Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary is easily one of the most fantastic places I’ve been to in Ghana. After spending the night nearby at Wli waterfall, we bought $2 of bananas, hopped in a taxi, and made our way to the monkeys. These little guys awaited us…
A bit of history about the monkey sanctuary:
With the spread of Christianity in Ghana, the Traditionalist belief of worshipping animals became a taboo. With people no longer viewing animals as sacred, they killed the monkeys in Tafi Atome to near-extinction.
In 1993, John Mason, became the director of ecotourism. He convinced the villagers of the economic benefits of protecting the monkeys, and the Monkey Sanctuary has been in existence since then.
The monkeys we saw were adult mona monkeys. As soon as the monkeys discovered us, the leader ‘claimed Mama’ by peeing on her head from a distant tree above us. Somehow he knew that she was the only female in our group, despite being high above us. Logan and I saw this happening, but we were too stunned to tell her to move.
Mona monkeys travel in families, which consist of 30-50 monkeys. There are five families in Tafi Atome.
The female monkeys have kangaroo-like pouches that hold their babies inside.
Bananas don’t grow naturally in their forest, so the monkeys go crazy when tourists visit. After 15 minutes of feeding the slightly-aggressive adult monkeys, the guide took us further into the forest and started calling the younger ones. With bananas as incentives, these monkeys jumped all over our arms and shoulders in pursuit of the precious fruit. Logan was awestruck when he made his first monkey friend.
Followed by his second…
Eventually, the monkeys couldn’t get enough of him.
Soon the monkeys discovered Mama.
Her monkey-butt disgust quickly succumbed to laughter.
And gradually, she began enjoying the monkeys’ presence and tried to converse with them.
Now onto my reactions. At first, being jumped on by monkeys overwhelmed me just as it did Logan and Mama before me. [Please ignore my 4 chins.]
I came to love my four-legged friends, and can’t wait until my next visit to the sanctuary [or until I own one as a pet!]