Montusi Mumble – Rigby & Mr Baboon

hiking at montusi
Hikers on the hill

Many Montusi guests will have been on the morning hike with our guides and will have experienced the joy of a hot cup of tea and a crunchie on top of Montusi Peak or in the Waterfall Cave while chatting about everything from Zulu culture to the policies of George W, Tony, Gordon and Barrack.

A couple of weeks ago, our guide had a day off and for want of a better option, I had the opportunity to take the morning hike up Montusi Peak with three lovely German folks.

I decided to invite Joey (the most athletic of our three dogs) to join us. Brown and Rigby, unusually, vacated their beds and followed us. Surprisingly they didn’t turn back at the gate but came with us the whole way.

So there were seven of us heading up the mountainside: three German guests, one “guide”, one athletic mongrel of a pouncing adventure dog, one barrel of a Daschund-Jack Russell house dog, and, bringing up the rear, one low-riding, dumbo of a miniature Daschund (flapping ears et al!).

Brown and Rigby
Rigby and Brown love a bed

The sun was shining, the breeze was gentle and everyone was enjoying the natural wonders our mountains have to offer. We reached the summit of Montusi Peak and sipped our tea, nibbled our crunchies, and then spotted a large troop of baboons…uh-oh…

montusi baboon

Rigby (the low-riding dumbo) set off in pursuit of the younger baboons, which set Joey off too, and Brown (barrel dog) trundled after.

The baboons started moving off which made the dogs braver and intensified the attack. Such a bad idea: Mr Baboon (the big boss daddy of the troop) did not take kindly to the racket and so turned on Rigby and Joey.

The whole scene very nearly turned into a segment out of the TV show “When Good Times Go Bad”. Rigby tucked his bottom in with two centimetres to spare as Mr Baboon reached out to grab him, and just escaped.

Dogs returned, baboons on the move once more, crisis averted? Not so much…

Rigby and Joey decide to see off these cheeky primates properly and continue to chase the troop down the mountainside.

Those who have been on top of Montusi Peak will know that there is a belt of sheer rock around the top which creates the table-like appearance of the feature.  Not a problem for agile four-legged, adrenaline-pumped hounds on the hunt, but not an easy obstacle for their two-legged, tea-toting guardian!

montusi peak
The cliff band near the top of Montusi Peak

The guests and I watched helplessly as Joey and Rigby careered down the mountain in hot pursuit of the troop and then we turned cold as Mr Baboon and Uncle Baboon sat waiting for the little dogs to get close enough so they could end the incessant yapping forever, and score a hotdog for lunch.

The big male baboons sat patiently as Rigby and Joey barked themselves in ever-decreasing circles and then lunged to catch them. The dogs dodged the lunge only to continue the barking circle!

This continued for about 5 minutes until I eventually phoned for backup.  Mic and Andrew (Joey and Rigby’s respective human fathers) arrived like the cavalry on a motorbike from the other side of the mountain which sent the baboons scampering away and the dogs scuttling in the other direction, knowing their dads were not impressed and they were about to face the wrath of seriously worried parents.

What a terrifying morning…I will never again take Brown and Rigby on a walk…ever.

Once the drama was over we were able to continue the hike and were even lucky enough to have a close encounter with three Eland.

The guests decided that it had been a very “African” experience which they would not soon forget!  I do hope that they remember their Montusi visit for more than just the naughty hounds, scary baboons, and traumatised guide!”


13 years later and Montusi Peak remains a haven for baboons and Eland, as well as enthusiastic hikers.

Rigby is still shuffling about with his low-hung chest, but sadly Joey and Brown have crossed the rainbow bridge.

  • To book your next visit to Montusi and meet Rigby, visit our booking page.

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