Samango Monkey

Cercopithecus mitis

The Samango Monkey is one of South Africa’s less well-known primates, being restricted to the densely vegetated habitats along the coast and adjacent hinterland of the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal and the escarpment forests of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.

Samango Monkey (5)

Males are considerably stronger built than females, and weigh up to 11kg.

Samango Monkeys are to be found only in indigenous forests and on their edges, where they feed on fruits, flowers, leaves, seeds, insects, bark, eggs, nestlings and small mammals and reptiles. Troops number up to 70 individuals, though usually far fewer with 20 being the average, and are lead by between one and five adult males. They are strictly diurnal and much more arboreal than the vervet monkey, their better known and more widely distributed South African cousin. Single babies are born in the summer months. Forest predators, like leopards, crowned eagles and pythons, are their biggest natural enemies.

Known elsewhere in Africa as the Sykes’ or Blue Monkey, with several recognised subspecies, the race of Samango Monkey occurring in South Africa is considered “vulnerable” by the IUCN, as they occur mostly in small numbers in highly fragmented habitats, with little genetic exchange between subpopulations. We’ve encountered Samango Monkeys in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Tembe Elephant Park and in the Oribi Gorge, but it is only at Cape Vidal in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park that you’d be virtually guaranteed to see this special species as they’ve become quite habituated to the human presence and boldly raid even the best protected picnic basket…

These are all camera trap photos of samango monkeys at Cape Vidal


21 thoughts on “Samango Monkey

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    Dit was nou weer n leersame stuk hierdie. Mens is nooit te oud om te leer nie nê! Amper het ek die pos gemis. Was so besig en is agter met lees van belangrike poste. Dankie weereens vir die mooi fotos en ook die beskrywing!


  5. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    lovely photos; the word ‘samango’ intrigued me, because the people along ecuador’s coast call the saman tree , ‘samango…’ i thought perhaps there was a true link between their word and the name for thihs monkey…


    i am in town where the internet is faster and it’s my luck to see your post! miss you and hope one day to be online more often!


      1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        thanks for that clarification! we are all learning about another word of origin from africa – chikungunya.. i can testify that it means to walk bent.. but for most of us it’s to walk bent over and not up…

        hoppe all is well in your world!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. sustainabilitea

    I’ve never heard of these, so I really enjoyed your post. Every time I read “Limpopo”, I think of Kipling: “he came to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees…” 🙂



    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Glad to know we could introduce you to the Samango Monkey, Janet.

      Our Limpopo Province is named after exactly that river, mentioned in Kiplings writings. It forms the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe before flowing through Mozambique, and his description of it is spot-on!


  7. Midwestern Plant Girl

    This post looks like my family album! Hee hee 😉
    Great info. Thanks for introducing me to the Samango monkey 🐵



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