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At this point I’ve been to Monkey Island 4 times, and I get just as scared and excited each time I go. If you haven’t been to see the chimpanzees on the Farmington River off of Charlesville, Liberia yet, what are you waiting for? A fence?
For the full story of the chimpanzees on the island, check out the package my mom did on it for CNN last year (above). I still cant believe I got her to go on that tiny canoe! She was too scared to even turn around!
This time, we got so close I could look into their faces and tell the difference between each one. There’s an older chimp who does a good job of catching bananas, and of course “Bullet” with one arm is still the King of the Island.
Things to know when going to Monkey Island:
- I always take the most paved route. Drive past RIA, and when the road becomes dirt, keep driving. It’s only about another 10 minutes until you reach the end of the land and the beginning of adventure.
- Go early. It’s an hour drive from town, and an hour canoe ride, where you’ll stay maybe a half hour. Budget about 5 hours of your day for the experience.
- Be careful of rainy season! If your canoe fills with water, you will have to scoop it out so you don’t sink in the Farmington! Luckily, the water is pretty shallow in the dry season. The boat sometimes gets stuck on high sand.
- Bring drinks and toilet tissue. It gets really hot out there, so you’ll drink. And then you’ll need to pee. No plush bathrooms out here.
- You won’t get out of the canoe. Please don’t get on the island. If you do something stupid, you CANNOT blame Archel.
- Keep some LD on you for the security who will meet you at the island. He’s pretty helpful, and he’s not in the payroll with the canoe operators.
- Be careful with your cameras. I’m one of those people that WILL drop it in the water. If you have a neck strap, use it.
- Prepare for sun! Shorts, bikini tops, shades, and sunscreen are necessary.
- Bring ALL the bananas you can find. Your only entertainment is throwing the chimps food. It becomes very dull when you run out.