In doubt whether an animal is capable of robbery or stealing food from your plate, think again, because once you encounter a monkey your level of alertness increases at an alarming rate! We spent time with them during our stay in Africa and it was amazing.
Their sudden appearance always triggers off a certain felling of happiness and excitement, likely because the reason lies in their compelling charm. Quite often a group of them appear in the middle of the road and in a split second they rush into the nearest vert and start doing their escapades.
Near Johannesburg, there is an amazing private sanctuary named Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort, North West Province, where you can see a kingdom of monkeys. It is located on a space of seven hectares and it can be described as a delightful oasis for our little friends, especially ones who deserve more love and attention in their life. This sanctuary keeps monkeys who have been tortured mostly by previous owners, because they were kept as pet animals so their return to the wilderness would be a problem of adaptation. In Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary, they are given a warm shelter, a second chance to return to their natural habitat and enjoy life with other monkey friends. There are all kinds of monkeys you can see there: lemurs all the way from Madagascar, vervet monkeys, samango monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, bushbabies (Galago Moholi) and so on.
As I’ve said, these pesky little creatures are able to rob you blind no matter if you’re holding a hairclip or a slice of pizza. We had a winsome experience with one of them when he tried to grab my husband’s water from his backpack. After failing, he decided to wonder his way under his T-shirt and if it hadn’t been for the tour guide, we probably would have never gotten him out. Quite charming, isn’t it?
Apart from this monkey business, you can also enjoy a pleasant walk through the woods, while monkeys jump over your head, massage you, stand on your shoulders or even sit on your lap. Another interesting thing is the Bridge of Courage. We like to call it the wobbling bridge because it was made above a chasm and while you’re walking across it, it looks like you’re dancing the twist.
Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort, North West Province is one of only eight free-release primate sanctuaries globally. Their primates are received on the basis of public donations, and supported by funding generated by guided tours and sales of their curios. For extra information, please have a look at his web site BUSHBABIES MONKEY SANCTUARY .
In Bambelela-Wildlife Care and Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation center twenty kilometers from the city Bela Bela in the province Limpopo we met monkeys as well. During our visit, we made a teriffic connection with vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus). It is said they love to steal sweet, alcoholic coctails from careless visitors on the tropical beaches of the Careebian. In this center we had one more memorable experience that totally melt our hearts. We were given a chance to feed a baby monkey with a little bottle and what can I say, that amount of cuteness was out of this world!
The vervet monkey is currently listed as a vulnerable species on Appendix Two of CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species). The farming community is responsible for the majority of the orphaned vervet monkey babies (most often the mothers are shot by farmers). You can get involved by becoming a ‘Guarding Angel’ and make a difference in saving these endangered primates. For more information click here BAMBELELA .
Pilanesberg National Park is a huge Game Reserve where you can observe “The Big 5” – five biggest animals you can hunt in Africa: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffalo among others like impala, hyenas, baboons and etc. We had our first safari there and encountered a situation where one monkey, in the middle of a restaurant publicly stole a slice of pizza from our plate. We were shocked at first but later realized how hilarious the situation really was.
When visiting Cape Town, which is in our opinion one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we were surprised by the roadside signs that said: BABOONS ARE DANGEROUS AND ATTRACTED BY FOOD. As a matter of fact, on the way to the Cape of Good Hope we found them in a pack and couldn’t resist stopping in spite of the signs. In that moment it was pretty obvious we were unwanted so we panicky hurried to our vehicle, quickly drove away and let them continue devouring their fruit.
While in Cape Town, we also visited the World of Birds-one of the biggest bird parks in Africa and to our surprise, among all those birds we saw little yellow monkeys- squirrel monkeys. They were extremely friendly and our little playtime looked something like this…
One of our favorite places to go for the weekend is the Forever Resort at lake Loskop, 48 kilometers north of Middelburg. It is a truly wonderful resort with outdoor pools and a tone of place where kids can play. Around 5 pm you can see our little furry friends searching for food beside the pools. Then, they eagerly run to your towel, open your bag and help themselves to whatever edible things you got in there. If you’re lucky to catch them in the act, they rapidly run away to the nearest tree and exult their victory of befooling you.
At the end of the day, you can’t stay mad at them, no matter how curious and loud and troublemaking they are, those silly creatures put a smile on your face every time you see them. That said, I’m sure that the owners of the orchards think the same when they see them gorging on their delicious fruit; NOT!