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 safari guides. 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 550+ 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 guides 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.
... 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 freedom, it is difficult to believe that most of them were previously in living in small cages.
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 reception building, and the reception area doubles up as a curio store. Our sanctuary restaurants are outsourced. The restaurant at Monkeyland is called The Feeding Station, you can contact the owner, Natasha, on 0797759284.
... walk across the suspension bridge.
Monkeyland boasts that it has the longest suspension bridge in the hemisphere. It is 128m in length and a favourite place for visitors to snap holiday pics. Our primates love hanging out here also, have a look at this fun 'once in a lifetime experience' filmed by Monkeyland guests by clicking here.
You can also stroll through the Monkeyland forest with our longtime guide Bert Vos by clicking here.
Who conducts the ‘monkey safaris’?
Our game rangers are all qualified safari guides, and conduct the one hour-long safaris into the heart of the forest with their visitor groups. Our guides are multi-lingual and can conduct safaris in a variety of international languages. Please contact Lara if you would like to request a language tour.
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 neediest of the primates within our power. Notwithstanding this, you can expect to see around 550+ primates, including the following species: the indigenous Vervet monkey, Brown-hooded capuchin, Squirrel monkey, Spider monkey, Howler monkey, Hanuman Langur, Saki monkey, Black and white ruffed lemur, Ringtail lemur, and white-handed gibbon.
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.
At Monkeyland, we continuously strive to make the world a better place for our closest living relatives.
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 (adjoining the Monkeyland forest) that we can expand into at a later stage, we have also spread our wings and opened a sanctuary in Ballito, KZN in April 2019. It is situated on the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu natal in the Ballito/Kwazaduka region.
Can visitors walk in the Monkeyland forest on their own?
You cannot walk in the forest without having a safari guide, curator or sanctuary manager present. We offer one hour guided walks through the forest, where the guide will track down the primates and tell you more about them. Your entry ticket is a day ticket and this means that you are able to go on as many tours as you wish to on the same day.
How far do we walk on safari?
Monkeyland is about an 1km stop and stroll walk through the forest.
How many people per guided tour?
Groups consists of 1 to 16 people per tour, this ensures personal attention. When the sanctuary is not too busy, any visitor is entitled to request a private tour. It is always best to pre-book a private tour to ensure that we can assist you – book your private tour with Lara.
Who funds Monkeyland?
We are often asked whether we sustain our sanctuaries on government funding and/or private donations. The answer to this is no. Both Monkeyland is totally self-sustaining by means of the tours we conduct in the forest. Every paying visitor 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.
Monkeyland strives 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.
Is Monkeyland a sanctuary or a zoo?
Dictionaries define a sanctuary for animals as merely a place where animals are protected from hunting. A true sanctuary for wild animals 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 Monkeyland, care surpasses the feeble regulations regarding animal welfare. Our sanctuaries are 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 wild animal is to behave naturally in a free environment, it must first be allowed to return to its natural state.
We only create places where the wild animals can live as natural as possible. Places where wild animals are naturalised, where they are not petted, prodded and posed with, places where they are not caged.
Can I touch or hold any of the primates at Monkeyland?
No, touching and/or feeding of the bird is strictly prohibited. We don’t condone wildlife petting at our sanctuaries – it is a pure form of harassment.
I’ve always wanted a monkey. If I wanted to purchase a monkey, what monkey can I keep as a pet? Do you sell monkeys?
We hate this question. The answer is NO, we do not have any affiliation with the trade in wild animals.
There are no wild animals that are well suited as pets. Primates become frustrated when kept as pets. Just like you, they would prefer not to live in a small cage.
Do the monkeys carry diseases that humans can catch at Monkeyland 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 wheelchair accessible?
Yes, at Monkeyland, we have easy access ramps for wheelchairs and we provide wheelchairs (to use) at our sanctuary for the elderly and visitors who walk with difficulty. It is always better to pre-arrange the use of our wheelchairs, so please email Lara for assistance.
Can you overnight at Monkeyland?
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 email Lara or visit the local website "Cruise The Crags".
What else can I do near Monkeyland?
You can bungy jump, abseil, go birding, go tubing, do a canopy tour, join a wine tour, whale watch, hike, shop, horse ride, surfing, see the big 5, abseiling, sky dive, or you can relax on the beach. There is too much to do to list. Please email Lara for assistance.
What do the primates eat? Is there enough food in the forest for them? And where do you get all the food from?
The primates cannot live off the berries and grubs they find in the forest. There are feeding platforms throughout the forest for the birds primates of A variety of copped fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables are laid out each day. Most primates forage through the forest eating leaves, seeds and insect prey, but 99% of the food they consume we supply. Our annual sanctuary food bill exceeds 1 million.
Part of the visitor fee funds the buying of the food from various local outlets. Don’t fool yourself to think they eat food which is past its sell by date. The food our birds eat is the same fruit, vegetable, nuts etc. that you would purchase for yourself.
As with humans, birds have taste buds so why on earth would they want to eat inferior food?
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.
Where do the primates that live at Monkeyland come from?
Most of the primates in Monkeyland come from captive environments, mostly zoo surplus, 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.
Has anybody ever been bitten? Is it safe to visit?
Primates only bite if they have been provoked. For example, trying to hug, tease or harm a monkey may result in a bite. If you listen and abide by the rules, the guide will explain clearly, you will have no problems.
Why should I visit Monkeyland?
Simply said – because you will relish every moment. It is wonderful to watch previously caged primates at play in the forest - remembering that these primates used to live in small cages. Living inside Monkeyland enables primates, who cannot be released back into the wild, to live a naturalised life.
Buy visiting us you are directly assisting us with our conservation projects.
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. Our primates are wild (naturalised) and continue with their day-to-day activities, come rain or shine so you won’t miss anything. During our December and January summer season we are open for extended hour, if you are interested in visiting us earlier than 8am or later than 5pm, please contact Lara.
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 operates direct flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Margate and Bloemfontein.
How long has Monkeyland been open?
Monkeyland opened its doors to the public on the 6th of April 1998.
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. We also have a car guard on duty everyday.
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. If it is however possible we can assess the situation and join reintroduction programmes if and when the situation is right to do so.
What is the after-hours contact number?
You can contact Lara Mostert. Her mobile number is 082 9795683
Any advice for visitors?
Wear flat shoes – ladies – leave those stilettos at home.
If it rains, you can use an umbrella, but we recommend a rain jacket or poncho. Disposable ponchos are available at reception for R12.
Parents - we find it’s easier to use a kiddie backpack carrier than a pram.
Charge your cameras and phones, visitors tend to take many photos.
Purchase an ID booklet for R20 at reception. It will be handy for identifying photos.
Enquire about our sanctuary membership programme. If you plan to visit more than once a year, it will make sense to become a sanctuary member. Email Lara for more info.