Mom and Sy Journey On: Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary!

After leaving the Wli Waterfalls, my mom and I traveled a few hours south to the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary. The monkey sanctuary is famous for its friendly mono monkeys. They are about the size of Aboo from Aladdin. There were no tro-tros that would take the path to the village, but there were motorcycle taxis. My mother, the Harley enthusiast, was thrilled at this. I was slightly less comfortable. Regardless, we did make it to the monkey village in one piece!

The village was quaint and our accomdations modest.

I especially liked these two pictures I took of the villagers pumping water.

Mom and I decided to explore the village since we had nothing to do until the next morning at six am, when we were to take our “monkey walk.” As we wandered, we found an interesting sign posted and decided to follow its direction.

We wandered down into a forest with lush vegetation and eventually came upon the cemetery.

As we walked around the tombstones, I heard some scuffling behind me. I turned around to see a troop of monkeys playing on the headstones.

Photograph courtesy of J.J. Martin

These monkeys were incredible! Definitely not afraid of humans at all. We got some really great shots.

Photograph courtesy of J.J. Martin


Photograph courtesy of J.J. Martin


Photograph courtesy of J.J. Martin


Apparently it was mating season…

Photograph courtesy of J.J. Martin

For dinner that night, we went to the Queen Mother’s house for dinner. The Queen Mother is like the female accompaniment to the village chief. When walking to dinner we met the only other guestof the village, a young man named Peter who happened to be from Washington, D.C. Small world considering I lived there for three years. So the three of us went off the dinner at the Queen Mother’s house. I wasn’t expecting anything fancy, but I was expecting something more than three eggs, tomato sauce and rice.

Three eggs total, meaning each of us got one egg, a little sauce, and some rice. I was still hungry after dinner, but I shouldn’t complain, I know there are people who go without. The food that we did eat was delicious, but there just wasn’t much of it.

The next morning we woke up at 5:30 and set out for our walk. The guide brought along a bag of bananas and as we got to the dirt road, he started making kissing noises. Out of nowhere, monkeys seems to fall from the sky, scuttle out of bushes and drape down from vines. He put a banana in my hand and told me to hold on tight. I asked why, and he said that the monkeys will try to steal the whole banana if you don’t!

It was so fun to see them run up to you and jump up on your arm, though at first I was a little scared.

The guide said that the people of the village believed that the monkeys were sacred. In fact, he said that no one has ever seen a dead monkey because when the monkeys die, they dissapear into thin air and return their spirits up to the sky.

That night my mom and I compared tan lines on our feet..

It is pretty embarassing that I win that competition, but I have been here three and a half months longer than she has!

I will leave you with this picture, I think my best monkey photo…

The next day we left for Tafi Abuipe and Ada Fouh.. more stories to come! Thanks for reading!






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  1. Gary Aquilina says:

    Great photos of an incredible part of the world.
    I wonder if these monkeys were this “friendly” towards humans 100 years ago?

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Alex says:

    I made the OOOO monkey photo my FB profile picture!! wooooo!!

  3. Lila says:

    I love how you used a cartoon character as a size reference for the monkeys! Glad you had a fun trip!

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