29 May 2012 by Kate Turkington

Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary, Hartbeespoort Dam

Take a trip to the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary at Hartbeespoort Dam – you’ll be delighted with what you find.

A Capuchin monkey is learning to be wild again

This was not at all what I expected. ‘Monkey Sanctuary,’ I thought. Mmm.

What I found, however, at the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary, was a wonderful natural environment in the Magaliesberg mountains, with indigenous bush, mountain slopes, waterfalls and clear springs. And environmentally friendly wooden walkways and rope bridges that weave their way through pristine forest.

Seventy exotic monkeys have been rescued from cages, domestic captivity and well-meaning pet owners who thought the animals were ‘cute’ when they were little, but then discovered in time that they now had active, untrainable adults on their hands. Others have been bred or imported by the pet trade and donated to the sanctuary.

These animals are now being rehabilitated – being taught to be wild again – and to see them swinging through the trees, sunning themselves on a rocky mountain face, or dozing on an overhanging branch is a heart-warming sight.

These animals are now being rehabilitated – being taught to be wild again – and to see them swinging through the trees, sunning themselves on a rocky mountain face, or dozing on an overhanging branch is a heart-warming sight.

A trained, knowledgeable guide leads us through the sanctuary as a ring-tailed lemur peers at me from a high perch and slo-o-owly makes its way along to a shadier spot.

I spot spider monkeys (you can’t mistake their long black arms and legs as they leap between the high branches), lemurs of several kinds, bush babies, squirrel monkeys and the Capuchin monkeys – so-called for the black caps they sport.

Kids love the place, oohing and aahing over the monkeys, navigating the beautifully designed walkways, and holding on for dear life as they go over the Bridge of Courage – straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.

And maybe 1 of the best things about the experience is that you know that the price of your ticket is helping these animals to become themselves again…

 

Category: Adventure, Responsible Tourism, Routes & Trails


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