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The new Bijilo Monkey Park in The Gambia is an absolute barrel of fun with green vervet and red colobus monkeys ready to take food from your hands. The monkeys are protected and absolutely safe and they know how to interact with humans – most of the time.
The Bijilo Monkey Park is definitely a destination we recommend.
If you’ve been to the new Monkey Park in The Gambia, tell us about your experience in the comments.
We felt absolutely safe the entire time we were interacting with the monkeys, even when they got into the fight on my shoulder.
The Monkey Park is in the center of the tourist area near Banjul and easy to access from anywhere along the coast. The actual entrance isn’t where the big sign is but a little way down the road.
Once you start walking into the forest reserve it doesn’t take long for monkeys to start appearing, especially if you bought peanuts and bananas at the entrance. For maximum interaction, we suggest you buy plenty. Both the red colobus and green vervet monkeys like peanuts, but only the vervets like bananas.
As you’ll see in the video, it pays to keep a little tighter hold on the bananas to get the monkeys to hang around. The green ones are your friends as long as you have food, the reds will hang around and interact for a bit even after the food is gone.
Tim and I filmed this on 2 different days. On our first visit Tim’s eyes were doing very poorly and he chose not to go in. When you see me with the green monkeys I’m a little deeper in the park, at the main feeding area.
On our second visit, we only had to go a little way in for Tim to get a lot of good interaction. Our guide was kind enough to provide him with a chair to help him enjoy the experience longer. There were more red monkeys in the front area on that day.
You don’t absolutely need a guide, but they do know some tricks for getting the best out of the monkeys and they’re also happy to take pictures and video for you.
While it’s not the most natural wild experience, it guarantees the monkeys are well taken care of. They were very polite and gentle, too. Much better than dealing with the criminal baboons of Mole Park in Ghana.
You can read about Tim’s encounter with the baboons here: https://www.teamhazardridesagain.com/mole-national-park-ghana-safari-tours/
Or you can read about his affair with the queen orangutan in Indonesia here: https://www.teamhazardridesagain.com/orangutan-tours-kalimantan-borneo-indonesia/
To be honest, if you’re visiting the Gambia and they have an animal that they can let you hold, feed or pet, they’ll do it. We actually got to touch a crocodile – but that’s a video for another time.
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Monkey Park and The Gambia FAQ
The Gambia is home to six primate species, including: vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, red patas monkeys, bush babies, baboons and chimpanzees. The green vervet and red colobus monkeys are the ones you’ll meet in the Monkey Park.
The weather year-round is quite good, but you might want to avoid the depths of the rainy season in August and September when mosquitos are plentiful and roads into some (more rural) areas may be washed out. The dry season, November to May, is considered ideal.
We went once in the late morning and once in the afternoon. Both were fine times and if you have bananas and peanuts the monkeys will definitely show up. If you’re there during a hot time of year we would recommend going earlier to avoid hiking and exertion in the heat of the day. The monkeys will be more lively as well.
The entrance fee is about $3USD. However, we highly recommend buying bananas and peanuts to feed the monkeys. Depending on how much you get, expect to spend another $3-7USD and if you opt for a guide, another $5-10USD (this price is negotiable).