6 of the best photos 2017

Footsteps eco-lodge Gambia | 6 of the best photo contest | 2017 finale

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]The Gambia has so many opportunities to take beautiful pictures. The colours, people, culture and nature all contribute to amazing photos that we see all through the year at Footsteps. We love to see our guests memories and take part in their experiences. That is the background for our contest “Six of the best”. This year we have also included pictures from the rest of the continent and asked you all to share your best Gambia or Africa photos on social media. From among those we chose the final six. Only one will win a holiday at Footsteps and you will determine who that is!

Thank you to all our entrants for our 2017 Six of The Best photos competition. We have selected these 6 finalists.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]

Let’s meet our finalists!


Graham Workman: ‘Sweet Love’

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3348″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]“We were honoured to be invited to go and meet Lamin Bojangs family when we were in The Gambia and thought a little treat for the children would be some ‘Love Heart’ sweets we’d brought from the UK. The children ‘loved’ them and it was a joy watching their little faces light up when ‘mum’ dropped several sweets into each outstretched hand! 

I’m an ecologist based in the UK and photography is an essential every day tool. It allows me to capture landscapes, habitats and species which I later use in technical reports. I’ve been privileged to have had a career spanning 40 years where the key focus has been conserving wildlife.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Anette Holta: ‘Friendly Fight’

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3350″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]“The picture is taken in Serengeti, Tanzania. I had just landed after a balloon ride, near a pride of lions. Suddenly two lions attacked each other, but I think it was a friendly fight. It only lasted a couple of seconds, so I’m very glad I had my camera ready and that I got to take this photo at all.

I’m 34 years old, from Norway, and I love to travel! I have to see at least one new country every year, and my goal is to see as much of the world as I can!”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Simon Fenton: ‘Kids & Kayaks’ (entry by Dave Adams)

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3352″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]“Taken by Simon Fenton (R.I.P.) at Karantaba Tenda in The Gambia, from where Mungo Park departed on his final voyage, this picture captures the beauty of the setting and evokes a myriad of stories and imagined adventures.” Sent in by Dave Adams.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Rob Garner: ‘The Contemplative Birder’

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3355″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Taken just outside Banjul on a birding walk with Lamin Bojang with a Nikon D5100 (Lens: Nikkor 70-300mm, Focal length: 70mm at F4.5, 1/320sec at auto iso 200).“[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Olaf van Egdom: ‘Maternal Love’

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”3357″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]“Traveling around in the Gambia, I experienced such a warm feeling. The people are so friendly and helpful and the landscape and fauna are just as beautiful. The way the mother Green Monkey holds her baby reflects the feeling I had when traveling through the Gambia, and still have when looking back at my trip, ‘warmth’.

I am a chemistry teacher from the Netherlands. I love to travel and meet different cultures. While traveling the Gambia, and especially while staying at Footsteps, I could really unwind and truly had a blast. I hope to experience this welcome feeling again soon.”

Unfortunately this photograph has been disqualified due to automated voting arranged by an obvious fan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Mark Gray: “Beneath the Baobab”

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top”][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_single_image image=”3359″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center” el_class=”rotatenone”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]“I took this photo whilst on a bird spotting boat trip on the river running along The Gambia’s southern border with Senegal, near Kartong. The bright colours of the fishing boats reflect the warm and easy-going nature synonymous with the residents of the ‘Smiling Coast’ whereas the mighty Baobab tree represents the pride that Gambians have for their cultural roots and the strength that they derive from them. 

I’m a postgraduate student and (very) amateur photographer from Salisbury in the UK. I first visited The Gambia in 1999 with my secondary school and fell head over heels in love with the place. I’ve been back a further 3 times since and intend to return again and again.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Why we hold this competition

The idea behind the Six of the Best photos competition is not only to showcase the wonderful pictures our guests take each year here in Gambia. We also want to raise awareness and funds to support some very deserving and worthy causes. The six finalist photos that you can vote for are all part of our new gift card collection for 2017. We give these freely to all of our guests, along with a suggestion of a small donation to our charity of the year. This year we are supporting the Upper Basic school in Gunjur.

