Leader of the pack
Leader of the pack

This large male Chacma baboon turned out to be a rather scary problem at the Nkuhlu picnic site in Kruger. I took this picture when he came to see whether we were getting food out of the car (only money and cameras); later when my sister did have food in her hand he ran very aggressively towards her and she ended up having to throw the food at him. Apparently our group was an easy target as it was an all girls expedition (no dominant male!). Baboon troops did seem to be causing lots of hassles at many of the picnic sites in Kruger, always looking for an easy meal. The staff do their best to discourage them – at Tshokwane the weapon of choice was a handy till roll, wielded very accurately.

The youngsters were still fun to watch from the safety of the vehicle. These guys were having a wonderful time chasing each other up and down the tree, just like a bunch of school kids at recess. Fun as the juvenile baboons are, I still prefer Vervet monkeys. I think they remind me of my childhood – growing up in an area where there was still lots of natural bush and troops of monkeys that used to race across the roof, ignoring the dog’s frantic barking.

I love the way they sit with their tails hanging straight down, grooming each other even though they were rather damp from the earlier rain. They have very sweet faces; somewhat misleading as they can be just as much of a pest as the baboons. My niece was keen to adopt the cute young vervet in the picture below, but we persuaded her to make do with a fluffy toy.

Young vervet portrait
Young vervet portrait
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