Mountain Gorillas and Golden Monkeys in Rwanda Safari
This safari will take you for the experience of a lifetime tracking the Mountain Gorillas through lush jungles of the Virunga Mountains in Volcanoes National Park, north of Rwanda. A great add-on to the Gorilla tour is tracking the striking Golden Monkeys that inhabit the bamboo along the lower slopes of the Mountains towards the base of the volcanoes and have overcome their initial shyness to accept their daily visit by researchers and tourists. Rwanda is one of the gorilla safari destinations in Africa alongside Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Besides Gorilla and Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda offers chimpanzee trekking and other Primates found in Nyungwe Forest National Park and Wildlife game drives in Akagera National Park, hiking Mount Karisimbi and Bisoke, cultural tours and Kigali city tours.
The story of the mountain gorillas is one of heart-rending experience. In the 1960s there were said to be 5,000 mountain gorillas in Central Africa, but by the 1990s there were no more than 650 left, thus rendering the ape one of the most endangered species on earth. The gorilla was for a long time one of the world’s most misrepresented animals.
Trekking mountain gorillas is the most sought after wildlife tour in Rwanda. The endangered Mountain Gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park where visitors have an opportunity to trek through the misty jungles of the Virunga Mountains to find and spend an hour with a habituated group of these delightful giants, and get within seven meters of a Mountain Gorilla.
Adding on to the mountain gorillas is the golden monkey trekking experience. Golden Monkeys inhabit the lower zones of the Virunga Mountains. Their favorite habitat is the bamboo vegetation which is located at the edge of the park. The Golden Monkey experience involves a much lighter trek compared to the Gorilla trek to find a large troop of these strikingly beautiful primates. With their bright golden orange fur contrasting the green forests of the Virungas, great photos and memories are to be had visiting them.
The American naturalist Diana Fossey (Author of Gorillas in the Mist) revealed that gorillas are shy and gentle creatures, intelligent, sociable and given to aggression only as a means of defense. Diane Fossey a great debt for bringing the gorillas to public attention and inspiring the governments to introduce laws for their protection; She also contributed largely to set out the basic rules for gorilla viewing. Today the International Gorilla Conservation Programme covers all three countries, and it is most certainly a great privilege to be able to visit these mountain gorillas
The gorilla trekking experience
A typical Rwanda gorilla trekking starts with assigning the visitors to the respective habituated gorilla groups. In Bwindi the groups are assigned when buying the gorilla permit while in Rwanda the Park Authorities will assign them on site the day of the trekking. After this formality the Rangers will give you a briefing of the way they will conduct this fantastic guided nature walk to the gorillas. They will give you extensive information on the environment, the gorilla family you will visit and the way you should behave with them. The so named “gorilla rules” will be clearly set out because it’s a corner stone in the conservation of the gorillas. You of course go with packed food, since trekking may take 2 to 7 hours depending on the accessibility of the gorillas due to their engagements in their natural environment. Then retreat to you hotel for late lunch, relax in the evening or take a nature walk to Ruhengeri town, market and interact with local people.
The Golden monkey trekking experience
Here guests will set off from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters for your trek to see the golden monkeys. This rare species is listed as endangered and there are currently two troops of the monkeys which have been habituated to visits by tourists in the park, both of which number around 80 members. You will trek to find the golden monkeys in a similar way to the gorilla trek in a small group of not more than eight people, and you can spend one hour with the monkeys once you find them. They are very sprightly creatures, and swing from tree to tree which is really entertaining, if a little difficult to photograph! We recommend setting your camera to a fast shutter-speed to allow for low light in the dense undergrowth and to better your chances of capturing the golden monkeys on film.http://www.africanjourneys.co.uk/mountain-gorillas-and-golden-monkeys-in-rwanda-safari/News