Leaving Laki Kivu we drove about 80 kilometers further East to Ruhengeri. We camped at Red Rocks, a community campsite a bit further down the road. It’s a bit of a quirky place with these human size puppets around the campsite but hey there is a flat surface to park the car and they did have hot showers. The things that make you happy after travelling for so long :)…
Volcanoes National Park
The next day we were about to track Golden Monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. The park is known for the Mountain Gorilla research that Dian Fossey did. While the gorillas are the main stars of the park there are several other hikes you can make to volcanoes, the grave of Dian Fossey and towards the Golden Monkeys. It was easy enough to book the Golden Monkey experience online one day in advance. We had to be at the briefing point at seven o’clock. When we arrived we thought we were the only ones doing a Golden Monkey tracking. Since Rwanda raised their rates for Gorilla tracking to 1500USD per person we were amazed by the number of (mainly American) people who were there that morning.
We’re not the only ones
At around eight o’clock the actual briefing started. It turned out we were not the only ones in search of these cute little monkeys. Apparently it’s quite normal that you do several day trips in the park. Lots of people were doing three or four different trips before they flew back to the States.
Golden Monkeys here we come
Since we were the only self drivers an intern joined us to show us the way to the beginning of the hike. We parked the car in a village and walked through the crops of local villagers before reaching the park. The park is ‘fenced’ with huge rocks to keep the buffaloes in. Volcanoes National Park isn’t just a rainforest since there is quite a big bamboo forest where the Golden Monkeys live a bit lower on the mountains.
After walking through the bamboo forest for about half an hour we saw the first Golden Monkeys. This is one of the few remaining places where this endangered species still live in the wild. It was a big group which was scattered all around the forest. This way we were able to watch them from up close. This fast moving little fellows were jumping from one tree to another eating both bamboo and little berries. After about an hour of observing and photographing them we headed back to the car.
Rwanda’s got talent
We could use a nice lunch after the hike and we were happy when we found out there was a perfect pizza/bakery in the town of Musanze. Back at the campsite we were ‘treated’ with a proper talent show where the local community showed their skills. Since there were just three people (including us) in the audience we got all the attention ;-).