Cheeky Vervet Monkeys in Uganda

Vervet monkeys are some of the peskiest monkeys you can encounter throughout Africa, and yet they are among the most photogenic.

They ooze personality. One of my favorite series of shots I took in Uganda was of a drama of one vervet coveting a piece of fruit that another vervet was eating. The troupe, which was quite large, was very active, scavenging all around for food, the little ones rough-and-tumbling with one another, mothers suckling their strangely blue-skinned infants, older males screeching at one another. And in the middle of it all was this quiet drama. My heart went out to the little vervet on the left whose desire was so transparent. That looks so very, very yummy … how I wish I was eating that … Vervet monkeys in South AfricaI imagined that he would continue to sit there miserably without challenging the larger vervet. I was wrong. But I was surprised at how mild the encounter was. The larger vervet gave up pretty easily. The little one picked up the piece, and the expression on his face was so anthropomorphic … I know I look exactly like that when tasting some exquisite culinary creation. Oh the sweet sweetness. Vervet monkey eatingIt was obviously worth the effort he put into snagging the fruit from the larger vervet. I watched and photographed this little guy for several minutes as he relished his treat. For awhile, he inspected it very closely, as if pondering, How is it that this little disc is so delicious? How does this work?  He tried to pry the disc open, as if he suspected there might be an even greater treat inside, like the Tootsie Roll in the middle of a Tootsie Pop. But soon he gave up his intellectual pondering and got back to work simply savoring. I imagined him thinking, I’m going to lick this little fruit forever. I was so happy for him; his joy was so evident. I thought to myself that I must remember to enjoy the simple pleasures in life as much as this little guy. Vervet monkeys Thank you to Shara Johnson for this guest post including the terrific photos.  Shara plots her travels from her home in the mountains of Colorado, where she scrapes up travel money hosting other travellers in her B&B studio. You can follow her adventures abroad at



  1. Zhu January 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    They are super cute! I know, it’s a dumb comment. But they are, really 🙂

    • Shara January 7, 2013 at 3:55 am - Reply

      No comment of admiration is a dumb comment! Glad you enjoyed.

    • Laurel January 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      @Zhu – Totally agree and not at all!

  2. Sonja @ The {Happy} Travel Bug January 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    How adorable and I love the commentary…that seems to be exactly what those little monkeys are thinking. 😉

    • Shara January 7, 2013 at 3:57 am - Reply

      Thanks! Definitely part of my love of vervets is their striking anthropomorphic expressions. 🙂

    • Laurel January 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      @Sonja – Agreed, Shara did a fantastic job, it’s like you are right there with them.

  3. Guide2Uganda (@Guide2Uganda) January 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Nice post. Thank you for sharing your #Uganda travel experience. We look forward to hosting you here soon!

    • Laurel January 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      @Guide2Uganda – Thank you. I have never been to Uganda, but would love to. Plus I would love to see chimps as well, which I know are also found in Uganda.

    • Shara January 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you — I hope to return some day as well. Beautiful country.

  4. Jennifer January 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Great post and photos! Shara really managed to capture the longing for that piece of fruit. And these monkeys are so cute!

    • Laurel January 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      @Jennifer – Agreed, I really enjoyed this post from Shara and the first photo melts my heart. They’re just so darn cute!

    • Shara January 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jennifer. Out of literally thousands of photos of wildlife I have, these of the vervet with the fruit are truly some of my very favorite.

  5. Alex Gibson January 8, 2013 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Great post, I remember one time I living on the periphery of the Nairobi National Park, one day I woke up, openned my bedroom window and went out for breakfast. On returning, about an hour later, I found a black-and-white colobus monkey waking up from my bed, I shocked and at the same time amazed at how it stretched. On seeing me, it jumped out using the open window.

    • Laurel January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      @Alex – Such a cool story! Only in my dreams would I find a monkey sleeping in my bed. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shara January 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Ha ha that’s awesome!! I agree with Laurel, what a great story! Probably not many people can say they had a monkey sleeping in their bed (a colobus, nonetheless).

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