This primate sanctuary is named after the villages of Boabeng and Fiema in which is found. The sanctuary is a typical traditional African conservation project for more than 500 Mona monkeys and over 200 pied colobus monkeys.
Traditionally, the monkey is a sacred species of game in the Boabeng and Fiema community and thus highly regarded. The customs of each of the communities forbids the killing of these primates thus creating a tradition of conservation. In 1975, a formal law was passed to further imprint this conservation means in the local communities. This law stipulates that any one found guilty of killing a monkey is prosecuted and then sentenced to jail.
A traditional myth has it that whoever kills a monkey suffers a calamity. The story is told of a man, who killed a monkey in the 18th century and all his relatives died consequently. The rule also requires that anyone who kills a monkey accidentally should report. People of Boabeng-Fiema observe Fridays as special days for the monkey and do not go to the farm.
Campbell’s Mona Monkey
The sanctuary has more than 500 of these monkey identified by their brown color. They feed on forage, wild fruits, flowers and small insects like ants. They are also a major sight in many kitchens around the area-found stealing food.
Geoffrey’s Pied Columbus
These monkeys are identified by their brown and white colobus and recorded to be 200 in this sanctuary. The colobus monkeys feed on forage, mineral earth and tender stems. This specie although traditionally conserved in Boabeng and Fiema, it is classified as an endangered specie internationally.
There are several attractions in Boabeng-Fiema but one of the most popular is trekking for these jealously guarded primates. The tour guides always heads forth for all forest walks and introduces you the different species of plants, flowers, butterflies, insects and birds.
The cemetery in the sanctuary is a sight to reckon. The monkeys, priests and priestesses have been buried at this site. The lifespan of the different monkeys is around 30 and 50 years. There are graves that have inscriptions like “Adult Male Mona Monkey, Buried on 5th December 1987” and “Baby Male Mona, Juvenile Male Mona, Buried on 7th March 1993”. There are graves, which also have names of priests and priestess, like Afia Boahen in the cemetery. The monkeys are also buried in a coffin or an empty key soap carton they are always covered with white calico before burial.
Cultural tours of the Boabeng and Fiema villages are the best way to interact with the local people and you’ll be surprised by the sight of monkeys in different homesteads. One thing to note and remember for all village tours is to respect the local people.
There is a guest house at the sanctuary with comfortable accommodation. The guest also offers camping space and tourist facilities such as shower, flashing toilets and a borehole.