Monkey Mountain (Affenberg) in Germany

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I bet you didn’t think you would find a Monkey Mountain in Germany. But I assure you it’s real and it’s pretty spectacular.

Monkey waiting for food at Monkey Mountain (Affenberg), Germany
How could you not feed this adorable face?

Where is Monkey Mountain? 

Yes, or Affenberg in German.  Located near Lake Constance (Bodensee) in southwest Germany. It lies 20 hectares of forest with Germany’s largest open-air monkey enclosure. It is home to 200+ Barbary macaques.  Surprisingly, Barbary macaques feel right at home in Germany. Especially since their native origins are in the high mountains of up to 2000m in Morocco and Algeria.

Monkey Mountain is not really a mountain but more of a small hill covered in forest. But I was especially interested in it since I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Primatology (the study of primates). And any chance I have to observe primates, I am there!  I must admit though I was a bit apprehensive. I always want to ensure that I am supporting a place where the animals are well cared for.  Fortunately, I had a friend who had been there and has worked in animal welfare and she had a good impression of it, so off we went.

Related Reading: 8 Ways That Travellers Unintentionally Commit Animal Cruelty

Macaque eating popcorn, one of their favorite snacks at Affenberg
Those macaques like their popcorn.

What To Expect At Monkey Mountain 

Upon entrance and an €8 admission fee (children under 6 are free), visitors are instructed to stay on the path and not pet the macaques or harass them in any way.  Once the rules are given, visitors will make their way over to the next staff member who carefully watches as visitors can take a handful of popcorn to feed the Barbary macaques. 

You are only allowed to feed the macaques that are sitting on the wooden fence, wanting to be fed.  As I tried to lure a baby macaque sitting just inside the fence with a piece of popcorn I was promptly (but fairly) reprimanded by one of the staff members. 

I was impressed by the number of staff members around. They would seemingly appear out of nowhere if someone tried to break one of the rules.  If a Barbary macaque wants to eat popcorn, they know where to get it. Which was clear by the rather ample size of some of the macaques.

Related Reading: Are You a Responsible Tourist?

Overweight macaque carrying her baby
It’s not easy to lose that baby weight when you eat popcorn all day long!
Barbary macaques can only be fed when sitting on the wooden fence.
Barbary macaques can only be fed when sitting on the wooden fence.
Me feeding a Barbary macaque
Me feeding a Barbary macaque, this time when he was sitting in the right place.

The Monkeys Are Well Taken Care Of

I was also surprised but pleased to learn that popcorn makes up less than 15% of the Barbary macaque’s diet at Monkey Mountain.  In addition to popcorn, they’re fed fruits, vegetables and seeds.  Celery seemed to be the most in-demand vegetable that we saw when we were there.

Monkey eating celery at Monkey Mountain (Affenberg), Germany
Celery was a popular treat for the macaques on the day of our visit.

The Barbary macaques also have plenty of ample room to get away from the visitors. Including a forest on both sides of the visitor pathway. And if you looked carefully you could see the odd Barbary macaque sleeping peacefully in a tree. Or all of a sudden from the quiet forest leaves would come crashing down beside you as a Barbary macaque made his grand entrance. Subtlety does not appear to be a behavioral trait in Barbary macaques.

Monkey hanging out in a tree at Monkey Mountain (Affenberg), Germany
This little guy took a short snack break from playing chase before he was swing from the trees again.  Nice to see that he chose a healthy snack.

In addition to feeding popcorn to the Barbary macaques, we also observed other behaviors. Including playing which was hilarious watching the young macaques using tree branches in their quick-paced games of chase.

A highlight of Monkey Mountain for me was watching the adorable young ones play.
A highlight of Monkey Mountain for me was watching the adorable young ones play.

Grooming was another popular behavior.  Typically, lower-ranking individuals will groom higher-ranking individuals in the hopes of getting into their good graces and having them protect them should they ever get into a fight with another member of the group.  For the high ranking individuals, it’s like the equivalent of getting an hour-long massage every day -ahhh the good life.

Monkey grooming another Barbary macaque while another one looks on.
Perhaps the onlooker is jealous that she doesn’t have a groomer?

Related Reading: Girona Spain: The Best Reasons To Visit This City

Join The Conservation

Conservation also plays a role at Monkey Mountain.  Unfortunately, Barbary macaques are an endangered species and the population of macaques at Monkey Mountain contributes to the safety stock of the species.  I also believe behavioral research has been done in the past at Monkey Mountain, but I couldn’t find anything confirming that behavioral research is currently being conducted.

Monkey Mountain was my last day trip from Stuttgart with the Stuttgart girls, who thoughtfully planned such a fun excursion (thanks so much Ashley) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not surprisingly it is also a popular attraction for families.  I plan to go again, but this time in May when all the babies are born!

For more information on Monkey Mountain see Affenberg.

Monkey Mountain is the perfect place for a day trip, it’s all about learning and relaxing and soak in the joy that monkeys can give you. 

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17 thoughts on “Monkey Mountain (Affenberg) in Germany”

  1. You really find the coolest places! 🙂 It’s nice to read that they give them lots of space and “protect” them from visitors. I love zoos and aquariums, but when you can tell that the animals aren’t kept well, it can be such a depressing experience.

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  2. So cute! In Ecuador I visited a rescue centre for monkeys and it was a lot of fun but also so sad when the workers told us the stories of where and how they rescued the animals.

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  3. Cute! funny that these monkeys seem so laid back and tame. the monkeys at some of the temples in Japan are CRAZY. As in, “I’m running for my life from these creatures.” type of insane.

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  4. I know monkeys are considered pests in some countries, but they’re so darn cute! I snapped so many pictures of baby monkeys in India, but then I saw a few people walking with them on leashes and begging for money to feed them. =(

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  5. You got some really nice, close-up photos. I’ve been around Bodensee quite a bit, but not even heard of Affenberg. This looks like a great place to visit with kids – thanks for the tip 🙂

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  6. Monkeys are funny little creatures. Tricky ones too, they love to steal food! I’ve seen a lot in Thailand and in Central America and sometimes it’s better not to get to close. I guess it’s different in an enclosure.

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  7. This is a perfect activity for families in Germany – I love it. With your permission I’m going to link to your post on my blog tomorrow.

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  8. Thanks so much for your comments everyone. Thanks Sonja, yes please go ahead. The families we saw were really enjoying it and the kids loved feeding the monkeys.

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  9. This is looks like a great adventure for kids! About a 4 hour road trip for us, so I need to research other activities in the area or along the way and make it a weekend trip. Thank you for sharing!!

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  10. We made our first trip to Germany this summer after hosting our exchange student in the USA. His family took us to Monkey Mountain and a fun time was had by all. I would recommend Monkey Mountain to anyone, near or far. Don’t forget your camera. It’s a great place with many photo opportunities!

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