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Cheeky, mischievous and quite possibly the most characterful creatures in the animal kingdom, monkeys certainly know how to capture our hearts. And with 11 of the world’s 260 different species finding sanctuary in Monkeyland, this is an indigenous forest that will have you enchanted in no time.
Opening its leafy doors in 1998, Monkeyland now provides a safe, natural habitat for over 700 primates. In fact, it was the world’s very first free-roaming primate sanctuary. Fed up of the human monkey business that has led to so many primates’ native environments being destroyed around the world, Monkeyland is a self-proclaimed haven for monkeys in need of protection. Here, conservation and education forefront their mission, whilst responsible tourism is simply a way of supporting their main goal.
Unlike in a zoo, this forest hasn’t been purpose built for an audience, so spotting the monkeys requires work that makes a sighting all the more rewarding. Look out for the black and white stripe that will reveal a ringtail lemur and pay attention to the booming cries that will give away a howler monkey – it’s all in the fun of learning more about each species.
Although not all of the primates found in Monkeyland are native to this part of the world, most of the monkeys have been rehabilitated here as a means of homing them in the most natural environment possible. Previously caged monkeys will be aided in the adaption to a freer way of life and those who have incurred injuries before arriving at the sanctuary are treated as best as they can be.
Expert rangers are on hand to enlighten visitors on the dangers that primates face in a modern world. From habitat destruction to being kept as exotic pets, monkeys don’t have it as easy as we may think, and this sanctuary’s #HandsOffOurWildlife campaign aspires to reveal just that.
These pesky primates’ propensity to play – or play up, depending on how you look at it – means that watching them could easily consume you for hours. If you really want to make the most out of your time here, a monkey safari is the way to go. The park’s guides are full of expert knowledge, and their eyes have had a lot more practice than yours so it’s very likely that they will be keener.
The best way to see the monkeys on their home turf? Get up on their level of course, which is exactly what you’ll be doing on the sanctuary's canopy walk. Suspended 128m up in Monkeyland’s evergreen treetops, this rickety bridge will definitely see you taking a walk on the wild side.
Determined to fight for every monkey’s survival, back down on ground level, Monkeyland’s Special Monkey Home houses those that aren’t well enough to survive alone in the forest. Some are just old, whilst others have suffered severe injuries from the lives that they lived prior to being rescued by the sanctuary. But all are cared for here and it is ensured that their remaining days are made as comfortable as possible – if you’re a big softie at heart, you may need tissues at the ready for this one.
South Africa is big on wildlife and if you’re planning on grabbing every opportunity to spot a different species that you can, then Monkeyland is a must. Simply select our Garden Route base itinerary and you’ll get at least two nights to explore Plettenberg Bay giving you plenty of time to take in this primate sanctuary. Head over to our itinerary builder now to find out more.
Just a 20 minute drive further along the Garden Route from Plettenberg Bay.
R260 per person which includes a guided tour and the rest of the day at your leisure to enjoy this primate haven – the fee is used for conservation so it’s well worth the money.
Mosquito repellent, sun cream and a good camera.
There is a strict no-touch policy here, this is no petting zoo.
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