Monkeyland is the first free-roaming primate sanctuary in the world. Established in 1998, the primate sanctuary is currently the top eco-tourism attraction along the Garden Route and aims to rehabilitate and free previously caged monkeys. Monkeyland covers a 12 hectare forest and has over 10 primate species within it, totalling around 500 monkeys. Visitors can take part in fun and educational monkey safaris directed by multilingual guides.
At Monkeyland, you can see several species of primate roaming freely about the forest, including Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Bushbabies, Tuffed or Brown Capuchins, Common Marmosets, Common Squirrel Monkeys, Cottontop and Golden-handed Tamarins, Vervet Monkeys, White-handed Gibbons, and Black, Ringtail, and Black and White Ruffed Lemurs. The sanctuary has only one Spectacled Langur monkey, and he’s usually as elusive as a ghost. Many visitors never even catch a glimpse of him, but you may be lucky!
You’ll find monkeys feasting on the food platforms, sunning themselves, or swinging through the trees. Contrary to what you may believe, you cannot touch, pet, or play with any of the monkeys in the sanctuary. This is because almost all of the monkeys come from a background of being owned and the ultimate goal of the sanctuary’s rehabilitation programme is to teach the monkeys to be their natural selves. They are able to make their own choices and socialize with their own kind. The sanctuary has a 90% success rate in this regard, and the rare 10% that are unable to revert back to their true primate selves go to a loving monkey home.
Take your time exploring the forest, listening to the sounds of nature and calls of the monkeys. Be brave and cross one of the longest suspension bridges in Africa at 128m long (“chicken routesâ€ are available if you can’t face it). Be sure to visit the unique forest shop and curio store, as well as the Forest Café Restaurant and bar for refreshments. The Forest Café is the only food outlet in the world that offers a chance to dine while watching a large variety of primates in their natural habitat!
Visitors can enjoy sighting the monkeys on their own from the viewing platform for free, however should you wish to explore the forest, you can only do so with a pre-booked guide.