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by Yael Adar
Located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv the Monkey Park, at Kfar Daniel, near the Ben Shemen Forest – is a nicely landscaped park, which includes small ponds, waterfalls and a variety of
trees. This is a great place to learn all about these most developed of mammals, monkeys.
The park offers guided tours that last anywhere from two-and-half to three hours. Most of the moneys are housed in very large cages, but the thing that makes the park unique, is that there is also a large fenced off area, where the monkeys roam free and you can walk among them. The monkeys in this section are all from South America.
The park’s inhabitants include Prosimians, (which are not considered real monkeys). In addition there are monkeys from Africa, Asia, and South America. Some of the monkeys you’ll be able to see include squirrel monkeys, Lemurs from Madagascar, crab eating Macaque – known for being great underwater swimmers, Dusky Leaf Langur, a leaf – eating monkey that is sacred in Asia as well as Marmosets – the smallest monkeys in the world.
In Hebrew, the park is called Afrikef (an apparent play on the words Africa and ‘kef’, which means fun). The signs that are placed next to each of the large cages, feature the Latin name of each species, while the detailed explanation is provided only in Hebrew. However, there is a brochure in English that explains a little bit about each type of monkey. So, you’ll be able to easily match the explanations in the brochure to the specific type of monkey you’ll be looking at. Just make sure to ask for the English brochure at the entrance.
Afrikef has an onsite fast-food restaurant, shaded areas, a petting zoo (that includes goats, sheep, rabbits, lamas etc.). There is also a small African village where kids can play. You’ll be able to see peacocks, emus and various assorted other animals throughout the park.
On weekends, guided tours are held every half hour. During the week, the tours are by prior appointment only – although you can still take a self-guided tour on your own. Readers, who want to ensure that an English tour will be available during their preferred time, should call ahead!
Those of you who wish to combine a visit to the park with a picnic – can simply cross the road, over into the Ben Shemen Forest – where you will find plenty of wide open spaces.
Directions: From Route # 1, the Tel Aviv- Jerusalem highway take the Ben Shemen interchange and drive toward Kfar Daniel and Gimzo – the park will be on your right and the entrance is clearly signed.
TEL 08/928- 5888
Visiting Hours: Summer entrance from 10:00 AM -4:00 PM you can stay until 6:00 PM. Winter 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM you can stay until 5:00 PM. Fridays all year: entrance from 10:00 AM -2:00 PM can stay in the park until 4:00 PM.
Entry fees apply.