So many questions are frequently asked here at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. This is a list of the most popular questions and answers.
What can tourists do at Monkeyland?
... go on a guided walking safari
Visitors to Monkeyland are taken on monkey safaris in the forest by our game rangers. On these safaris you can expect to see a large variety of primates, ranging from the Gibbons of Asia, Howlers from South America to the Lemurs of Madagascar. At present, Monkeyland is home to around 450 primates that roam the forest.
Our monkey safaris are fun, exciting and extremely informative. Our guests leave Monkeyland with a greater understanding of primates and the unrelenting threats they are facing in the world today.
... be educated about the primate species and other animals who live in our world today. Our knowledgeable rangers will tell you all about these fascinating creatures as you encounter them in their magnificent home. They will also point out, identify and explain the many wonders of life in the forest, from the rich diversity of bird life to the intricate workings of the forest itself.
... walk across the 128m suspension bridge which is the longest suspension bridge in Africa. Part of the safari for those who wish to, is a walk across a rope bridge which spans a canyon above the forest canopy giving you a birds eye view of an otherwise seldom seen part of the forest and its inhabitants.
... learn to appreciate your closest living relatives
The arrival of any new primate at Monkeyland is important, as this signifies possibly the only chance that individual primate will ever have of being free. When seeing Monkeyland’s primates moving about freely in the forest and enjoying their newfound freedom, it is difficult to believe that they were previously caged.
One of the true joys of our safaris is finding and observing the various species in the forest, as they go about the foliage foraging and doing the things wild monkeys do. The instincts of animals born and bred in captivity become dormant. An important objective of the “Eden Syndrome” is the release of the primal instincts. Only then are these lovely creatures equipped to lead a natural life.
… lunch and shop
All safaris start and end at the Main Lodge building, which boasts a large sunny deck, the Blue Monkey Cafe (owned and managed by May) and a well stocked curio store. We are proud of the service of our friendly staff, whether you are ordering something from the kitchen or just relaxing in the ambiance of the surrounding forest, whilst as monkeys forage and and climb around in the trees.
What can tourists do at Birds of Eden?
... go on a walking safari
Visitors to Birds of Eden are allowed to stroll through the sanctuary without a guide. During your visit you can expect to see a large variety of birds, ranging from the African Touraco to South American parrots. At present, Birds of Eden is home to around 3500 birds consisting of 280 species. All the birds are in free flight. Putting it simply, at our sanctuaries we abhor cages.
A visit to Birds of Eden is fun, exciting and educational. Our guests leave Birds of Eden with a greater understanding and happy hearts.
... be gob-smacked
Birds of Eden is basically the World’s largest bird cage. At 3.2 hectares our gigantic dome dwarfs all other bird aviaries. Our unique sanctuary is a must-see for all travelers to Southern Africa.
... walk across the suspension bridge.
Monkeyland boasts that it has the longest suspension bridge in Africa. Birds of Eden has a bridge too, it might not be the longest, but it’s pretty awesome all the same.
... learn to appreciate birds.
The arrival of any new bird or animal at Birds of Eden is important, as this signifies possibly the only chance that individual animal will ever have of being free. When seeing Birds of Eden’s birds flying about freely it is difficult to believe that they were previously caged.
One of the true joys of visiting Birds of Eden is discovering and identifying the bird species, and observing them in their various habitats, as they go about doing the things birds do.
… lunch and shop
All safaris start and end at the Main Lodge building, which boasts a funky curio store. Unlike Monkeyland, the restaurant, Jandaya Café, is located inside the sanctuary.
Who conducts the ‘monkey safaris’?
Our game rangers are all qualified guides, and conduct the one hour-long safaris into the heart of the forest with their visitor groups. Our guides are multi-lingual and are able to conduct safaris in a variety of international languages.
What type of primates will we see at Monkeyland?
