Life is about the journey - some roads are not always what they seem but you sure learn a great deal from them!
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Published September 14th 2013
When you think of monkeys in Africa you would think of Middle to Northern Africa. And, they are not monkeys but more like big apes. Surprisingly enough, you can find some monkeys in South Africa. They are found along on the eastern coast of South Africa in the Natal Province.
The Velvet Monkey found around South Africa. This one taking advantage of a Coke left unattended!
The Velvet Monkey used to be found in abundance around bush and wild areas. They can even still be found on golf courses and resorts. I remember playing a Par 3 one day, only to be watched by a gallery of velvet monkeys that had surrounded the green. There was no applause when the ball landed on the green, but they certainly watched me play the next shot which was a long putt. The ball rolled well short of the hole, and the monkeys let a roar of monkey laughter. There is probably nothing worse than having a bunch of monkeys laugh at you on the golf course!
Of course the other ape relation you can find in abundance along the mountains of the Western Province is the baboon. They are notorious for intimidating tourists and stealing food and anything else they can get their hands on. Baboons are known to be very aggressive and it is very wise to stay well clear of them, if you can.
Squirrel Monkey coming to see who is who in the monkey zoo!
Apart from these two inhabitants found in South Africa, one can find one location where many more monkeys roam free. This place is called Monkeyland, and it is a home for rescued and abandoned monkeys that are not necessarily from South Africa itself.
Capuchin monkey who have a rap sheet of iPhones, cameras and sunglasses! Better keep this camera close!
Monkeyland, can be found just outside of Plettenberg Bay, and it is a haven for a selection of monkeys around the world. While entrance is free to view monkeys from forest deck only, I would recommend visitors to take hold of the opportunity to tour the venue with a guide. This way you can really see monkeys swing into action.
Monkeys are wild by nature and should be respected for that. These monkeys allowed us to watch them eat a variety of fruit, nuts and grain which were laid out for them throughout the compound. Monkeyland has a number of guides that take groups of visitors through the compound to teach about the monkeys, their "personalities", their habitat, and the country they are from.
The lemurs were probably the most interesting of all. We were lucky to see a 1 day old lemur hanging onto his Mum. Lemurs love to sit in meditation style to absorb as much sun as possible. And they have an affinity for soft juicy fruit, nuts and well matured pumpkins.
The entrance to Monkeyland has a double gate, where visitors are met by Monkeyland Guides. Of course, you are also greeted by the monkeys themselves who are curious to find out what goodies you may bring in with you. It is advised that handbags be secured over your shoulder and are zipped shut. Some of the inquisitive inhabitants have a criminal record of long fingers, and have made off with items such as iPhones and sunglasses - so don't be alarmed if you find some strange photos on one of your friend's Facebook profiles - you just don't know who is really taking those photos!
The swing bridge which is often accompanied by monkeys.
Monkeyland has a rustic cafe where you can replenish your energy, especially after a long guided tour. You may be accompanied by a curious monkey who has already worked out how to distract you and help themselves to something off your plate. That is, of course, if you choose to sit outside. For a more private lunch, you can choose to go inside the cafe. However, these crafty creatures have already worked out how to sneak in when no one is looking. It is fun to watch staff members bribe the intruders outside with their favourite food.
"I really hope she lets people know about us. We could do with some juicy food!"
The curio shop is filled with a range of items which is a must for those wanting to take a little something home. We could not resist to purchase two little monkey toys that joined us on every adventure after that.
Curious monkeys come to see who is visiting them today!
You don't need to make a booking to visit Monkeyland. However I do suggest that you block out a whole day for this event. Of course, don't forget to take your camera, because you are sure to capture some amazing shots of these very playful primates.