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Old Friday 20th May 2011, 14:50   #1
moondog
Moondog
 
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Liverpool
Posts: 28
Atlantic Coast Trip of a Lifetime

Had a fantastic visit to The Gambia this January/ February and luckily found a fantastic guide and driver to take us to the top birding sites in the region. What was supposed to be a relaxing honeymoon turned into an avian adventure!

Bird Satisfaction Gambia - Ebou Barry

One thing to understand about the Gambia is that Europeans do tend to stick out and you get a lot of attention from people trying to offer you services or sell you crafts or food items. Bare in mind that the dry season is the best season for tourists who want to take advantage of the great beaches, wonderful food and friendly people. This is the time when many Gambian's rely on to make money, therefore you understand there eagerness to connect with you. Most of them are very friendly if persistent and a polite but assertive no thank you will be enough. After a couple of days you will find yourself mellowing to the attention and actively saying hello to people you see outside or around your hotel. Leave your European stress and attitude at the airport and you'll be fine.

We headed for the Birdwatchers Hut at Kotu and found a great guide Ebou Barry. We started with an introductory leisurely wander around the Kotu Creek, Fajara area.

We were so impressed (see bird lists below) that we signed up for a number of visits. Some included early 7 am starts. If you want to see birds in this climate it's the earlier the better.

Our guide Ebou Barry was extremely knowledgeable and patient, spoke very good English and provided great food and refreshments on our full day trips. Being with Ebou allowed us to see more of the real Gambia as well as the wildlife due to being well known and his connections in the National parks. He did a great job of diverting unwanted attention from us and made sure we were safe wherever we went....and I felt like we went everywhere!

Kotu Sream and Fields, Paradise Inn, Tanji Beach, Koluro Farasuto Forest,Bonto River,Bushtrack Mandinaba, Pirang Ponds, Abuko National Park and Marakissa

Being there for 2 weeks we only managed to scratch the surface, we didn't go to the upriver camps but plan to next time we go and....we would go back in a shot. Have a look at our lists, we had an incredible time and hope anyone reading this will feel inspired to go and see such a great country with lovely people and amazing bird and animal life.
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