It has never been the policy of Monkeyland to display particular species, but rather to rescue the most needy of the primates within our power. Notwithstanding this, you can expect to see around 450 primates, including the following species: Vervet monkeys, Spectacles langurs, Brown-hooded capuchins, Squirrel monkeys, Spider monkeys, Howler monkeys, Common marmosets, Cotton-top tamarins, Hanuman Langurs, Saki monkeys, Douroucoulis or night monkeys, Black and white ruffed lemurs, Ringtail lemurs, Black lemurs and Lar or white-handed gibbons.
Where do the primates come from?
All the exotic monkeys at Monkeyland come from captive conditions. After a rehabilitation and reintroduction period, known as the “Eden Syndrome”, they are released into the multiple canopy forest of Monkeyland to spend the remainder of their lives as free-roaming primates.
All the primates at Monkeyland are under the custody of The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA), formerly known as Touch A Monkey’s Heart Foundation, a section 21 non-profit animal welfare company. SAASA continuously strives to make the world a better place for our closest living relatives.
What is Birds of Eden all about?
Birds of Eden opened in December 2005 and is the largest free-flight aviary in the world. The sanctuary encompasses 2.3ha of partly forested land, covered by a 3.2ha mesh and criss-crossed by a 1.2km walkway, which visitors may explore at their own pace. The aviary’s highest point is approximately 55m since the terrain includes a deep gorge with a waterfall, thus allowing ample flying space for its winged inhabitants. The sanctuary is home to over 3,500 birds of around 280 species.
What makes Birds of Eden so special?
Birds of Eden, encapsulates 2 cubic hectares of indigenous forest and houses previously caged and rehabilitated birds, excluding raptors. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of free roaming miniature monkeys, such as cotton-top and golden-handed tamarins. As with Monkeyland, Birds of Eden is a world first. The sanctuary is larger than the UK Millennium Dome, it’s free-flight capacity is larger than any individual free-flight dome in the world, including the world famous Kuala Lampur and Jarong Bird Parks.
Birds of Eden is home to a wide variety of birds, however the sanctuary aims to become home to the largest collection of free flight African birds (as catalyst), but it will also always offer pet bird owners the opportunity to free their birds (including exotic species, after a quarantine period) into the sanctuary to live a better lifes.
Is Monkeyland sustainable? Won't the monkeys destroy the forest after a few more years?
If there are too many monkeys for the area, they will cause a lot of damage to the forest. We do have more land that we can expand into at a later stage.
Can visitors walk around the forest in Monkeyland and Birds of Eden on their own?
At Monkeyland one cannot walk around the forest without having a ranger present. We offer a one hour guided walk through the forest, where the ranger will track down the primates and tell you more about them.
On the other hand, Birds of Eden has a 1.2 km wooden walkway, along which visitors can stroll at their own pace. If required, guides for Birds of Eden can be pre-booked or booked on the day of arrival.
How far do we walk on safari?
Monkeyland is about an 800-meter stop and stroll walk through the forest, Birds of Eden’s walkway is 1.2km in length. For a laid-back visit you should spend 3 to 4 hours between the two sanctuaries, but if you are in a hurry, you could visit both sanctuaries in 2 hours (this allows 1 hour per sanctuary).
How many people per guided tour?
We allow an average of 15 people per tour to ensure personal attention. When the sanctuary is not too busy, any patron is entitled to request a private tour. However, it is best to pre-book such a tour to ensure that a safari guide is available on arrival. Language guides should preferably be pre-booked, and currently we have German, Finnish, French, Spanish, Italian, English, Xhosa and Afrikaans safari guides available for guided tours.
Who funds Monkeyland and Birds of Eden?
We are often asked whether we sustain our sanctuaries on government funding and/or private donations. The answer to this is no. Both Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are totally self-sustaining by means of the tours we conduct in the forest. Every patron, or rather tourist, entering our forest directly assists us to sustain Monkeyland and Birds of Eden. Furthermore, the funds we manage to save, after expenses, enable us to develop further sanctuaries and rehabilitate many more bird and primate species into our sanctuaries.
