This Old World Monkey has five commonly recognized species that range throughout Africa from the Cape (Chacma, or Cape Baboon) to the equatorial belt of Africa (Olive and Yellow Baboons), from Western Africa (Guinea Baboon) and into the Horn of Africa (Hamadryas Baboon). While many confuse the Geladas of Ethiopia for baboons, they are in fact a separate genus (Theropithecus vs. Papio). True to its primate roots, baboons are highly social and can be quite entertaining with opportunity to observe complex social hierarchies and grooming behavior. Troops can be as small as a dozen and as large as 150. They are terrestrial, diurnal, and opportunistically omnivorous. Adult males are much larger than the females, ranging from 33 to 82 pounds depending on the species, and are often too difficult of prey for adult leopards, however young baboons are definite targets. Other predators include humans, crocodile, lions, and hyena.
Baboons are easily seen on a day trip to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and surrounding areas. They are prevalent in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park, and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The hamadryas are only found in the hills along the coast of the Red Sea, and you must make a trip to Western Africa to view the Guinea baboon.