International Number (Toll Free):
“A baboon in a forest is a matter of legitimate speculation; a baboon in a zoo is an object of public curiosity; but a baboon in your wife’s bed is a cause of the gravest concern.”
– Winston Churchill
There are certain certain things in Cape Town. Certain things you can be certain of.
For instance, you can be certain that you can’t be certain that the weather will stay the same.
And, whatever the season, you can be certain to see naked people at Sandy Bay. Men selling jokes at traffic lights. Flashing lights on Lion’s Head on full moon nights. Gay men in Green Point. Models at Camps Bay. Bearded hipsters on Kloof Street dressed in flannel or double denim, depending on the ironically unfashionable fashion of that week. Penguins at Boulders. Every nationality in the world at the V&A Waterfront. Except the Amazonians… they prefer Canal Walk.
And baboons at Cape Point.
People go on and on about them. Tour guides, brochures, locals, tourists, the media…
Just do a Google search and these pics come up:
Helloooo breakfast! [Source: BBC News]
Get out of my way! I gots chips to eat! [Source: News24.com]
Go to Cape Point, or the Cape of Good Hope, and a troop of baboons will steal the ice-cream swirl right off your wafer cone. They’ll snatch the backpack from your arms as you board the funicular to the lighthouse. It’s true.
Yes, those stealthy, menacingly intelligent baboons with their cute pink bums and blue steel stares…
“Paint me like one of your French girls…”
Being a Capetonian I know baboons well. Well enough to know they’re cuter from behind your closed car window. And not when they raid your home for fruits and peanut butter.
But the group of tourists I was travelling with, on a scheduled day tour of the peninsula with RhinoTripping, had only seen baboons on “Cow & Chicken” cartoons and were so keen to see the monkeys that they seemed disappointed when they were nowhere in sight. Luckily the tourists were headed on safari next. Baboons would be the least of their excitement in the Sabi Sand.
If anything I was prime bait, harbouring apples in my rucksack as I hiked down from the lighthouse to the car park at Cape Point.
This guy should have been around the corner waiting for me…
But only bontebok and rogue ostriches came out to greet us. The baboons were gone. Gone fishing, our guide joked. Although they really are very good fishermen, those stealthy, menacingly intelligent baboons. Specifically the ones at Cape Point, which harvest shellfish from the shore.
Maybe Cape Town was just having an Old Tour Guide day. One of those days when the same ol’ gets a little boring and the guide revs things up for his own kicks, like spinning the catamaran and its bronzed passengers into the oncoming six metre wave. Ha ha ha, wet tourists! What a laugh! All guides are guilty of Old Tour Guide syndrome. Skippers, mountain guides, taxi cab drivers… and the city of Cape Town itself.
Our trip began in the city centre and headed out to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, along the coast to the penguins in Boulder’s Beach, to the tip of Cape Point and back again past Hout Bay and Camps Bay (see full itinerary here). It started out with raincoats, wool scarves and blue fingers – although the Bostonian tourists seemed less phased. It ended with sunny skies and wispy white clouds that made for great panoramic photographs.
So while there are certain certain things in Cape Town, it’s probably best not to try to be too certain. Let the tour guide hold the reigns and go along with the ride. And if you really have your heart set on seeing baboons, they’ll probably jump out when you least expect it.
Thank you RhinoTripping for a great day out!
“Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare it is simply disgraceful.”
– Aldous Huxley
For more information about this Cape Point tour as well as other day tours with Rhino Tripping, read our blog, Day Tours with Rhino Africa, and contact one of our travel consultants.
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Tamlin has been exploring, writing about and photographing Africa ever since her first job as a photojournalist for Getaway Magazine. She's lived on an island, eaten with lions, sailed catamarans in the Indian Ocean, tracked wild dogs with Kinglsey Holgate, and white water rafted down the Zambezi and has kept just about every airplane ticket that has crossed her hands.
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