The Beautiful Story Of Boabeng Sanctuary Filled With Sacred Monkeys

The Boabeng Fiema monkey sanctuary is a wonderful mix of conservation, mystery and beliefs. It is home to two of the rarest monkey species in the world – Campbell’s Mona and the black-and-white Colobus.

Indeed, Ghana boasts of a number of beautiful tourism sites visited by travellers from across the world. However, the monkey asylum continues to be one of the most unique, rare, and interesting places to visit in the country.

This sanctuary is nestled inside a forest, and has been created, protected, and encircled by the two adjacent communities – Boabeng and Fiema.

A the sanctuary, there is always an eerie feeling about being in the sanctuary, which tickles the human psyche.

About The Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary:

The Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary came into existence in the 1970s. This 4.4-kilometre square forest was home to more than 700 monkeys. Other than the two sacred species, the sanctuary also houses other monkey species including the vervet and patas monkey, several birds, reptiles and deers.

Before I delve into my trip to this splendid place, here are a few things that will help you understand the destination better:

Brong Ahafo Region, South Ghana

Closest airport

Official language

Best time to visit
December to April

Getting there
By taxi, uber, bolt etc. and even by tro tro (local public transport taxi service)

Safety level:
Moderate to high

The Mona and Colobus monkeys

Spending a day at the Boabeng Fiema monkey sanctuary was a completely different experience. It almost felt like I was living in a parallel universe. A universe characterized by completely different thoughts, beliefs, and way of life.

The 2 species of monkeys found here are definitely exotic, but there’s more to it. In addition to being rare, they’re considered to be sacred by the villagers. This is not a gimmick to attract tourists, but I had the opportunity to hear the story behind it.

Several years ago, a hunter from Boabeng went hunting into the forest. Out of nowhere, he noticed a fetish Daworo (fortune teller for the gods of the village) surrounded by a troop of monkeys.

Ada Foah Ghana – A One In All Tourism Area!!

Note: A fetish is an object that’s worshipped because of its supposed magical/spiritual powers.

He did not shoot any of the monkeys, despite the craving urge to do so. It almost felt as if he was hypnotized by them. Intrigued by this sight, the hunter decided to bring the fetish home. The monkeys watched all of this and started following him to his hut.

The villagers were fascinated and decided to consult a ‘Shaman‘. The shaman told them of the special relationship between the fetish and the troop of monkeys. Apparently, the monkeys were offsprings of the fetish Daworo.

It was following this very incident, that the monkeys were declared sacred. Consequently, no harm must be done to any of them, and they must be treated supremely.

It is also said that the fortunes of the hunter grew with time. This is attributed to the magical powers of the fetish and the monkeys.

The Strange Story:

It is said that whoever causes harm to these monkeys, will endure sufferings. Years ago, a man was said to have killed a monkey (the reason is unclear). Following this incident, the attacker and his relatives died one by one until they all ‘vanished’ from earth.

Similarly, if anyone chases away the monkeys from the village, they will be chased away from the village themselves too.

Listening to the story, It all sounded creepy to me, but almost every belief was validated by an anecdote. Perhaps, the monkeys are truly sacred.

Their Protection:

The belief in the sacredness of the monkeys did not dwindle over the years.

In 1971, a native of Boabeng thought of having the Boabeng Fiema Monkey sanctuary protected. Meetings were set up between the elders of the 2 villages. He also wrote letters to the Department of Game and Wildlife of Ghana.

Finally, officials agreed to the villagers’ requests, and the sanctuary was started in 1974. Ever since, monkeys and villagers have co-existed happily.

Locals believe that when a group of the black-and-white Colobus monkeys emits a weird sound between 11 PM and midnight, an elderly from either of the 2 villages will die.

There has undoubtedly been an emotional get along between both parties – the monkeys and the inhabitants of the villages. This is an extraordinary connection and has only gotten stronger over the years.

Their Food:

The monkeys in this sanctuary are well-fed. As per locals, they visit the villages every morning and every evening to feed. Once they are satisfied with their meal, they make their way back to the forest.

Often, they are also found engaging in typical monkey behaviour – stealing food. However, this is something that is not only accepted but often encouraged by villagers. I guess that’s the power of belief.

When They Die:

As strange as it sounds, in one section of the forest, a cemetery has been set up for the monkeys. When any of the monkeys die, funeral rites are held just as they would be for human beings.

It is also believed that when the monkeys know they are going to die, they make their way back to the sanctuary, to ensure they’re buried there.

China’s Tourism Sector Is Still Strong And Kicking!

No distinction is made between monkeys and human beings here. The only difference is that monkeys are placed on a much higher pedestal. Each monkey has its own grave with inscriptions of which species it was, and when it died. Weird, right?

There ought to be something special about the monkeys if this is how especially they’re treated. This sanctuary has attracted the interest of various research groups, and I now understand why.

Other details you’d want to know about your visit to the Boabeng Fiema monkey sanctuary.

Entrance Fees:

For what the sanctuary has to offer, the fee is very moderate.

When to Visit

The sanctuary is open through the week. However, Fridays are supposedly an interesting day to visit. This is because Fridays are observed as a special day for monkeys in Boabeng and Fiema. People from the villages do not go farming and some even hold special rites.

Lastly, whatever day you’re visiting on, try making it to the sanctuary in the morning. This is the monkeys’ mealtime, and you will get to feed them and see them in big numbers. So, try reaching the forest around 8 AM.

The monkeys of Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary are extremely sociable with visitors and inhabitants.

Honey On Sale:

Apart from the wonderful memories and tales told by your guide, you can take back bottles of local honey from the sanctuary. These are cheap, and on sale right at the entrance. In case you’re interested, you can also check out the crafts shop.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *