Game Reserves with Monkey/Baboons?

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Jul 6th, 2004, 07:29 AM
  #1
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Game Reserves with Monkey/Baboons?

I've been following Fodors to learn about Africa as we plan our trip. I read about the "Big 5" etc. but I've seen very little reference to seeing monkeys and baboons or the like. They are actually some of my favorites. Is there a particular region where they are more prevalent? (we're leaning toward doing a safari in South Africa). Thank you.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Petlover: You should be in easy luck on this. The camps tend to be built in association with mature shade trees, and between the trees and the fact that there is lots of food/trash around many camps have resident baboons. I stayed in 3 camps in Botswana and both Duma Tau and Duba Plains had camp baboons. At Duba they would sleep right above and around our tent. We saw Vervet monkeys and baboons on game drives at each camp but at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side you could approach on foot to just a couple feet away for great monkey photos. I'm sure others will be able to comment on different camps in South Africa.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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As PB says monkeys and baboons are prevalent, particularly baboons. I can't think of any park where we didn't encounter baboons and we also encountered them outside parks on numerous occasions.

Monkeys, on our trip, weren't as prevalent as baboons but still easy to find. We saw vervet monkeys more than any other type.

Several camps have monkey and baboon groups that are practically resident in camp, infact in Savute fellow guests had a troop on the roof of their tent and the stench from their faeces and urine was quite overwhelming. How close do you want to be?

I don't know which operator you have selected but with, say, Wilderness Safaris, who I travelled with, I'm sure you could ask your agent to request information from them on which camps tend to have baboons and monkeys in camp and which allow good sightings of them during activities.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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We even pulled over to take a picture of a troup of Baboons crossing the highway on our drive from Franschhoek to Hermanus! There we were, driving along the road thinking "Gosh, these vast expanses have started to look like the American West..." when whoa! Baboons!
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Jul 6th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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We had the same experience as Uhoh_Busted. We encountered troops of baboons all over the roads along the Garden Route. We also had some pretty close encounters at the Cape of Good Hope. One baboon jumped in our car! Thank goodness we had no food so he jumped back out. Wouldn't want to explain that one to the Rental Company!We were also followed and had tugging matches over my pack with a baboon on the walk down from the lighthouse. Luckily, again we had no food our packs so no damage was done. Still, a little too close for comfort.

At Nottens Bush Camp in Sabi Sands there was a resident troop of Vervet monkeys. They were great to watch. There were juveniles, babies and adults. We even witnessed a second troop trying to take over the territory! Monkey wars!!!
I agree the big five are wonderful but the other animals are just as exciting. So not to worry, you will see lots of monkeys and baboons in SA.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Pet Lover,
I too, love the critters. And have many pics of both vervets and baboons.

We saw more vervets than baboons at both Phinda and Londolozi in S.A.

Many even brazen enough to jump on your table & steal food while the staff had their heads turned. And it happened just that quickly.

Many camps discourage customers from feeding monkeys/baboons because they have become such a nuisance. They are crafty little things and some baboons are so big they can be very intimidating (and for some reason, they are not as afraid of women as they are men!)

You should have no problems spotting any in S.A., or in East Africa (which has a plethora of both.) Just abide by camp rules and as cute as they are, if the staff asks you not to feed them, don't. Trust me, I know it's hard.

If they get in your tent or vehicle, they'll steal anything they can from you, including your cameras, clothes, and pretty much anything not tied down.
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Jul 6th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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The one thing you won't want for in Africa are monkeys and/or baboons. I believe everyone has their monkey/baboon stories to tell whether they've been to Southern or Eastern Africa.

Yes, those baboons down at Cape Point are adventurous, and even with big signs saying "don't feed them" it's amazing to see people purposefully drop food on the ground knowing one of the baboons will be right behind them picking it up. But remember that baboons especially have those big big teeth, and have no issue even battling a leopard as we saw one morning at Singita, leaving one heck of a gash in the hind quarters of the leopard.

The vervets are known to steal from anyone eating "al fresco" - they'll swing right off the tree limbs and grab anything not tied to your plate, and take the plate too if hungry enough. They'll even zip open your tent to forage for cookies brought to your tent with your morning coffee, not unlike the one who came into our tent and not only took the cookies but broke all the china; or the one who came into our vehicle, checked throughout, even unzipping my tote bag and checking for food - finding none, was out of the vehicle just as quickly, but not before he sat on my shoulder still wondering where else we might have had food hidden (we didn't).

So regardless how cute and/or brazen monkeys or baboons can be, or how entertaining, it's best to stay clear, as they are still animals and can turn on a dime. One has to remind themselves that they're not in a zoo!
 
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Jul 7th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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So right Sandi! ....one of my pet peeves is when I see others who can't mind the rules. Grrrrrrrr!
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Jul 7th, 2004, 01:25 PM
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I completely agree! The staff at cape Point are very clear that "A fed baboon is a dead baboon!" Once they come to expect food from people they become extremely dangerous and have to be destroyed. So the animal pays for the person's mistake.
We watched a group of tourists surrounding a baboon to take pictures. They were sitting next to it on the wall and following it as it tried to move off. We spoke to the tour guide but he just shrugged. We stayed to watch just in case something happened. If it had, we would have informed the staff that the animal was blameless. It was being harrassed!
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Jul 7th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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We watched a troop of baboons "terrorize" an empty tent at Mara River Camp. What a hoot! We sat out on our patio, and five big males ran by our tent with 10 or 15 feet of where we were sitting. Wondering what all the commotion was, we watched as they and several femals, bounced up and down on top of a tent and screeched and hollered at one another. Good thing the tent was empty at the time! We also had fun watching the vervet monkeys in the Crater and Tarangire. As as has been written already, virtually anywhere you go you will find monkeys and baboons.
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Jul 7th, 2004, 09:33 PM
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At the Royal Livingstone a vervet ran into our 2nd story room as I opened the sliding glass door when I came off the balcony - I screamed at my husband to, "Wake up, there's a monkey on the bed!" The monkey grabbed a green apple from the bowl on the nightstand and proceeded to eat it on the balcony while I snapped photos.

Later when we were outside we saw gangs of monkeys try to open all the sliding glass doors (in case people forgot to lock them).
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