Abuko Forest Reserve, just south of the town of Abuko, is The Gambia’s oldest nature reserve. and was the country’s first designated wildlife reserve. In 1968 the Department of Wildlife, now the Gambia Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, was established at the reserve.
The nature reserve covers around 107 hectares, much of it is dense forest and bushes, plenty of room for the three primate species found here: vervet, red colobus and patas monkeys.
There are also said to have been as many as 270 bird species recorded in this forest area. Reptiles to be found in the park include the monitor lizard, Nile crocodile, dwarf crocodile, spitting cobra, black cobra, python, puff adder and green mamba.
Many species of colourful butterflies, large and small, and dragonflies can also seen in the area, depending upon the season.
There’s also a small zoo where you’ll see baboons and hyenas and a refreshment area where you can get nice cold drink and a snack. Some of the small, friendly monkeys will probably come to see you while you are there.
After a few hours in the reserve it’s time for lunch at Lamin Lodge (D 300), a classic restaurant perched on stilts among the mangroves by one of the River Gambia’s tributaries.
After lunch it’s on to Tanji Village Museum, the Gambia’s first private museum, and a great place for learning about Gambian flora and fauna, history and crafts, as well as hearing local musicians.
After visiting the museum, you can continue to see Tanji’s bustling fish market.
© Frode Falkenberg, all rights reserved