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6 amazing photos – give your vote on the best one!


It’s time now for the voting to start and for one of our lucky entrants to win a holiday for two staying at the multi award winning Footsteps Eco Lodge. You can vote throughout October, and remember: you can only vote once*. Take action now, vote on the photo you like the most, share the page and ask your friends and family to do the same![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Time to cast your vote!

Who will win a week at Footsteps? It’s in your hands now! All you have to do is choose your star (and press/click it).

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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]All our photographers are already winners. Now let’s reward one of them with a fantastic holiday in Gambia. GOOD LUCK!

*) One vote per IP address.


My Significant Birthday in Gambia.

Birthday in Gambia


Celebrating my “significant” birthday at Footsteps.

When my wife Sue, asked me whether I would like to have a party or go away for my 60th birthday, I replied without any hesitation, that I would like to spend it in The Gambia and more specifically at Footsteps Eco lodge. As things turned out I also had a fantastic party at our local pub before flying out to The Gambia for wildlife watching by day and protracted celebrations during the evenings.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3323″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]So, the big day arrived and we left Footsteps with local guides for a full and very productive day’s birding at a selection of the less well known sites. Some difficult to find species such as White-spotted Flufftail and Brown-necked Parrots were spotted taking us to a total of 85 species of bird that day along with some interesting reptiles including a Skink and Monitor Lizards. Back at Footsteps we got great views of Pygmy Kingfisher and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher as well as frequent glimpses of an African Goshawk.

See a list of birds Steve Keightley and myself compiled back in 2014 here[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3148″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]That evening we had a great party at Footsteps joined by the many friends that I have made in The Gambia on my previous nine trips.  David had laid on a Cora player and who serenaded us whist we enjoyed drinks on what turned out to be one of the hottest evenings of that season. We then enjoyed a veritable banquet organised by Sue, David and Footsteps talented chefs. The final course was my birthday cake; a delicious chocolate cake that became known as the chocolate puddle cake as it began melting before our eyes in the forty plus degrees of heat that evening!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3315″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I really did not expect any more presents, but David presented me with a magnificent carving that “Six Fingers” had made of a Heron feeding its’ chick, made from one piece of wood. Heather had painted me a lovely picture in The Gambian style and Colin and Binta Cross donated a day’s guided birding at Kartong Bird Observatory, which on the day included a lot of beer!

Needless to say, the day after my birthday was spent chilling out around the lodge and nearby forests nursing a bit of a sore head.

I think of The Gambia as my second home and I can’t wait for November when we go back and stay at Footsteps again.

Ian Misselbrook

September 2017.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

But it was comfy


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I love the old E Class Mercs and they just seem to go on forever, regardless of what may fall off or cease to function along the way. In their distinctive green and yellow livery, these timeless classics make up around sixty percent of the tourist taxi fleet in The Gambia.

Cheap to buy, inexpensive to maintain and rugged, what more could you ask? Particularly when you consider the roads in The Gambia. There are a few tarmac sections, some more reasonable gravelly tracks and a host of rural ‘roads’ which would undoubtedly be considered far too extreme for an Olympic Mogul Skiing course.

The weather doesn’t help, of course, as many of these roads get washed away or heavily rutted each year during the rainy season. However, these old Mercs seem to cope quite well and are generally pretty comfy.

My first journey in one of these local taxis involved all types of terrain. I quickly discovered that there was no point in wondering how fast you were travelling, whether or not the driver was signalling, how much fuel they put in the car, how warm it was or anything else relating to dials or gauges as none of them worked. Even opening a window was a struggle, no handles, but it was comfy. In general, I found that the only thing that consistently worked in any taxi was the radio or cassette player.

