Two years ago we were in The Gambia where we stayed at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. We were in this great country from 5 to 15 January 2007 and during this time we did a five-day birdwatching safari upriver to Georgetown under the expert birdwatching guidance of Ebrima Sidebe. We had a great time and saw over 175 different species of birds. After the 5-day excursion and on our last day in The Gambia we visited Abuko Nature Reserve.
We arrived at the reserve at around 8am after taking a bush taxi from our hotel. Entrance to the park was 31.50 dalasi and we spent the morning and half of the afternoon inside.
Abuko Nature Reserve was established in 1968 and features savanna and forest landscapes with monkeys (vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys and patas monkeys), mongooses, crocodiles, several snakes and more than 270 bird species. We followed the excellent forest trail around the park and saw lots of wildlife.
Near the entrance of the park is a large enclosed observation area with a great view of a lake. This is where we saw the above two kingfishers as well as crocodiles, turtles and lots of herons. Here’s a picture of the observation deck:
At the far end of the park is an orphanage where injured birds and animals recover. They had some parrots in cages and a large fenced area with five Hyenas. We hadn’t see any Hyenas in the wild on this trip.
Shortly after we arrived at the orphanage workers brought out wheelbarrows with huge huge carcasses to feed the hyenas. This did not go unnoticed by the dozens of hooded vultures that were hanging around the pen. They were well behaved, though, and waited for the workers to unload the fresh meat and for the hyenas to eat their share.
One new funny-looking bird we saw at Abuko was this White Helmetshrike. It has a large crest and a yellow wattle around the eyes that looks like a little flower. Isn’t it cute?