The golden monkey is another primate species that are listed as endangered. Like mountain gorillas, golden monkeys can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The golden monkey is scientifically known as Cercopithecus mitis kandti. Golden monkeys are considered an endangered species as they only live in the Virungas and come to about 4000 animals in total.

Golden monkeys can be found in in the Virunga volcanic region that spans from Northern Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Southwestern Uganda.



Golden Monkey Facts. Habitat, diet & social habits

The statement ‘what you see is what you get’ probably originated from this. Or it was not a creative naming day. Golden monkeys are named after the way they look. Literally.

With golden-orange patch straight from their long tail to its back and cheeks and some darker patches on the legs, arms and face giving them a weird but captivating look from the other primate animals in the wild.

The females are much lighter than the males; I want to say for obvious reasons but that is just a fact that runs in most animal species.

2. DIET.


Golden monkeys are herbivores. They are anatomically and physiologically wired to feed on plant materials, they are known for eating about 20 to 30 types of plants and an occasional insect (invertebrates) found on leaves. Who doesn’t like a little snacking, right? However, they are most commonly known for feeding on bamboo leaves especially in the rainy season.

When wild fruits are in season, golden monkeys will eat lots of fruits but will divert back to the always available bamboo once the season is over.



Like most animals in the wild, golden monkeys have polygynous relationships. The male monkey in the group mates with all the females. Interesting fact; the females are the initiators of this mating ritual which is quite progressive.

The gestation period takes five months and the youngling (infant) is born with fur and eyes wide open. The mother takes care of the baby for about two years before it is given any freedom.

Freedom to go out into the wild, join new monkey groups, form their own packs. However, it is still classified as an endangered species as the only free wild is confined only in the Virungas.



Golden monkeys can live up to 19 years. The male monkeys range between 48 and 67 centimetres and females 46 to 53 centimetres, rendering them slightly smaller. The males can weigh approximately 4.5 to 7 kgs while the females go up to about 3.5 to 4.5 kgs. In case you were expecting large animals, they are not.


They are endemic animals. Being endemic means that they are confined to a specific area. They live in areas with lots of fruit and bamboo, trekking in between the rainy and sunny seasons.

During the rainy season, the bamboo is up, and about which is favourable for the golden monkeys to create homes, near a source of the abundant food supply. In the dry season with less bamboo, some of them move on to the rest of the mountains in search of fruits and other edible plants.



Golden monkeys are social animals that live in groups of 30 to 80 individuals. The male golden monkey is the head of the group and has the authority to mate with all the females in the group.

These groups vary in sizes according to the altitudes of their habitats. Most of the golden monkeys in higher altitude areas live in smaller groups compared to their counterparts in lower altitude.

Among golden monkeys, females are responsible for ensuring the safety of their territories and their offspring until they are old enough (and the for males to be out there on their own).

Golden monkeys love comfortability and sleep in groups of four in thick bamboo areas that provide enough shelter to sleep during the night.

Less known fact, in some instances, they create habitats for themselves by weaving bamboo together to create a home, much like humans. They will eat far enough to allow them to move back to the habitat every day. You could say they are domestic in that special way.


Golden monkeys are generally very playful (even by monkey standards) and they are a joy to look at. Most people who come to Uganda to track golden monkeys usually bundle it up with a wildlife and gorilla trekking safari.

For those who are fascinated with primates, the highlight of the trips is usually seeing chimps, gorillas, golden monkeys and the other primate species like baboons, colobuses and L’ Hoest monkeys.

If you are interested in tracking golden monkeys (and the other primates too) don’t hesitate to contact us about your specific needs. Our team will be eager to assist.

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