Heading down one of the heavily trenched ‘roads’, there was a sudden clatter and we stopped. I looked out of the back window and there, in the middle of the track, was the entire exhaust system. Out we got and for the next twenty minutes or so we sat chatting to some locals outside whose home we had broken down. I assumed that the driver had summoned assistance and that the excursion had reached a premature conclusion.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3304″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]But no. After twenty minutes, the exhaust had cooled down sufficiently to be thrown into the boot of the vehicle and, having said farewell to the local family, we were off again. Got to hand it to these old Mercs.

We then managed the enormous distance of about twenty metres before there was an enormous jolt as the front wheel plunged into a huge crater and punctured the tyre. Out we got again and rejoined the bemused local family for another, lengthier chat and a drink.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3305″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This second stop was much longer but we eventually got back under way and, fortunately, there were no further incidents. Comfy though.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

My 3 favourite Gambia beach walks 👣

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Beach walks, walking is good for the soul and for your general well-being.
It’s also great for your dog and if you didn’t bring one on holiday with you then we have a couple of very obliging mutts at the lodge called 7 and Yoga which are always on hand to accompany you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2960″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walk 1 of 3 is the walk Linda ( my partner ) and I probably do most and this is a 7 km 2-hour walk to The Rainbow Beach bar at Sanyang. It’s so simple to get to, just a short 25-minute stroll to the beach and turn right. We often comment on how we don’t see anyone on the way and often it is just Linda, myself and of course 7. On arrival, you will find several bars to choose from but Rainbow Beach Bar is our favourite offering traditional cultural wrestling each Sunday between 4 pm and 6 pm.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2946″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walks 2 of 3 is in the opposite direction and is shorter at 5km and a little under 1 and 1/2 hours. This takes you to Gunjur Beach where you can visit Gunjur Project and hear about the great work their volunteers are doing in the local community or visit a Turtle sanctuary and see how Gambia Parks and Wildlife are planning the future for Gambia’s turtles and marine life. Stop by at Sankule Beach Bar and meet Kaddi who has been entertaining and looking after her visitors there for more than 20 years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2944″ img_size=”medium”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walks 3 of 3 is the longest walk of the trio and is recommended that you taxi to your start point in Kartong. This walk will take circa 7 hours if you stop off for lunch at one of the beach bars. It brings you past both Nemasu Lodge and Sandele Eco-Retreat and in total will clock up circa 18km. It also has you passing the new Mosque which was built under Jammeh’s rule, quite spectacular!.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_single_image image=”2942″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]All walks can start at either end by arranging a taxi to drop off or pick up, Happy strolling 😀[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

6 of the best photo contest 2017

Footsteps eco-lodge Gambia | 6 of the best Gambia photos competition | 2016 finalist Daisy O'Neill

Winning a photography holiday has never been easier


Have you ever visited The Gambia or another country in Africa? Do you have the photographs to prove it? Then you too can enter our 6 of the best photo contest and win a  holiday for two at our lodge! Here’s how:

Step 1:

Like/follow us on Twitter, InstagramFacebook or Google+.

Step 2:

Share your favourite photo on your own social media profile. It has to be the profile you used to connect with us in step 1 and you have to make sure any visibility or privacy settings are set to public, otherwise we will not be able to see your entry. Please post one photo at a time.

Step 3:

Tag us in the post you prepared in step 2. Also include the hashtag #6otb2017gambia for photographs taken in The Gambia or #6otb2017africa for photographs taken elsewhere in Africa.


That’s all there is to it and you can enter as many photographs as you like until the end of August 2017. Please use one photo for each post.

Our team of judges will then start the difficult task of selecting the 6 best entries in each of the two categories of the photo contest. It will not be possible to be selected with more than one photo.
Finalists of the photo contest will be contacted and announced before the end of September 2017. In October 2017 the public will vote for their favourite entry and will determine who wins:

A week at Footsteps for two in our photo contest!

Bed & breakfast in any available week (excluding the last two weeks of December), flights not included.
Have you already booked and payed your holiday with us? No problem! If you win, we’ll give you your prize in cash on arrival.

Hope to see you soon!