A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

It is almost a given that camping at one of our national parks will involve at least one encounter with Vervet Monkeys. Seasoned campers keep their food out of sight and lock their caravans or tents when they are away from the camping area – be aware that if you do not have a built-in groundsheet, your food remains a target as monkeys know all about crawling underneath the canvas! Visitors are warned not to feed them – as ‘cute’ as they might look – and rubbish bins have been designed with a rolling lid to make it difficult for monkeys to pull anything out of them in their quest to find something to eat.

These bins are emptied regularly and every morning someone visits the campsites to clear away the remains of any braai fires from the night before. There is not a great deal more that the authorities can do. Yet, there must be enough pickings around to make it worthwhile for the monkeys to systematically comb the rest camp for food during the course of the morning and the early afternoons, when the rest camp is very quiet. That is when many visitors are driving through the wildlife area, sitting in the bird hide or … resting.

During such a lull one afternoon, I heard of someone’s car keys being snatched away by a monkey; our neighbours found moneys had entered their open vehicle while they were chatting to other neighbours nearby; and I watched as one by one monkeys would alight on our trailer parked next to a Spekboom hedge.

They used the roof of the neighbouring caravan as a lookout point.

One of the monkeys had stolen a muffin and sat on the caravan roof to enjoy his booty. It was quickly joined by two others. The first monkey was unwilling to share, so leapt up into the tall branches of the adjacent fig tree to eat it in solitude.

Seasoned camper that I am, I too fell victim to the monkeys whilst we were breaking camp and the trailer lid was left open for ease of packing: away went a bunch of bananas … away went the remains of the vanilla biscuits I had baked for the trip – they dropped my plastic container though.

A blessing – yes, because they are fun to watch; a curse – yes, because nothing is safe from their inherent inquisitiveness!

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16 thoughts on “A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

  1. Sometimes I wish we had wild monkeys here – and then I realise I wouldn’t want them! But we have other ‘pests’… I remember sitting parked in the car with my husband on a cliff road near the sea with the door open for a bit of air and I was eating – yep, a banana – and a gull came and snatched it away!

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  2. Since we moved to a new neighbourhood I don’t see the vervet monkeys too often, but now we have woolly-necked storks and egyptian geese wandering in the front door when the security gate is open 😃

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  3. When we go camping, I worry only about two things – hail and primates – damaging our equipment.
    I’ve seen baboons tear into a tent as if it was made of cotton candy, and vervets attacking women carrying their dishes to the scullery so that they could get to the scraps.
    But still, that’s not going to deter me from visiting their haunts!
    And there’s no denying that they are very interesting and photogenic creatures!

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  4. I have to home in on this one: “vervets attacking women carrying their dishes to the scullery so that they could get to the scraps.” which is a good reason for men to do the washing up 🙂 🙂 Fortunately, I have not experienced such behaviour from either monkeys or baboons.

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  5. Apies en bobbejane word vinnig lastig naby mense. Ons tent is ook al oopgeskeur in Moremi. Daar word mens aanbeveel om jou tent te laat sak, elke keer as jy op ‘n wildrit gaan. Die slap tent is moeilik om oop te skeur. Natuurlik moet alle kos in die voertuig bly. Dis lastig, maar al wat help teen skade!

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