In search of Mankey at Monkeyland

Chasing the Rainbow Square

Port Elizabeth’s Dirsuwei family – mom Sarah, dad Ralph and their three sons – Jacob, 16, Luke, 14, and Cian, 11, are on a mission to explore the world together, spreading positivity about South Africa through their travel blog, Chasing the Rainbow. Today they head for Monkeyland for a Poke-A-Tour

Poke-A-Tours at Monkeyland

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm. Hundreds of millions of people have downloaded the game and can be seen walking around everywhere with their smartphone at the end of their extended arm, searching for Pokémon creatures.

We headed to Monkeyland, just outside Plettenberg Bay to see what all the fuss is about.

Charmander welcoming guests to Monkeyland

Monkeyland is heaven on earth for monkeys, humans and as turns out, Pokémon. It is in an 18Ha unspoilt indigenous forest and contains 11 species of happy primates. This is the first and only multi-species free-roaming primate sanctuary in the whole world!

A Ringtail Lemur with her gorgeous baby

We downloaded Pokémon Go for our kids a few weeks back but were battling to get the hang of it. We set up our character, learnt how to throw a ball at a creature to catch it, and then just got a blank green screen with nothing in sight. There didn’t seem to be much Poké-action on our small-holding in our quiet suburb.

So when we saw that Monkeyland offers special Poke-A-Tours for Pokémon Go enthusiasts through its monkey-laden forest, we were really excited to check it out. Resident Poké-expert Vijver Jonck explained to us that Monkeyland is just perfect for Poké-people as it contains a few PokéStops where you can stock up on Poké balls (which you have to throw at the creatures to catch them) as well as loads of free-roaming Pokémon playing among the primates, invisible to the human eye, but clearly evident when looking though the Pokémon Go app.

Eevee, Bulbasaur and Clefairy playing among the primates

You don’t have to be an expert to do the tour. Vijver patiently showed Cian and Luke exactly how to play the game and helped them spot and catch their first Pokémon. They got the hang of it really quickly and as we wandered between the sun-tanning lemurs, cheeky squirrel monkeys, greedy capuchins and fluffy gibbons the kids cried out in delight as they spotted and bagged Eevee, Weedle, Nidoran and Charmander.

Vijver showing Cian and Luke how to play the game

Magic at Monkeyland

Monkeyland offers prizes during the Poke-A-Tour with challenges like photographing a Mankey in front of a Monkey. The tour ends in the parking lot where they drop some Pokémon Go lures which if you are lucky will attract some rare specimens.

Pokemon Go tours are offered at Monkeyland Picture: Sarah Dirsuwei, Chasing the Rainbow
A Mankey and some monkeys

Vijver says, “Lately Monkeyland’s forest has become a real magical place with not only loads of baby monkeys around to entertain you but also a lot of Fairy type Pokémon (Clefairy, Clefable and Jigglypuffs are everywhere). Other types are Water (Squirtle has been showing up daily along with Poliwag, Poliwhirl and even an elusive Poliwrath) and Grass (Bulbasaur, Oddish, Gloom and even Vileplume are lurking about).” Don’t you just LOVE these names!

The Poke-A-Tour lasts an hour and costs R70 per person, which is great value considering the usual guided safari is R190. While you wander around with your phone at arm’s length, you also get a run-down on the amazing primates that dwell at Monkeyland.

Although Ralph, Jacob and I listened to all the amazing facts and monkey stories, Cian and Luke were in their own little Poké-world – much more intent on catching some of these colourful little fantasy creatures than on the incredible real creatures around them.

The next scheduled Poke-A-Tour is on Saturday 22 October at 10am. You can book through the Plett Pokemon Go Facebook Group page –

And if Pokémon hunting does not sound like your thing, Monkeyland still offers its regular daily free access to its restaurant viewing deck and guided daily walking safaris through the monkeys in the forest and over its impressive suspension bridge (the longest in Africa).

All in all a fun-filled and affordable family outing!
Walking across Monkeyland’s suspension bridge
The Nitty Gritty

Monkeyland: Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary
To stay up to date with the future dates for Poke-A-Tours, e-mail your details to or keep an eye on the Plett Pokemon Go Facebook Group page
You can also schedule a tour on your preferred date if you are a group of 7 or more.

See more from the Dirsuwei family at

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