Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar Macaques Experience

Rock of Gibraltar

As part of my travel to Sotogrande, Spain, we flew into Gibraltar and then walked for about 5 minutes to enter Spain.

Upon arrival, I saw the Rock of Gibraltar and immediately began to get excited, I literally wanted to get off the plane and go up the rock right away.

Gibraltar Airport ft. the Rock
Gibraltar Airport ft. the Rock

After sorting our luggage out, we decided to head up the Gibraltar Rock which is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.

There are three different ways you can visit the rock, you can hop on the Gibraltar cable car, go for a hike, or get a Taxi/Bus tour.

Of course, the hike is always great fun, but not everyone’s option.  We found the most cost effective and least time-consuming route was to get a taxi tour bus from Casemont square. It’s £25 (€30) per person and this covers your transport and all fees including the St Michael’s Cave ticket. They’ll also drop you off to where you need to go next depending on location.

St Michael’s Cave:

St Michael’s Cave has been a point of interest to all visitors to Gibraltar since the Romans. Many believe that St Michael’s Cave was originally linked to the continent of Africa by a subterranean passage believed to be over 15 miles long under the Strait of Gibraltar. Due to this, the very well known Rock of Gibraltar macaques was said to have come to rock via the undersea passage.

Believe it or not, during the Second World War, St Michael’s Cave was actually prepared as an emergency hospital but was never used in the end.

There is plenty to see in this cave and upon entrance, you’ll see various seats and enough space to fulfil a capacity of 600 people. The Cathedral Cave has been in use as a theatre for concerts, ballet and drama ever since the early sixties.

The home of Gibraltar macaques

The Rock of Gibraltar is the home to around 300 Barbary macaques, they are the only population outside of Northern Africa and the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. Being a monkey lover, I had taken a ridiculous amount of pictures of them.

Rock of Gibraltar macaques
Rock of Gibraltar macaques

The Gibraltar macaques can be found at the top of the rock and some halfway down the rock – but those aren’t as friendly and don’t get on too well with tourists.

You’ll have to be cautious of them as some are quite friendly but others can be quite aggressive and may attack if you get too close. I witnessed a father and his son edge forward to the below macaque and in return, it showed its teeth and moved forward as a way to warn them to back off.

Whilst these endangered monkeys are looked after and fed fresh fruit on a daily basis, they are known to approach and sometimes climb onto people, mainly as they are used to human interaction, but remember, they are still wild animals and may bite if frightened or annoyed. Be careful.

Rock of Gibraltar Vicious Macaque
Rock of Gibraltar Vicious Macaque

Whereas others, are quite friendly and don’t mind if you touch them.

Rock of Gibraltar Macaque
Rock of Gibraltar Macaque

The diets of these macaques mainly consist of plants and insects. The lifespan of a male is around 25 years, while females live up to 30 years. According to our tour guide, 50% of baby macaques don’t survive due to the parents fighting other macaques and animals with them on their back.

A macaque carrying a baby on its back
A macaque carrying a baby on its back

The only animal they are afraid of is snakes.

Gibraltarians that have purchased private property on the Rock of Gibraltar are said to have plastic snakes placed around their house to keep the macaques away.

Below are a few more pictures of the Gibraltar macaques.

This one is my favourite.

To see more pictures and follow my journey of travelling the world, make sure to follow on Instagram.

17 Comments

  • Pretty cool photos of the macaques. As cool looking as they are, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want them in my backyard though. I like the theory of keeping plastic snakes around the property for monkey deterrence. Thanks for sharing!

  • I am not a huge fan of monkeys.I am really scared of them tbh.They breed way too much in India and they exist at every famous temple /nature reserve.Since you mentioned that you’re a fan of monkeys I feel like you must visit because they exist everywhere you can interact with them ,feed them etc.You ll have a lot of fun

  • It’s astonishing that these macaques are so friendly and you even got a chance to touch one of them. I am afraid of monkey, I have only met wild ones during my travels, the ones that attack you to steal whatever you have in your hand. So for me, all the monkeys are the same, haha. Gibraltar looks like a nice place to visit for a weekend.

  • Wow, what really captured my attention is the huge rock located in the airport where the Plane has landed. I never thought that there is such thing as that, it was indeed amazing. Anyway. I always have this fear of getting close with the monkeys as I have bad childhood memories with the monkeys. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful trip with us.

  • The Rock of Gibraltar has always been a source of fascination for me. Especially owing to its place as a phrase in the English language. I was also fascinated reading about the Macaques and how the locals have plastic snakes around their homes to keep them away.

  • Well monkeys are not really my favorite animal and as you’ve said some are friendly and some are not. There are monkeys in many places in India especially near hill stations and I have seen them grabbing food from people. But it’s really interesting to know about these Gibraltar macaques . Especially about how they got here via the undersea passage at St Michael’s Cave. You should definitely visit India as there are many places to see monkeys 🙂

  • Nice Angle Gareth, deciding to focus on the Macaques. Sad to know that 50% of the babies dont survive. If that stat were to be true with humans we would be really messed up in the mind. Are there any reasons for the Macaques to be famous? The plastic snakes analogy shows a slice of local sentiments on what works to keep the monkeys away just like farmers use scarecrows.

  • Awesome! Do you have pictures while you’re on that rock (if you did go for it)? Anyway, I agree that most of the macaques are fond of human interaction. I remember one time in Malaysia, a girl’s banana was snatched away by a monkey. Lol! And, did you find a house/property with plastic snakes around?

  • This whole is really fascinating. First, you are monkey fan and second Gibraltarians have private properties on the Rock of Gibraltar and they use plastic snakes to keep the macaques away. Awesome. Actually, we are afraid of monkeys. In India, they are found in hills, temples and these days in plains too and they are really wild. They snatch away the stuff you have and at times may harm you too.

  • First off great photos 🙂 have been interest in Gibraltar for some time now and this has sold me on that idea 🙂 thanks for a great idea and a awesome read 😀

  • I loved your article! The monkeys bit scared me though! I really feel that monkeys across the world need better looking after else they can get super dangerous! Good you could click so many pics without a monkey snatching your stuff away from you! Keep writing!

  • I did not know that there could have been a subterranean passage to St Michael’s Cave and now that piques my curiosity. And to think these creatures are the only ones who know their existence. 😉 I sure would love to explore the place myself and possibly follow them to it (Like that ws possible ;))

  • Have heard a lot about Gibraltar coast line. Didn’t know about the St Michael’s Cave and the passage to it. I sure would love to visit here sometime 🙂

  • Oh almost like pests. But they are so cute.
    Rock of Gibraltar sounds interesting and that connection to Africa may be legend. 😛 🙂
    But ancient man was capable of many engineering feats… so you never know.

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