Day 57: Pretoria and Namibia (Part 3)

March 28, 2012

Part 3: Monkeys! This is a much shorter post than the last one, mostly because all the relevant things happened in an hour, as opposed to over four days. Still, there are some nice photos!

So on the day after we got back from Namibia, after a nice long sleep, Tony took us out to the Bush Baby Monkey Sanctuary. It is a place that rescues and looks after exotic monkeys (mostly from South America) that have been kept as pets. They run public tours every hour, and show us around so we can see some monkeys in a relatively natural environment.

We were warned ahead of time to make sure all our possessions were secure – there were some monkeys that like to steal things. Jas and I were a little unlucky with the tour group, because there were 6 kids. Young kids, too, that screamed at the first monkey to come near us:

This is Api. He is not at all afraid of people, and didn’t mind jumping on people and trying to steal things from pockets and bags – here is him trying to steal from a pocket, and stealing a lollipop from Jasmine’s bag.

After he got the lollipop, he ran away to get it open (by bashing it repeatedly against the ground) and then eating it. In front of us. Like he was mocking us. Then after he’d eaten a little, he ran away.

We found him again after about 10 mins – he ran up the railing beside us, stopped at Jasmine and looked at her bag. Jasmine: “Aw, look, another monkey!” (and then, seeing the rainbow lollipop remains in his mouth) “Oh. It’s you again.”

He had another look at Jasmine’s bag, but didn’t get a chance to steal anything else (incidentally, he has stolen over 28 mobile phones, though he just bashes them on the ground in the hope that there is something good to eat inside). He jumped on me again, but I didn’t let him get at my bag – I’d already zipped everything up:

We continued with the tour, and took some more monkey photos:

(Om nom nom, baby monkey heads are delicious!)

Now, the park where they keep all the monkeys is pretty large (7 acres for about 70 monkeys), and it includes a little mountain where the monkeys all sunbathe in winter. To get to that side, we had to go across a wobbly suspension bridge – most of the kids and even a few of the adults freaked out about it. Finally got everyone across, and… we get to another bridge, this one a bit higher up. Jas and I help out by taking a kid each, so that the others have less to worry about, except when I get halfway across, Api comes along and jumps onto my shoulders again. Luckily the kid I was with didn’t scream or anything, and we all got to the other side without any problems. Pretty much.

Api liked me apparently, and wouldn’t get off me:

As a result, I spent most of the rest of the tour with Api draped across my shoulders, or on my head:

Jas tried a few times to get him to go to her, but he didn’t want to, though we eventually worked out it was because her hair was obstructing her neck. She put it up, and sure enough:

Api came back to me though, and some of the other people on the tour took photos of me and Api. By this stage we were back at the entrance, and a new tour was starting – a few of the people on the next tour were staring at me (in horror), and Api jumped off me and ran at them. So that was the end of the tour!

I smelled like monkey all the way home, thanks to my new (temporary) fashion accessory:

It was awesome.

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