Monkey Town is a unique and exciting attraction located in Somerset West, South Africa. This popular tourist destination is home to over 250 primates from around the world, making it one of the largest primate sanctuaries in the country. With its stunning location, diverse primate species, and engaging exhibits, it offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience that is both educational and entertaining.
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The History of Monkey Town
Monkey Town was established in 1998 by a local businessman named Lex Hes. He had a passion for animals and wanted to create a sanctuary where primates could live in a safe and natural environment. He spent years researching and designing the park, and in 1998, Monkey Town opened its doors to the public.
Since its inception, it has been dedicated to the care and conservation of primates. The park works closely with local conservation organizations and participates in breeding programs to help endangered primate species. Monkey Town is also committed to educating the public about the importance of primate conservation and the impact that humans have on their habitats.
The Primate Species
One of the highlights is the diverse collection of primate species. Visitors can see everything from playful monkeys to majestic apes, all living in naturalistic habitats that mimic their native environments. Some of the primate species that can be found include:
- Baboons – Baboons are one of the largest and most powerful primates, and Monkey Town is home to several different species of baboons, including chacma baboons and olive baboons.
- Capuchin Monkeys – Capuchin monkeys are known for their intelligence and dexterity, and visitors can see these playful primates in action as they swing and climb through the trees.
- Gibbons – Gibbons are known for their vocalizations, which are used to communicate with other members of their group. Visitors can hear the beautiful songs of the white-handed gibbon and the siamang gibbon.
- Lemurs – Lemurs are found only on the island of Madagascar and are known for their distinctive appearance and behaviour. Visitors can see ring-tailed lemurs and black and white ruffed lemurs.
- Squirrel Monkeys – Squirrel monkeys are one of the smallest primates and are known for their high-pitched calls and acrobatic abilities. Visitors can see these energetic monkeys as they leap and climb through their habitat.
- Vervet Monkeys – Vervet monkeys are found throughout Africa and are known for their intelligence and adaptability. Visitors can observe these clever primates as they forage for food and interact with each other.
Monkey Town is designed to provide visitors with an immersive and educational experience. The park features a number of exhibits that showcase the diversity of primate species and highlight the importance of conservation. Some of the most popular exhibits include:
- Monkey Jungle – Monkey Jungle is a large outdoor exhibit that features a variety of primate species, including baboons, macaques, and vervet monkeys. Visitors can observe the primates as they interact with each other and their environment.
- Lemur Island – Lemur Island is a beautiful exhibit that is home to ring-tailed lemurs and black and white ruffed lemurs. Visitors can watch as the lemurs sunbathe, groom each other, and play in their naturalistic habitat.
- Monkey Town Aviary – The Monkey Town Aviary is home to a variety of bird species, including African grey parrots, macaws, and lovebirds. Visitors can see the birds up close and learn about their behaviours and habitats.
- Primate Nursery – The Primate Nursery is a special exhibit that is dedicated to the care of young primates. Visitors can see baby monkeys being cared for by their mothers or by trained staff members. This exhibit is a great way to learn about the early stages of primate development and the challenges faced by young primates in the wild.
- Monkey Town Reptile Park – The Monkey Town Reptile Park is a separate attraction located within Monkey Town that features a variety of reptile species, including snakes, lizards, and tortoises. Visitors can see these fascinating animals up close and learn about their unique adaptations and behaviours.
The Conservation Efforts
It is not just a fun and entertaining attraction, it is also dedicated to the conservation and protection of primates in the wild. The park works closely with local and international organizations to support primate conservation efforts and participates in breeding programs to help ensure the survival of endangered species.
Monkey Town is committed to educating the public about the importance of primate conservation and the impact that humans have on their habitats. The park offers a range of educational programs and resources, including guided tours, educational exhibits, and outreach programs.
Visiting Monkey Town
Monkey Town is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Somerset West or the greater Cape Town area. The park is open seven days a week and offers a range of ticket options, including discounted rates for children and groups.
Visitors should plan to spend several hours exploring the park and taking in all the exhibits and attractions. The park offers a range of amenities, including restrooms, a restaurant, and a gift shop, making it a great destination for a day trip or family outing.
How to Get to Monkey Town
To get to Monkey Town in Somerset West, Cape Town, you can follow these directions. From Cape Town, take the N2 highway towards Sir Lowry’s Pass. Keep driving on the N2 until you reach Monkey Town, which is located off Mondeor Road. The total distance is approximately 45 kilometres, and the journey takes about 40 minutes by car, depending on traffic conditions. Monkey Town is easily accessible and offers a unique wildlife experience with a variety of primates and other animal species to explore and enjoy.
Monkey Town is an exceptional attraction that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. With its diverse collection of primates, engaging exhibits, and commitment to conservation, it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in animal welfare and conservation.
- Q – How much is the entrance fee at Monkey Town?
A – The entrance fee to Monkey Town Primate Centre is R100 per person (as of 2023). Special rates may apply for children, so it’s best to check with the center for specific pricing.
- Q – What can you do at Monkey Town?
A – Monkey Town offers a range of activities and experiences. Visitors can enjoy feeding monkeys, exploring the wildlife center, observing various species of primates and other animals, and even swimming in the pool (availability may vary).
- Q – Is alcohol allowed at Monkey Town?
A – Yes, alcohol is allowed at Monkey Town. They have a cash bar available, providing visitors with the opportunity to relax and enjoy refreshments during their visit.
- Q – Where is Monkey Town located?
A – Monkey Town Primate Centre is situated on the N2 highway in Somerset West, near Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. The address is Mondeor Road, off the N2 highway towards Sir Lowry’s Pass, Somerset West, 7130.
- Q – Can Monkey Town be visited as a family with children?
A – Absolutely! Monkey Town welcomes families with children of all ages. There are activities and experiences suitable for children, making it an enjoyable outing for the whole family.
Other Animal Sanctuaries to Visit
Panthera Big Cat Sanctuary: is a conservation haven dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating endangered big cats. Spanning vast natural habitats, it offers a safe environment for majestic species like tigers, lions, and leopards. Through expert care, research, and educational programs, the sanctuary strives to safeguard these iconic predators for generations to come.
Monkeyland: is a renowned sanctuary nestled in South Africa. It provides a natural haven for numerous primate species, offering a safe environment for rehabilitation and conservation. Visitors can embark on guided tours, encountering monkeys in their wild surroundings. Monkeyland serves as a vital educational hub, promoting the preservation of these remarkable creatures.