Observing Endangered Samango Monkeys in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

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The Samango Monkey is Endangered but you can find them in iSimangaliso Wetland Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa.

Where is Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Isimangaliso Wetland Park is located in Kwazulu Natal Province, South Africa and is home to the endangered Samango Monkey. iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder which is an apt description of the Wetland Park and its many fascinating inhabitants.

Samango monkey in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

The park, which comprises an incredible 280 km of protected coastline, 25 000-year-old sand dunes and is home to not only some of the Big 5 but also 1200 Crocodiles and 800 Hippopotami! 

Related Reading: Up Close with Hippos in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa


Samango monkey in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

The Samango Monkey

Samango Monkeys are usually Dark Grey to Black and their tails can be a third longer than their bodies. Their tails really help in the way they move around and being sneaky about getting their food. Their bellies and throats are a cream-white which creates a beautiful contrast with their dark coats. You’ll most likely find them hanging out in trees planning their next meals.

Related Reading: Drakensberg Adventures Beneath Cathedral Peak

My First Impression of The Samango Monkey

I hopped out of our safari truck and asked our guide from Heritage Tours and Safaris where the best place was to spot Samango Monkeys.

It turns out it was right above where we parked. I turned my head up to find a monkey uncharacteristically quietly observing me. This was strange since usually, you hear the distinctive tweets of the Samango monkeys long before you see them.

Our guide surmised that she was being sneaky. The Samango monkeys at Cape Vidal are notorious for stealing lunches carelessly left out in the open. Fruit is a favourite, especially by the males who have more of a sweet tooth than the females do. Hmmm…I wonder if that includes chocolate too?

Related Reading: Rock Art and African Spirituality: Exploring South Africa’s Caves

Samango Monkey Families

I can confidently say “she” since Samango monkeys live in harems with one male surrounded by females and his young, which can be as large as 35 individuals. The thought of competing for one male’s attention with 20+ other females stresses me out, although it does make for good reality TV – maybe the these guys were the inspiration for the TV show The Bachelor?

But the troop was peaceful when we were there. Chirping away, curious, intelligent eyes not missing a thing – or any opportunity to steal a piece of fruit.

I would definitely add them to my The Best Places to Visit in South Africa for Wildlife list that is a must-see when visiting South Africa.


Samango monkey in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
A Samango monkey making new friends?

Why is The Samango Monkey Endangered?

This endangered monkey is found in moist forests which only cover about 1% of South Africa, a large part of which can be found in Cape Vidal in the iSimangalaliso Wetland Park. 

A lot of their natural habitat is being destroyed or exploited and Samango Monkeys are not able to adapt to different habitats. The Samango Monkey is endangered mainly due to habitat loss. This is why it was such a treat to be able to observe them in iSimangaliso Wetland Park!

Where Else To Spot the Samango Monkey

You’ll find the Samango Monkey in moist forests all over Africa, including Ethiopia. In fact, The Samango Monkey is not widespread or common to South Africa. Nonetheless, there are some great areas where they can be spotted such as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

You will also find this endangered monkey in portions of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The Park has been actively trying to improve habitat in order to help these endangered monkeys population to grow. You will also find small populations of the Samango Monkey in the Magoebaskloof area in northern South Africa.?

Visitor Info for iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Where to stay in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

 I highly recommend staying at Umlilo Lodge where I stayed. It’s the most serene guest house that I’ve ever stayed in. The Lodge even offers traditional dinners for people that want a real African experience.

Best Tours

Increase your chance of spotting Samango monkeys, other wildlife, and even a leopard if you’re really lucky by booking a tour with Heritage Tours and Safaris.

Their guides are passionate, knowledgeable and I swear they have eyes in the back of their heads. They’re incredible at spotting wildlife. I also visited Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park and did a Hippo and Croc Safari with Heritage Tours and Safari and saw WAY more wildlife than I would have on my own.

Best Way to Get Around

While I highly recommend doing the safari tours with knowledgable guides, I also recommend renting a car since it makes it much easier to get to St. Lucia and in general for getting around South Africa.

Thanks to our guide for his tips which meant that my lunch didn’t get stolen by adorable, but mischievous Samango Monkeys.


samango monkey

Thank you to Heritage Tours and Safari for providing me with the incredible opportunity to observe endangered Samango monkeys in iSimangaliso Wetland Park.As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

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