Yesterday Ryan, Finn and I took our students to the primate sanctuary, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden (Monkeyland’s neighbouring sister sanctuary) in Plettenberg Bay. This is a trip I love and so I try to do it at least three times a year. Monkeyland is the world’s first free-roaming, multi-species primate sanctuary. It provides ex-captive primates with a healthier, more natural life and raises public awareness about primates. Around 500 primates live at Monkeyland, including gibbons, capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys, Langurs, saki monkeys, miniature monkeys, vervets, howler monkeys and three species of lemur. The emphasis is on searching for the primates, and the reward is to see the various species as they are meant to be: free and in a natural habitat.
Our guide, Surgeon, allowed our filming and photo students plenty of time to see the monkeys at play and I loved sitting in the gentle forest watching monkeys bouncing around me. I realized for the hundredth time that I absolutely love ring-tailed lemurs, no-matter how much they ignore me.A goal of Monkeyland is to educate the public about the adverse effects of keeping primates as pets, in terms of both physical and psychological health.
Birds of Eden is home to Monkeyland’s bush-babies and if you are lucky you might see one of them grabbing a piece of apple or banana during a brief moment that they awake from a snooze. Being nocturnal, it’s really just a luck and the result of a rumbling tummy. Birds of Eden is home to hundreds of brightly coloured birds and also some grey-er ones (which are just as adorable).
Birds of Eden strives to remove birds from unrealistic and unsustainable relationships with humans and put them back in the wild- where they belong.The cacophony of sounds as you walk around the wooden suspended walkways is incredible. I imagine it is what our world should look and feel like. I could spend days in that place. I always find it so relaxing and calming wandering amongst the trees.