BIJILO FOREST PARK

This small reserve and community forest is a lovely escape. The nature trail in Bijilo Forest Park is over 4.5 km of signposted footpaths that winds its way through lush vegetation, gallery forest, low bush and grass, towards the dunes. The majority of it is reasonably level though there are several steeper inclines with roughed out steps.

Bijilo Forest Park (locally known as Monkey Park) is home to red colobus, red patas monkey and the callithrix monkey (also known as green velvet monkey). It is important to know that it is not a ZOO, where monkeys are kept in cages, waiting for visitors. It’s designed as a natural habitat for monkeys, so you can’t always spot them. Sometimes you can see many, sometimes you may be lucky to spot one. It is forbidden to feed them, because feeding makes them aggressive and stops them from foraging for food as they would normally do.

For the park’s visitors there are wooden benches and shaded covers set up at convenient points along the path and also some viewing areas overlooking the sand dunes, beachfront and the Atlantic ocean. You can find a map of the various routes on boards located throughout the mini-forest. There is also a ‘straight’ footpath which cuts through the scrub and forest close to the beach called the ‘ornithological path’. This route provides good opportunities to spot many of the park’s bird life. More than 100 species that have been counted here include several types of bee-eater, grey hornbill, osprey, Caspian tern, francolin and wood dove.

The rainforest is home to various invertebrates, reptiles and mammalian species includng the Sun Squirrel, African Civet, Genets, Mongoose, Brush Tailed Porcupine and some rodents. Among the reptiles here are Agama, Rainbow and Monitor Lizards and you can also see fire ants, dragonflies, termites, butterflies, and the Golden Silk Orb-weaver among the numerous of insects and spiders.

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