Spread the Positive Word About Vervet Monkeys and Our Environment! Tell your family and friends about why Vervets are so important to our environment and that they must be protected – try to get family, friends and neighbours who live close enough to Bambelela to go on a day visit to us to learn about the Vervets first hand – it really helps when they take our tour and hear about our work…
We have 3 lovely thatched brick built chalets for you to stay in at Bambelela! They are situated right down in the valley, near the Groot Nylsoog River, just before you reach our Animal Rehabilitation Area and are in a lovely peaceful spot to relax, unwind, read and sunbathe, each with their own braai (barbecue) facilities and patio. Full DSTV viewing is available at our pool lapa (thatched hut)….
Sue Holme, aided by Qualified Field Guides and volunteers, runs the education programme for our day visitors.The tour is suitable for all ages but, as the ground is rather uneven in parts, it may be difficult for wheelchair users, for which we apologise. Sturdy footwear is recommended; a hat and sun cream are a ‘must’ in good weather. Our lovely new on-site Curio Shop and Kiosk now sells monkey product donations…
The Bambelela Wildlife Care and Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Facility is located 20km out of Bela Bela in Limpopo, South Africa. Silke von Eynern, the founder and major benefactor of the facility, originally immigrated to South Africa from Germany in 1990, with her late husband. After his death in 1997 she decided to dedicate her life and savings towards the care and conservation of South African Wildlife and so Bambelela (which means “to hold on” in Zulu) came into being in December 2003.
The original objective was to reintroduce game into the Groot Nylsoog area of the Waterberg. She purchased five Blue Wildebeest, but upon their arrival quickly determined that the animals were only a couple of days old. One died that first night; however, with the advice and assistance of Brian Jones from Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) Rehab in Hoedspruit, she managed to pull the other four through.
About Vervet Monkeys
Complex but stable groups (called troops) of 10-50 individuals consist of adult females and their immature offspring and 1 or more mature males. Males transfer out of these troops up to 7 times in their life span. Within the troop, each adult female is the center of a small family network. Females born into the troop – generally stay in the troop. Grooming is important in a monkey’s life – Vervets (as well as most other primates) spend several hours a day removing parasites, dirt or other material from one another’s fur.
In the primates’ hierarchy, dominant individuals get the most grooming. The hierarchical system also controls feeding, mating, fighting, friendships and even survival. Leaves and young shoots are most important in the diet, but bark, flowers, fruit, bulbs, roots and grass seeds are also consumed. The mainly vegetarian diet is supplemented with insects, grubs, eggs and baby birds.
Vervets love living at riverines and can often been seen swimming in the water….
The majority of our South African and International volunteers are individuals – students, young people and the not-so-young (!), who stay with us for a minimum of 2 weeks and the honest truth is that we simply couldn’t cope without them!
We have a very small number of permanent and long term volunteer staff who really need the help of our many shorter term volunteer. We have to ask volunteers to pay for the opportunity to work with us – this covers their meals and accommodation, activities and a donation to help us with the costs of running Bambelela, which are extensive. Feeding our monkeys alone costs over 30,000 Rand per month and electricity costs are very high in winter….
Since its inception Bambelela has been funded to the tune of 2.5 million Rand by Silke. She has used all her savings for the building and maintenance of the facilities, the running of the center and the caring of wild animals, including their daily expenses of food and medicines.
At the moment Bambelela is running at monthly losses of between 10,000 and 20,000 Rand, which is not sustainable. In order to keep monthly expenses to a minimum, Silke has over the years relied on non-paid and non-paying Volunteers to help their with the wildlife care. She has now decided that she must ask volunteers for a monthly contribution towards volunteer accommodation, food, laundry costs etc., in the same way that other centres do….
Become A Guardian Angel
The vervet monkey is currently listed as a vulnerable species on Appendix Two of CITES (Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species). The farming community is responsible for the majority of the orphaned vervet monkey babies (most often the mothers are shot by farmers).
Get involved by becoming a ‘Guarding Angel’ and make a difference in saving these endangered primates.