Our remaining days in Mana were as enchanting as the first, and we settled into a routine of waking up to the sounds of the bush, eating breakfast on the riverbank, then driving to a nearby pool for a walk and a chance to see more wildlife. Lunch was always a picnic, the afternoon was spent reading or having a siesta, had another game drive in the late afternoon and dinner under the moonlight.
The monkeys were always nearby, and were as mischievous as you’d expect.
During lunch one day, we were all sitting outside on the deck chairs as usual, and Ben went into the lodge to get something. He put his plate of food – spaghetti – on a table near our deck chairs and we continued chatting. Suddenly we heard a noise behind us, and saw that a monkey had jumped down from the trees above and was helping itself to Ben’s lunch! The monkey was half-sitting in the plate of food, spaghetti all over his hands and face, looking like some parody of a messy toddler.
We jumped up and shooed the monkey away, but he’d gotten away with nearly half of Ben’s food! We thought it hilarious, but learned a lesson in keeping our eyes open if we wanted to keep our meals to ourselves!
The monkeys entertained us in the evenings too – We ate our meals under an enormous tree next to the river – the very same tree where the monkeys slept. They had a tendency to relive themselves while they were sleeping in the tree, without warning. Every so often we’d find our conversation interrupted by a small shower falling from a branch nearby.
Monkeys had also raided the chalet down the road from us. The chalet windows had been left open, and the monkeys had climbed in and ‘had a Christmas party in there’, to use the National Parks official’s words! The naughty things had pulled cereal boxes down and left the remnants of food everywhere, spreading food and utensils across every surface. There are signs and noticeboards around the park saying that people should close windows when leaving the chalets, so the occupants knew they were at fault, and saw the funny side of the situation. Not many people can say that their kitchen was raided by a troupe of monkeys!