How and Where To Buy Golden Monkey Permits in Rwanda
Usually included on gorilla trekking safaris, golden monkey trekking in Rwanda is an opportunity for watching one of Africa’s rarest primates in its natural setting. A golden monkey trekking permit is the ticket that gives tourists the chance to spend some time observing the endangered little monkeys.
If you’re planning a trek mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, add another day in the park to trek the golden monkeys; they’re quite something to watch. Their faces are hairy, round cheeks with a reddish-gold-back contrast of fur and vigilant owl-like, deep-brown eyes.
They’re usually confused with the snob-nosed golden monkeys of China, but they’re pretty distinct. You could consider the golden monkey a close relative to the blue monkey. Given the two are quite similar overall, the golden monkey has a golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.
The daily lives of these monkeys are still shrouded in a fair bit of mystery. They live in large, social groups of up to 60 or even 100 individuals dominated by a male. Because their diet primarily consists of bamboo, they live and forage only in the bamboo forests of the Virunga mountains.
Golden monkey trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is less strenuous than gorilla trekking. It makes an excellent introductory trek as you acclimatize to the high altitudes on the first day. However, just like gorilla permits, you have to obtain a golden monkey trekking permit before joining the daily excursion. Here are great tips on how to buy a permit in Rwanda.
Where to trek golden monkeys in Rwanda
You can see golden monkeys only in the bamboo forest zones of the Virunga Mountains, i.e., Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and Virunga National Park in DRC. Each national park has a couple of habituated golden monkey troops and offers daily excursions. But our focus is on Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda’s primate destination.
Two golden monkey troops of about 80-100 individuals are habituated in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and are available for trekking.
The golden monkey trekking permit allows you to join the daily excursions that start at 08:00 am and take almost half of the day. At the briefing point in Kiningi, outside the park, you’ll join a small group of trekkers led by the trekking guide and two armed park rangers.
After a safety briefing, you’ll drive to the start of the trekking trail into the rainforest jungle. Your local guide will be in radio communication with golden monkeys trackers. It will lead you along the edge of the forest and into dense vegetation till you find the golden monkeys.
When you find the golden monkey troop, you’ll be allowed precisely one hour to observe the playful monkeys. Initially, they may be up bamboo trees and jumping all over the place, but after a few minutes, they’ll come down to the forest floor, where you can enjoy them at close quarters.
How much is the permit
Rwanda’s golden monkey trekking permit costs $100 per foreigner for a single trek. A foreign resident in Rwanda pays $65, East Africans and Foreign residents $80, and Rwandan citizens pay RWF 4000.
Golden monkey permits are not as scarce as gorilla permits. Even in high season, plenty of golden monkey trekking permits are available. However, we recommend booking yours before your Rwanda trip to combine both the adventures in a single travel. We make all necessary arrangements, including buying your permits before your trekking safari.
What is included in the permit?
The minimum age for Golden Monkeys trekking permit is 15 years. A maximum of sixteen (16) people can trek a single golden monkey group in Volcanoes National Park.
The permit includes an expert guide who directs the whole journey into the rainforest and during your time with the golden monkeys. Two armed rangers will come along for security purposes, and you’ll be allowed only sixty minutes with the golden monkeys.
The permit does not include porter fees, meals, snacks, drinking water, accommodation, or for that matter, anything outside the trekking excursion period.
Where to buy golden monkey permits
You can buy golden monkey permits directly from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) office in Kigali or online at the IREMBO official website.
If you want to avoid the local logistics, work with a tour operator to buy the permits. Encounter Africa can buy, process, and manage your Rwanda safari with expertise.
How to buy golden monkey permits
Booking a golden monkey trekking permit is based on availability, though it’s not in high demand as the gorilla permit. The online application process involves filling out mandatory forms, uploading requisite support documents, and paying the applicable fees.
All applications, whether online or with an agent, require full details of the guest (i.e., names, passport, email, and phone number) at the time of payment.
Permit bookings and reservations are processed on a first-come-first-served basis, either online or with a tour company.
Last-minute golden monkey permits
With 16 people allowed to trek a single troop and few people interested in the adventure, last-minute golden monkey trekking permits are often available, especially with tour operators.
However, we generally advise our travelers to book weeks in advance, especially if they intend to include golden monkeys on their gorilla trekking trip in Volcanoes National Park. Booking early means that you’re assured of getting both permits for the dates you plan on traveling.
Contact our safari team at email@example.com to get the latest information and booking for your trekking permit.
Permit terms and conditions
The permit must be used within two years of the purchase date unless rescheduled in advance with a minimum of 7 days before the visit date.
You must book the permit in advance with full payment; a booking deposit for the golden monkey permit is not accepted.
Before the park visitor experience, every visitor is expected to check-in at the visitor center for permit validation by park staff before the time of departure, i.e., 07:00 am. The validation process involves the visitor presenting their original copy of the golden monkey permit or booking reference number obtained from the IREMBO or RDB Sales & Reservation office.
The RDB recognizes that there will be times when it is necessary to reschedule the golden monkey trekking permits purchased, either due to planned changes to itineraries or due to unforeseen circumstances.
Rescheduling is only applicable with a seven (7) days advance notice, acceptable once and within 15 months of the date of purchase or booking. However, it is subject to availability.
The decision to grant renewal is solely left to the discretion of the RDB management.
How to book a golden monkey safari in Rwanda
Book your golden monkey safari in Rwanda with Encounter Africa Safaris Ltd; we’ll take care of every nitty-gritty for your experience, including local logistics such as booking your golden monkey permit, accommodation, transports, and any other activity.
Whether you want to see golden monkeys and trek mountain gorillas on the same trip, we can plan with you to create a memorable experience in remote Rwanda.
Contact our safari team to get you a free quotation and help you start planning at firstname.lastname@example.org.