Thursday, 24 December 2015

An Afternoon Out - The Monkey Sanctuary

On Saturday, we went to The Cattle Barron for a very early lunch and whilst there, after talking about kittens and bunnies and other exotic pets we decided to go to The Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary. I confused the place with Mystic Monkeys but when we arrived I remembered the place, we went there about 3 or 4 years ago. Most of the monkeys except those born at the sanctuary were once pets and then when they became too much for the owners they were taken to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary takes in Capuchin; Lemurs and Squirrel Monkeys and they also have a Spider Monkey. These Monkeys do not live in cages, they live in the "Wild".

You go on an hour long tour, walking amongst the animals that roam freely in the sanctuary. The tour is quite expensive at R275.00 a person so for four people it is over R1000.00 for an hour of walking around looking at monkeys. Before going on the tour it seems like such a waste of money, but after going on the tour, you realise that it is really worth it. The monkeys are fed a mixture of fruits and bread and peanut butter three times a day and the sanctuary, although in the wild, is very clean.

Just as our tour started when our tour guide, Wiseman, went through the rules and procedures, we decided to lock our bags and wallets in the lockers provided. Firstly, because it is an hour long walk in temperatures in the 30's and higher and also because the Capuchin monkeys are pickpockets.  When I put my bag in the locker, I looked for my phone and couldn't find it anywhere. We looked in the toilets and at the two places where we sat waiting for the tour to start, Chad went to look in the car, Mark was phoning it and it rang and then stopped ringing and went to voicemail when he phoned again. Chad couldn't find it in the car, JD went to look in the bathrooms. We had the whole place looking for my phone. They have more than 20 staff members that popped up out of nowhere, looking for my phone and we didn't even tell anyone that it had gone missing. We couldn't even blame a Capuchin monkey, because we hadn't even been into the sanctuary. I wanted my phone to take photos. I went and looked in the car and there it was, it had fallen between the door and seat. Chad doesn't ever look properly. It was so embarrassing, I thanked the Sanctuary staff for helping me look for it and said I was just desperate to find it so that I could take photos.

We started the tour with Mr T, a Capuchin monkey who climbed all over us and was so fascinated with our hair and looking in our pockets. He also wanted our water. You are allowed to take water in, nothing else. They were also so fascinated with JD's shoes, maybe because they had no laces. I will post photos of her here in this post but not ones of her face because I don't have her permission to post her photos all over my blog. When the monkeys climb on you, you have to stand calmly and not shriek or panic. It is rather creepy having them lick and dig in your hair and scrummage through your pockets.

Our guide was very knowledgable and friendly and the staff clearly love the monkeys and it is more than just a job to them.

If you are ever in the Haartebeespoort area, then this is definitely the place to visit or if you live in Johannesburg and you are looking for something to do, then it is only an hour away. It may seem expensive at R275.00, but what can you buy for R275.00 anyway. It is less than a carton of cigarettes and a little more than a bottle of wine. OK a good bottle of wine, but still, even good wine is not good for you - not as good as walking in the fresh air learning about monkeys and their habits.

I am not sure how much the entrance fee is for children, but it is a fun and interesting tour for kids and safe. There was a little girl on the tour with us and she was scared of the monkeys and they didn't bother her. They were from Botswana and came through to South Africa for the day. The monkeys didn't go near Mark either - either because he didn't have hair or maybe because he didn't have water. They loved JD; Chad and I.

The moms with babies were not even aggressive towards us and came right up to us with their babies. The one male had three babies with three different females - weeks apart - quite the ladies man.

Go here to find out more about the sanctuary and read this to find out why it is not a good idea to have a monkey as a pet - as cute as what they are. this is not a sponsored post in any way, just a really great place to visit.

It is definitely worth a visit...

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