The African Baboon – Watch Your Belongings!

by Sandy Salle on July 9, 2014

Africa baboon

Article by Amanda Evans, CEO of Hills of Africa Travel

Baboons. They are anything but timid. They are actually comfortable (a little too comfortable) hanging out near humans. Capetonians see these clever creatures as quite a nuisance. Their relative comfort and acclimatization over the years has made them bold and the hoards of tourists laughing at their antics and snapping photos has not helped.There are tales of baboons breaking into homes, stealing purses, opening car doors and more.

During our Cape Peninsula Tour through Cape Town and its surrounding villages / towns, our fabulous guide, Mark, cautioned us about keeping our bags and cameras attached to us and when you get out of the car, be quick about it and lock it behind you. Baboons are smarter and quicker than you know. Because our guide had given us such fantastic preparation, I wasn’t too concerned and the baboons never bothered us.

But just as we were pulling off from the Cape of Good Hope, I saw a group of tourists freaking out as a baboon had just opened their car door and was sitting inside noshing on a pack of gum he had just pillaged. A word of caution: listen to your guides! Don’t feed the monkeys!

Unfortunately, baboons are found in urban areas because their habitats have been taken over by humans moving into the once rural areas. The baboons never moved on, though, and found that where humans are, food usually is. Humans are also the cause of many baboon deaths as baboons are seen as pests.

Baboons not only can be witnessed in and around the Cape Town area, but they are also found throughout much of Africa. They can easily adapt to various environments and can even be found on the outskirts of cities—like I said, they are certainly not afraid of humans and love left overs that humans leave behind.

There are five species of baboon that are all found in Africa (and some of the species are also found in Asia). Baboon individuals can weigh between 50 – 100 lbs. so they are considered to be one of the largest primates in the world. They also travel in troops that can be as large as 300 individuals and utilize over 30 different vocal variations so they can be quite loud! It’s crazy to even imagine that many baboons in one area, shrieking nonetheless . . .

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