In a nutshell, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden strive to achieve an effective balance between conservation and economic reality. As result of this, our sanctuaries are tourism driven, totally sustainable and will never rely on hand-outs.
Why do you say Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are sanctuaries and not zoo’s?
Dictionaries define a sanctuary for animals as merely a place where animals are protected from hunting. A true sanctuary for primates and/or birds should, however, also be a place of refuge to protect them from much more than hunting. They must also be protected against exploitation, abuse, neglect and improper care.
At both Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, care exceeds the regulations regarding animal welfare. Our sanctuaries are, above all, safe havens where animals are rehabilitated, both physically and emotionally. Part of this rehabilitation is the reintroduction to members of their own species, through a process known as the “Eden Syndrome”. If the animal is to behave naturally in a free environment, it must first be allowed to return to its natural state.
We only create sanctuaries. Places where the animals can be as natural as possible, where they are free living, where they are not caged and they can do as they please.
Can I touch or hold any of the primates at Monkeyland?
No, touching and/or feeding of the primates is strictly prohibited.
I’ve always wanted a monkey. If I wanted to purchase a bird or monkey, what monkey or bird can I keep as a pet? Do you sell primates and birds from Monkeyland or Birds of Eden?
No, we do not support or have any affiliation with the Pet Trade.
There are no primates or birds that are well suited as pets. Any specie of primate or bird is actually a wild animal and should be free. Both birds and monkeys become frustrated when kept as a pet. For further information about this please contact our curator Dominik firstname.lastname@example.org
Do the monkeys carry diseases that humans can catch such as rabies and herpes?
No, because all our primates and birds are disease free. We don’t allow touching and feeding so our primates and birds cannot ‘catch’ or pass on any diseases to or from human visitors.
Is Monkeyland and Birds of Eden wheelchair friendly?
Yes, at both Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, we have easy access ramps in our restaurant areas to make it accessible for wheelchairs. At Monkeyland, our safari guides will assist in any difficult areas (on safari), however Birds of Eden is completely wheelchair friendly.
Can you overnight at Monkeyland?
Unfortunately we have no overnight accommodation available. There are wonderful establishments nearby that can be made use of. If you need assistance with accommodation options near Monkeyland, please feel free to email us at email@example.com or contact us via telephone at +27 (0) 44 534 8906 or +27 (0) 82 979 5683
You can also visit www.cruisethecrags.co.za
What else can I do whilst in the region?
You can bungy jumping, whale watching, hiking, shopping, horse riding, surfing, abseiling, or you can relax on the beach. We have stunning beaches in Plettenberg Bay (one is a Blue Flag beach), and there are several attractions in Plettenberg Bay and surrounds.
Please contact Stephanie firstname.lastname@example.org from Go Garden Route www.gogardenroute.co.za for information regarding all the attractions in The Garden Route.
What do the primates and birds eat? Is there enough food in the forest for them? And where do you get all the monkey food from?
The primates and birds cannot simply live off the berries and grubs they find in the forest. There are feeding platforms throughout the forest for the primates at Monkeyland and the birds at Birds of Eden. A variety of fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables are laid out each day. The primates do forage through the forest eating leaves, seeds and some insect prey, but 99% of the food they consume we supply. Ditto regarding the birds.
Part of the safari fee funds the buying of the food from various outlets. Don’t fool yourself to think they eat food which is past its sell by date. The food our primates and birds eat is the same fruit, vegetable, nuts etc. that you would purchase for yourself.
As with humans, monkeys and birds have taste buds so why on earth would they want to eat inferior food?
What does it cost to run Monkeyland and Birds of Eden per day?
On average we need R25,000.00 per day to cover costs.
How do the Monkeys stay inside the forest at Monkeyland if they are free-roaming?
