Cape Argus Blog: Avoid the Curse of the Greedy Little Baboon’s Paw


Not only is the Cape Argus the world’s largest timed cycle race, but it’s also the only one watched by two species of primate.

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There’s we human beings, for one, and there’s also also our not-too-distant cousins, the chacma baboons, which inhabit nooks and crannies all over the Western Cape, and are endemic to the Cape Peninsula south of Simonstown.

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The baboons enjoy a good cycle tour – and enjoy a good cycle tour snack even more. They’re known for relieving the unwary of anything that looks edible (even in mid-pedal) and are strictly not to be trusted.

  • Read about the latest baboon “mugging”, which sets new standards for primate-human acclimatization: Cape Times.

This leads me to the most bizarre bit of cycling advice you’re likely to come across for a while: On race day, keep your snacks out of sight. Baboon monitors work hard to keep the critters off the route, but – wily connivers the lot – you may just come across one or two in the middle of the road (baboons, not monitors). In which case:

  • Ignore them.
  • Don’t feed them.
  • Hide anything you’re munching on.
  • Shout “Baboon, huzzah!”

(The last measure is for sowing confusion among fellow riders, who will slow down and glance around nervously, allowing you to pass them.)