baby walking on a thin bamboo limb.

flying monkey

We tried to get a picture of the monkey jumping from one tree to another. You can see what the bamboo forest looks like.