There is a 6.5-meter fence surrounding 12 hectares of forest at Monkeyland for two reasons. Firstly to keep the primates in and secondly to keep predators or other wild animals out. The primates are happy at Monkeyland, they have everything they need, and therefore they have no reason or need to leave.
2 cubic hectares of our sanctuary’s property has been used for Birds of Eden, and the remaining 28 hectares serves as a green belt for the wild animals such as vervet monkeys, baboons, bush pig and various buck species who live in the surrounding forests.
Where do the primates that live at Monkeyland come from?
Most of the primates in Monkeyland come from captive environments, mostly from zoos, and private homes where they were kept as pets. Some of our primates also come to us via other sanctuaries such as Stighting AAP in Almere, Holland.
And where do the birds come from?
The birds come from captive environments, mostly zoos, and private homes where they were kept as pets.
Has anybody ever been bitten?
Generally primates and birds only bite if they have been provoked. For example trying to hug, tease or harm a monkey or bird may result in a bite. If you listen and abide by the rules of the forest you will have no problems.
How many people are working for you?
Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary employee 88 permanent staff and 4 temporary staff between them. Furthermore we usually have between 5 - 15 volunteers (from all over the world) assisting our staff at any given time.
What do primates eat in the wild?
The primates eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, leaves and insect prey. Some species eat no form of meat whilst other species subsist on small birds, bird eggs, lizards, frogs, toads, scorpions and snails.
Why should I visit Monkeyland and Birds of Eden?
Simply said – because you will relish every moment. It is wonderful to see both primates and birds live a life of freedom. No cages, just enjoying life, as they should in a wild and natural habitat.
By visiting you are also directly assisting us with our conservation projects. Every cent we make is used for conservation.
When is the best time to visit Monkeyland? And what happens when it starts to rain does the safari end?
Anytime between 8am and 5pm is perfect for a visit. Remember, our primates and birds are free and we can therefore not predict their daily movements.
Our primates and birds are wild and continue with their day-to-day activities, come rain or shine so you won’t miss anything. The only reason the tour will stop is if the client does not want to continue.
Do you raise the babies that are born here?
The only time that we will hand-rear a monkey or bird is if the mother is unable to do so herself. Otherwise, we leave the childcare to the mother because they know best. The last time it was required to hand-rear (the lemur baby fell out of a tree and broke his arm) was November 2010. The baby was named Mozzie. Mozzie is grown-up now and he is happy, busy, healthy and lives in the Special Monkey Home because he lost his arm due to the bad fracture he had as a baby.
How far are you from Cape Town, George and other towns like Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? And where is the nearest airport?
Monkeyland is situated ± 20 minutes outside Plettenberg Bay just off the N2. It is ±6 hours from Cape Town, 1 hrs 45 min from George, 45 min from Knysna and about 1 hour 30 min from Jeffrey's Bay.
The closest airport is Plettenberg Bay, though there is a restricted service flying into this small airport. FlyCem Air operates direct flights from Johanesburg & Cape Town.
Alternatively, the airports in George is next closest and then there is the Port Elizabeth airport.
Don't the monkeys steal food from the restaurant patrons at Monkeyland?
When eating at Monkeyland’s open-air restaurant, one has to keep a close eye on the primates. Part of the restaurant is however close-in for those that prefer.
How long has Monkeyland and Birds of Eden been open?
Monkeyland opened its doors to the public on the 6th of April 1998, Birds of Eden opened the 15th of December 2005.
Is there ample secure parking at Monkeyland and Birds of Eden for vehicles and busses, and is the road tarred?
Yes there is lots of parking and the road is tarred.
Will the monkeys stay here forever or will you send them back to their countries of origin?
Returning the primates back to the wild is incredibly difficult. Firstly, they will become part of a vicious cycle, there is the threat that they will be recaptured for the pet trade or killed for bushmeat. Until we can solve that problem it is impractical to release them to the wild. Secondly, the forests throughout the world are being destroyed for human benefit, soon there will be no natural environment for them to live in.