I had visited a Monkey Sanctuary in the Volta Region a couple of times so I assumed this one at Boabeng Fiema would be similar. Actually, it had so much more to offer. Here there are 2 breeds of monkeys, Mona and Colobus, although the latter are very shy and not often seen clearly as they inhabit the higher branches of trees.
Our guide was delightful, very informative and enthusiastic about his home village. The walk to it took us through another beautiful forest with some fantastic tree formations and yet more gorgeous butterflies. It wasn’t until we arrived in the village that the monkeys became obvious.
Evidently, they are the most accurate timekeepers in Ghana! They know exactly when the women are cooking and arrive in the village morning and evening to claim any food that is inadvertently left uncovered. The villagers were again very welcoming to us and the monkey, surprisingly. They know when tourists are “buttering their bread” though.
There are many stories about the history of monkeys in this settlement. One of these was told to us by our guide whilst we were standing in the monkey graveyard. A former chief was able to use his powers to turn his warriors into monkeys to confuse their enemies when fighting in the forest. Unfortunately, he was killed before he could change them back into human form. Since that day, generations of monkeys have been born and they are all assumed to be descendants of those warriors, therefore worthy of protection and a funeral with a dedicated grave when they die. Other stories involve Fetish Priests who have an understanding with the monkeys and who are buried in the same graveyard.
This was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. We hadn’t spotted Colobus monkeys until we returned to the entrance to the sanctuary and there was a small group waiting for us in the trees. We missed nothing. We were taken to a carver’s workshop…..of course, and his work was skilful. Needless to say I needed an African mask…….of course!