Monkeying around with the Monas

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

January, 2024

Product name

Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary

Product country

Ghana

Product city

Tafi Atome Village

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Whilst touring Ghana we visited the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary, having stopped to buy bananas on route. On arrival, our guide Robert began by telling us that Mona monkeys have inhabited the tropical forest surrounding the small village of Tafi-Atome for years, and have been protected as it was believed they were messengers to the gods.

However, in 1996, they began broader efforts to protect their forest and monkeys, and started offering tours to visitors. Funds are ploughed back into the village with its population of 1,200, and as a result, they have built a community clinic and school.

Following their efforts, the monkey population increased and there are around 800 to 900 in the forest, living in 150 families. The gestation period is 4 months, they give birth twice a year and their life span is around 20 years. The monkeys are happy to mix with the community who provide them with water.

A couple of monkeys were waiting around the reception area and we wandered into the forest with Robert telling us that as long as we had bananas, the monkeys would be our friends, but once they were finished, the friendship would be over. He demonstrated how to hold the banana and as soon as we held up the fruit, we were jumped on literally by a monkey who sat on our shoulder, peeled and ate the banana. Once we were happy feeding with a single banana, we tried one in each hand, and it was all great fun.

A well-worn path led us further into the forest where we met a large papa monkey who we fed to judge his weight, as the Mona monkey is one of the smaller breeds. Various trees were also pointed out including a huge Kapok tree and a Ficus, which had encircled and killed a palm tree, before it fell during storms in 2021, when several other large trees were lost.

It was then a short walk along the road back to the centre, where we were invited to wash our hands and look in the gift shop where we bought small bottles of peanuts for 10 Cedi, less than £1.

The 50-minute tour was fun, and we took lots of photos but sadly our visit didn’t coincide with an annual fetish festival for the monkeys held in the first two weeks of February.

Helen Jackson

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