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CatherineReichardt Says: (work in progress)For me, one of the nicest things about Pringle Bay is that the succulent strandveld vegetation extends all the way down to the sea shore - in many other parts of the Cape, the vegetation of the coastal fringe is scrubby and unattractive. The colour contrast...
CatherineReichardt Says: (work in progress)Whatever possessed someone to build the infamous Pringle Bay 'igloos' - let alone in a setting this beautiful - I'll never know, but hideous or not, they have become a local landmark. Although they were white when we last visited, I have seen pictures of...
(work in progress)
Who's that knocking on the sliding door? Uh oh, it's your least favourite neighbours - the local baboon troop, bent on creating mayhem and trawling destruction in their wake.
Many coastal towns in the Cape have a baboon problem, and Pringle Bay's baboon woes are more serious than most. Baboons are opportunistic scavengers and are attracted into human settlements by the prospect of easy food. They readily become habituated to human contact, which makes them all the more dangerous, because they will stand their ground and challenge humans rather than running away.
Male baboons grow up to 120cm in height and 40kg in weight and have sharp claws and ferocious canine teeth that they will not hesitate to use if they feel threatened.
The problem is most serious at Cape Point, where tourists feeding the baboons has caused them to lose their fear of humans. When our daughter was less than two and we were pushing her in pushchair (stroller), a huge male bounded out of the bushes and stole her icecream cone from her hand, leaving her fortunately unhurt but pretty traumatised. I have also had them jump into the open door of a car when I was stupid enough to open both back doors at once and they could smell food in the car.
How do you deal with this? Well, the most obvious thing is to keep all doors and windows closed - which is a pity, as the outdoor lifestyle is probably what attracted you to visit in the first place. This doesn't mean that you have to be a prisoner in your accommodation, but be sensible, don't leave food lying around unattended (which also means securing dustbins) and close all windows and doors before you go out - this is good advice anyway in South Africa, in order to deter human intruders.
If you are confronted by a baboon in an enclosed space (such as a house or car), stay calm. Like dogs, they consider eye contact to be aggression, so don't look them in the eye. They are most dangerous when they are cornered, so move slowly and try and position yourself so that you create an 'escape route' for them, and if they don't take this option, then make an unexpected loud noise to startle them into fleeing.
If you encounter a baboon out of doors, then the best option is to leave them alone. If however they pose an unacceptable threat (for example, they are close to a child), making a sudden loud noise or spraying them with water will probably be enough to make them take evasive action - again, before you do this, make sure that you have left them an escape route to use.
Updated Apr 12, 2012