The Da Gama Park Baboons


As urban development continues to gobble up more and more natural baboon habitat on the Cape Peninsula, the abundance of easily accessible human food is a massive temptation.  So much so that it’s become a turf war as resident baboon troops wreak havoc in several suburbs, opening windows, doors, fridges and their real favourite – the garbage bin – looking for food.  Many residents loathe them, forgetting that it’s actually humans who have overtaken the baboons’ habitat.

I spent over an hour delighted by the troop that frequents Da Gama Park near Simonstown while they took their daily meander through the old Navy stables in Glencairn, completely unfazed by horses, dogs or humans.  The weather was horribly overcast which meant poor light, so my photos don’t do this 30-strong troop justice.  But I was – believe it or not – walking among them, at times just a metre away. 

Oat hay Scavenging through bags of oat hay. youngsters

The youngsters are naughty and playful and never still.  They are soooo darn cute!

pine cones

Baboons LOVE pine cones.  They are really high in nutrition and I could hear the cracking as they ate.

Felix

 Felix, one of the resident stable cats, completely unfazed by the commotion as he snoozes on a car bonnet. mother and baby

Mother and child.  I was amazed at how the baby hangs on while the mother forages.

stopped eating

My patience paid off – she finally stopped eating and tuned in to the world around her.  Hard to believe that I was sitting no more than two metres away from these wild animals and the mother seemed oblivious of my presence.

nightfall

Nightfall and the troop head for the safety of the trees to sleep.

It was an absolute privilage to observe this troop at such close range,  It’s what makes the tip of Africa such an amazing place to live.

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5 thoughts on “The Da Gama Park Baboons

  1. Chacma baboons are so cheeky, at least from my experience! It is always amusing to watch them try to get into people’s cars. The opportunity to observe nature up close is one of the best things in this world isn’t it? Lovely post.

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    • They are and quite comical too. This was an amazing experience and sadly I think unlikely to be repeated as some of the troops on the Peninsula became a problem, particularly on Garbage day so quite a number of rogues were culled when a new group of baboon monitors took over. You seldom see the Da Gama troop at the Naval stables anymore as they spend most of their time in the mountains now. It was only after pinching myself that this was real that I realised how lucky I was to be that up close and personal. The funny thing is I never once felt in danger or intimidated while I was with them.

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