Vervet Monkey

The vervet monkey is common across Southern Africa and may frequently be spotted from your safari accommodation.

Need Advice?


They are one of the smaller common primate species found throughout South and Southern Africa. Vervet monkeys have pale grey fur covering their entire bodies from head to tail, with the only bare skin being their black faces surrounded by a hair like mane and their blue bottoms that stick out from beneath their long tails.


They are widespread throughout the great continent of Africa. Their range starts in the Western Cape of South Africa near the coastline. They are extensively found next to major rivers in South Africa due to their water dependence. The eastern coast of Africa, from KwaZulu Natal to Kenya, has substantial populations.

Vervet Monkey
Scientific Name
Chlorocebus pygerythrus
3.9-8 kg (M) 3.4-5.3 kg (f)
420-600mm (M) 300-495mm (F)
Mating Season
Throughout the year


They are a common primate species without the threat of extinction or endangerment. Wherever you go in South Africa, whether in Kruger Park or the Cape, you will likely see vervet monkeys near your lodge. They have significant populations throughout the country and are plentiful even outside South Africa’s borders. The only threat to the species is their need for water, which explains its scattered population. Human interference hasn’t affected the vervet monkey’s health as a species as much as other animals.


They are present in many different habitats with vastly different vegetation types. Savannah and woodland are preferred, while sub-tropical and tropical forests are also home to these monkeys. These primates will inhabit any area with enough water to survive. Rural and agricultural areas are also inhabited by vervet monkeys, despite the damage they cause farmers by feeding on their crops.

Social Organization

They form troops, usually slightly smaller than those of baboons, averaging around 25 individuals. There are generally around eight males in a troop, with the rest of their population made up of females and the young. Males and females within this group are territorial and defend the troop’s territories. Juvenile males leave the group once they reach maturity to find their place in the habitat or another troop and possibly start their own troop. Females remain in the troop.

Finest Safari Areas in Africa for Encountering Vervet Monkey

We recommend the following National Parks and Private Reserves for the best chances of spotting the vervet monkey on safari game drives and bush walks.

Social Behavior

Vervet monkeys have daily routines followed by most troops. They typically start their day by grooming one another while socializing. Then at around 8 in the morning, they become active. They do everything together, increasing their chances of survival because more individuals are looking for predators. Foraging, sleeping, and just a nice afternoon rest to escape the scorching sun in various ecosystems are the activities in which they engage.


Mating amongst these animals is an annual or seasonal affair. Females reach sexual maturity around 3 ½ to 4 years after birth, when they can start reproducing the next generation of Vervet Monkeys. Males reach a sexually viable age earliest at 4 ½ years. There are no partner preferences when it comes to copulation which means any males and females mate in any particular day. There is, however, evidence that suggests males higher up the hierarchy in a troop typically mates with more females than less dominant males. Gestation is typically a few months long, between the mating season that usually falls in the dry season and birth peaks in spring.

Anti-Predator Behavior

They are vulnerable to several different predators due to their terrestrial foraging habits and inferior size. Eagles and smaller cat species are their main nemeses in their battle for survival. In addition to the main predators, they are also often killed by leopards, lions, and hyenas. They generally react to the presence of a potential predator by giving out a distress call and scrambling for the safety of tree tops.

The Big 5

White Rhino
Black Rhino