In this series of articles “Help for wild animals in South Africa” I will tell about five sanctuaries (among them is Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Jukani) close to Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. During my three-month stay at the ORCA Foundation in South Africa, as an animal enthusiast I naturally intended to visit places where people engage in the protection of wild animals. South Africa has an enormous biodiversity. Other countries can only dream about that rich variety of animals and plants. Not only in the Kruger National Park – with the “Big Five” the biggest nature reserve in South Africa – many animals receive protection from a various number of threats. There are also many other and smaller sanctuaries that make a huge contribution to the South African fauna. Five of those smaller sanctuaries I visited, I will introduce here in this series of articles. Because I think that every visit contributes to the work of these sanctuaries, I can recommend to everyone staying close to Plettenberg Bay visiting these five places. The people of the sanctuaries can only continue to help animals if they are able to further exist.
In my first article I will write about Monkeyland.
Monkeyland in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Monkeyland is – as the name suggests – a sanctuary for monkeys. This sanctuary is located at the famous South African “Garden Route”. In Monkeyland 11 different native and non-native monkeys found a new home in a terrain of about 12 hectares. The terrain is as much as possible similar to their natural environment. Some animals come from circuses or from private owners. Others were condemned as smuggle goods.
Monkeyland is a closed terrain. But in this sanctuary the monkeys get back – at least a part – of their former freedom.
One aim of Monkeyland is to raise awareness of all the threats non-human primates encounter on earth.
The staff divides visitors of the sanctuary in groups accourding to their language. There are guides who perfectly not only speak Englisch, but also German or Spanisch. One tour takes about one hour.
Visitors are not allowed to pass through the forest on their own initiative. It is better like that for the monkeys.
Furthermore, the guides rather know through their daily work where to find the monkeys in the forest. However, there is never a guarantee to find all monkey species. The animals roam freely through the forest. If they want to, they can hide behind trees or shrubs. In Monkeyland the monkeys are free to decide where to go.
For me it was kind of unusual to see monkeys from different continents together in one forest area. However, Monkeyland left a great impression on me. In a small group the guides lead you through the forest and tell more about the 11 monkey species in Monkeyland.
Even though it is a closed environment, I can highly recommend to everyone passing the Garden Route visiting this monkey sanctuary. Formerly captive animals are not or less competitive with their conspecifics as they are not adapted to their natural environment. Thus, often they are better off in a closed terrain. In Monkeyland the animals are able to roam in a long-range terrain where dedicated people care about them.