Samango Monkey


Samango monkey, Sykes’ monkey [Cercopithecus albogularis]


The Samango monkey males are larger than females and have a mass of 7 to 9 Kg, while females are 4 to 5 Kg. The tail of the Samango monkey of South Africa is a third longer than its body.
The fur on the head is dark grey to black, while the skin on its hands and feet are black. The upper limbs and flanks are pale and the belly and throat areas are a creamy white. The Samango males have larger muzzles to accommodate their protruding canines.


The Samango monkey feeds mainly on fruits, but also flowers, leaves and insects indigenous to South Africa. The Samango monkey male eats more fruit than females. The monkeys prefer to eat fruit in the mornings, then leaves in the afternoon and ends the day with a meal comprising of both.


The Samango monkey is a seasonal breeder, with females bearing young during the beginning of the warm rainy season in South Africa. After a gestation period of 140 days, a single infant is born.
The babies are carried by their mothers for two to three months and are weaned at 9 months old. In troops the female Samango monkeys have unsynchronised oestrus and the males compete for the attention of oestrus females.


Samango monkey live in troops with a harem social structure where one dominant male lives with many females. The females are all related and are highly territorial in the wild forests of South Africa.


The Samango monkey lives to inhabit dense, swamp-like forests found predominantly within KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Samango monkey is often seen in evergreen forests and rarely venture into forested areas smaller than 50-100 ha.

Where they are found

Samango monkey populations are not common or widespread in South Africa. They prefer coastal forest regions of the St. Lucia estuary in KwaZulu-Natal, and in the Afro-montane forests of Mpumalanga.
A subspecies of Samango monkeys occurs in the Afro-montane forests in the southern coastal regions of South Africa. These areas range from central and southern KwaZulu-Natal that extend into the Eastern Cape to just north of the Knysna forest. The subspecies have different coat colours.