Planning your garden if you live near baboons
Remember that fruiting trees, vines, vegetable patches and herb gardens (and even fish ponds and water features) offer rich rewards to baboons and attract them to the village.
It is possible to contain your vegetable gardens within caged structures, so that sunlight comes in – but not the baboons.
Use contained composting bins, rather than an open compost heap.
Plant indigenous plants that offer no fruits or seeds that baboons will eat. See table of suggested plants for the Western Cape.
Try to keep your garden fairly open and minimise dense thickets of plants which will provide cover for the baboons, and places for them to hide if they want to stay in the village.
A few commonly asked questions
1. If I plant a vegetable garden, which vegetables will the baboons not want to eat?
Baboons will eat virtually everything that we eat, so they will eat most vegetables and herbs we would chose to plant.
2. If I plant only indigenous plants in my garden, will the baboons stay away from my property?
Not necessarily – if the indigenous plants do not offer seeds, bulbs or berries that the baboons make use of in their diet, then they will leave your garden alone as it offers low rewards. However, if you have richly compacted indigenous garden containing many plants the baboons choose to eat, then they will definitely come and eat from your garden.
Although many people think that indigenous plants are found in natural areas, and therefore offer no benefit to the baboons, it should be remembered that our cultivated gardens are often more prolific than the “veld” – so baboons are going to get good rewards from a small area.
3. Surely if I leave fruit trees in my garden, the baboons will eat the fruit and move on?
Unfortunately this is not entirely true. It is important to remember that a troop of baboons will seldom all eat from the same tree or the exact same spot – the troop will spread out over a fairly wide area to ensure all troop members have a chance of getting food.
So some baboons may stay and eat in your fruit tree in the garden, but opportunistic baboons will always be on the look-out for better rewards – so an open window will mean at least some of the troop will come into your house for a quick feast.
Even if you have secured your home properly, your neighbours may not have – so it will be your fruit tree that has brought the baboons into the village, quite possibly to your neighbours dismay!
4. If I plant a lot of trees in my garden will this offer any attractions to the baboons?
Baboons do make use of high trees as sleep sites – particularly pine trees. It is advisable not to plant or retain pine trees in areas affected by baboons.