The tiny central African country of Rwanda is the fourth smallest country on the continent. Despite being home to more than 12 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world, Rwanda is one of the cleanest, thanks to its zero-litter policy and ban on plastic bags. The neat, patchwork landscape of small, cultivated farms, together with beautiful forest-clad mountains, rolling hills, plateaus and grasslands belie the tragic recent past of this friendly, landlocked country. Miraculously, this resilient country and its people have recovered remarkably – it offers much to tourists and is an absolute delight to visit.
Although the chance to get ‘up close and personal’ with Mountain Gorillas can provide visitors to Rwanda with absolutely unforgettable experiences, another standout primate species to be found in the forests of Rwanda’s western national parks is the rare and elusive Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), featured as our Image of the Month for July 2018. Social groups of this species – sometimes numbering as many as 60 individuals – inhabit montane forests of the Virunga Mountains, including the areas of dense bamboo in Volcanoes National Park in north-western Rwanda. Also, a very small sub-population occurs in Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south-west of the country. Despite the protected status of these two national parks, a small amount of habitat loss and degradation continues. Our featured species thus has a small, somewhat fragmented distribution in Rwanda, living at altitudes between 2,500m and 3,550m above sea level, mostly in bamboo and bamboo forest mix. And overall, the Golden Monkey population is considered to be decreasing and severely fragmented, which is why it is regarded as Endangered by the IUCN.
The Golden Monkey’s diet comprises primarily young bamboo leaves and shoots, various fruits, flowers and invertebrates, especially moth and butterfly larvae gleaned from leaves. Being an opportunistic feeder, however, diet can easily be influenced by the seasonal availability of fruit.
Close social living demands effective communication that is not only clear and individually specific, but that does not result in overt aggression and possible injury as well. As a result, much of the close distance signals in these groups are given using a variety of facial expressions. Close proximity to these delightful primates can allow visitors to observe and record these intimate interactions. They are very playful and inquisitive, and tracking down a habituated group presents exceptional opportunities for observation and photography.
Join us on an upcoming tour to Rwanda and be enthralled by not only Golden Monkeys and Mountain Gorillas, but by a myriad of unforgettable experiences!
Upcoming tours to Rwanda:
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Safari II 2018
11 – 15 November 2018 (5 Days)
Tour Price: US$2,500 *€2,200 *£1,950 *ZAR33,980
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Safari I 2019
19 – 23 May 2019 (5 Days)
Tour Price: TBA
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Safari II 2019
11 – 15 November 2019 (5 Days)
Tour Price: TBA
*Alternate currencies are for comparative purposes only