When you are in Mossel Bay – probably for shark diving – you might happen to have a free afternoon. If you want to read more about Mossel Bay Shark exploration please follow this link.
If this is the case, we definitively recommend you to take a tour to Monkeyland for a monkey safari.
Monkeyland is a primate conservation sanctuary for monkeys.
The sanctuary is part of the SAASA (South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance). This organization also runs other two parks in the area. Birds of Eden is about birds and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is the other which is about lions and other predators. However, we have not visited these two parks so we cannot clearly comment on those.
I have to admit that Monkeyland positively surprised me for many reasons which you will find in this post.
This is where the park is located relative to Mossel Bay and Cape Town. In fact, the park can also be reached from Cape Town although this will be a little bit longer drive.
In this post we want to tell you more about our experience in the park:
- The Park
- The Visit
- Postcards from Monkeyland– the official Random Odyssey gallery
- How to organize your visit and reach the park
If you want to discover the full itinerary we took during our South Africa journey please follow the link to this blog post.
If you have any question at any time please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being a conservation sanctuary, the park hosts 11 different species of monkeys that have been rescued or taken away from full captivity. These monkeys are then brought into this wonderful natural habitat where they can live as they would normally do in the full wild after a period of re-adaptation.
Among the 11 species you can find the Lar Gibbon, Brown Capuchin, Geoffroy’s Spider and Ringtail Lemur just to name a few.
One of the first thing that surprised me is that the park itself is a portion of a big natural forest and monkeys are absolutely free to live into it.
Monkeyland […] is the worlds first free roaming multi-specie primate sanctuary and aims to create awareness about the plight of primates and foster a greater understanding of our primate cousins.Monkeyland website
The other surprising thing is that the number of monkeys grew overtime (some species grew more and other less) which is also a sign of the fact that monkeys have really found a place to live which conforms to their natural needs. Monkeys of the same species started forming families – which is what monkeys normally do – and so the park now hosts quite a significant number of monkeys that were actually born and grown up in the forest of the park.
Monkeys are really free to stroll around in this huge forest. If you would not know you are in a conservation park, you would probably hardly notice that. Monkeys truly behave naturally.
In this context, spotting all the 11 species of the park can be quite challenging. In fact, we did not manage to see 4 or 5 of them since they were hiding somewhere.
When visiting the park, you will be accompanied by a guide. Monkeyland is totally touch-free. This means that visitors nor the guides are allowed to have any form of interaction with the monkeys apart from taking pictures and watching them (of course).
The tour of the park can take several hours because – as said – the park is quite big – especially if you really want to spot all 11 species.
One of the must see of the park (apart from the beautiful and playful monkeys) is the suspended bridge. This is a real suspended bridge of about 100m length hanging over the forest. In crossing it, you will have a wonderful view of the entire forest underneath and can realize the real extension of the park. As a plus while crossing the bridge, there is a colony of capuchine monkeys living on the trees just on the side of the suspended bridge – which clearly offers amazing photo opportunities.
Obviously, we hope you are not afraid of heights and not afraid to walk on slightly shaking paths. In any case, there is nothing scary with this – and it is really something for all.
If you visit the park towards sunset, you can also assist to the change of behavior of many monkey species when the darkness approach. They start screaming loudly from the tree tops to call back the members of the family and prepare to spend the night together.
Postcards from Monkeyland
Organize Your Visit
In organizing your visit to the park there are few things we recommend you to take into account and plan for.
First and foremost consider the distances – i.e. how far is the park from where you are.
If you are leaving from Mossel Bay, please take into account approx. 2.5/3 hours drive to get to the park. Even if officially Google Maps will tell you it is only two hours drive you need to consider the traffic and also the fact that this is not highway and you will need to pass by few cities and villages to get to your destination.
Considering the distances is important because you should also take into account that the park normally closes not very late (due to darkeness). This has to be born in mind especially if you visit during European summer which corresponds to South African winter – hence day time is shorter than you would normally expect.
Unless you hired a car, you can book your taxi to reach the park. Normally, if you ask your hotel reception they can organize a taxi for you since they know about the park as well. By the way, the road to the park is quite beautiful with a lot of sightseeing opportunities. As such, if you are with your own you will have much more flexibility to stop when you find a good spot.
We recommend you give a call to the park to understand and reconfirm the opening hours and also to let them know you are going (especially if you are going late after the shark exploration – like we did). This is because they can allow to open for an extra hour post-visitors regular entrance – which is also what they kindly did for us. So we enjoyed an almost entirely private visit (although a bit on a rush :-)).
Finally, please remember to wear comfortable shoes (i.e. trekking shoes or running shoes) because there is quite some walking involved and the paths can be uneven – even if perfectly affordable regardless of your level of fitness. This is to say that we always discourage to walk long distances with flip flops or open shoes – especially in a forest like in this case.
If you want more information you can also have a look at the park website at this link or use these contact details to get in touch with them directly:
- Phone: +27 (0) 44 534 8906
- Mobile: +27(0)82 9795683
- P.O. Box 1190, Plettenberg Bay, 6602