Throughout my time in Cape Town, it was often necessary to keep an eye out for these huge marauding primates that roam throughout South Africa. These things are dangerous!
Baboons are found all around Cape Town. Around this city, I found Cape Point to be a very bad place for their congregation. They roam around, even in the middle of the roads, making cars slow down or wait until they have crossed. At times, although I never saw it happen, the baboons can climb on top of the cars in the middle of the road or in car parks, just like what you see in the zoo and wildlife parks. Most of the time, the baboons I saw were happy to just leave me alone, although they are not the kind of primates that should be messed with! After all, they often eat baby antelopes alive, so I am sure they would not be too scared of stealing your backpack to rummage for food and drink! I did see this happen quite a few times nearer to the coastline. Some backpackers find it quite funny, and get their phone out to take some video footage. They should not be too carefree as that – as the baboons are not here to be messed with!
But it’s not just at Cape Point where you are among the baboons. Wherever you go in Cape Town, you can sure of bumping into a baboon clan. In this respect, they are just like the monkeys of Asia and India, where on every street corner or jungle canopy, you can see them playing and eating (usually eating something they have just stolen from a tourist!). But baboons are obviously more dangerous than your average monkey – and they are certainly more intelligent, as you will find out if you are fortunate enough to observe them discreetly from a safe distance. If you get too close, or arouse suspicion, then their attention will be drawn to you, and who knows what you might lose in the process – certainly your dignity!
I had almost forgotten I was in Africa during my stay in Cape Town. It seemed like any other city to me (albeit one of my favourites), and not one that was constantly ravaged by wild baboons. But then again, this is Africa, and I guess I was lucky to avoid the ferocious crocodiles and deadly lions that live further north of the city! However, despite enjoying myself overwhelmingly in Cape Town, I remembered that just like with monkeys in Asia, it is always wise to keep you wits about you – and your backpack about you – when there are baboons around!
For some more information on baboons, check out this site on how to deal with their aggressive behaviour.