Home » Africa » Snappy Collection From The Smiling Coast of Africa: Part One

Snappy Collection From The Smiling Coast of Africa: Part One

by sheilanewton on 07/04/12 at 12:45 pm

A Tourist’s Guide to the Wildlife of Gambia and Senegal.

Gambia is a country I’d thought about visiting ever since I’d heard about it from a fellow traveller in Egypt way back in  in 1993.  But somehow, I’d never got around to actually doing anything about it.  But this year, we DID! And it was one of the best experiences of my travelling life!


Our hotel was situated just over the wall from Kotu Creek.  Palm Beach Hotel was oh-so-friendly and that’s where we met our bird guide, Abdou Aziz.  Aziz is a true expert on Gambian birds – and that’s why we chose him from the other bird guides working from the green hut at Kotu Bridge.  And I’m so glad we toured with Aziz.  On our first ever Gambian visit, on only three trips with Aziz  (Abuko Nature Reserve; Fatalah Wildlife Park, Senegal; Brufut Wood), plus walks around Kotu Creek, we identified over sixty different types of bird.


Right on our doorstep, just over the wall of our hotel, was Kotu Creek, the estuary that gurgled into the sea.  Here, we saw a family of pied kingfishers dive, hovering over the rippling river to catch fish.  We saw grey herons and curlews stalk the water’s edge, looking for sandcrabs and fish.  We saw one of them paddling at the seafront, jumping the waves, unconcerned about nearby bathers.  We went to see the vultures being fed in the early evening, black kites swooping down among them to steal the raw meat!

Behind the Kunta Kinteh restaurant, just a few yards along the sands from our hotel, we saw red-billed firefinches, cisticolas and long-tailed swallows.




Aziz took us to beautiful Abuko Nature Reserve, where, among the wonders we saw, were night herons, palm nut vultures (the bird of prey that’s not. It’s vegetarian!),  pied crows, bul-buls, red-eyed doves, firefinches, the African Pied Hornbill and the African Grey Hornbill

At the water hole, from the hide, we spied an antelope lapping the water and a gang of cheeky weavers chattering in the low branches at the water’s edge.



This, my first ever wildlife safari, was sheer heaven.  Our guide, Aziz, had arranged for a driver with a four-wheel drive to meet us from the ferry at Barra to take us over the border into Senegal to Fatalah Wildlife Park.

It was magic!  We saw ostrich, antelope, giraffe, rhinoceros, tortoise, zebra, buffalo and warthogs. Some of the animals were  were in the paddock, but most of what we saw were living in the wild.  Aziz pointed out a beautiful spotted woodpecker as we were exiting the park.  Oh, my!  And I was even allowed to sit on the spare wheel at the back of the vehicle on the way back to the ferry port.




We spent a great morning on the penultimate day of our trip, at Brufut Wood with Aziz, on the trail of owls and night jars.  We saw both – but we also saw the beautiful sunbird, fire finch, weavers, bul-bul bee-eaters, hoopoes and canaries.  We didn’t get photos of them all – but we got some super shots nevertheless.


If you have enjoyed this article, watch out for part two – COMING SOON – where we take a cruise up the River Gambia and visit Bijilo Forest Trail.


Perhaps you’d like to visit my blog and my website too.  The links are below.

Sheila’s Blog:

Writing for my Life


Sheila’s Website:



Liked it


Apr 7th, 2012

about africa, like

Norm Schneider

Apr 7th, 2012

Great photos Sheila. I’m envious.

Wrath Warbone

Apr 7th, 2012

Awesome! I liked it with my Facebook.


Apr 7th, 2012

I’m heading back there in November.

A Bromley

Apr 7th, 2012

I can hardly wait for part two. This is awesome. I am so glad you could go and am so glad you are sharing this journey. Thank you. Awesome photos too.


Apr 7th, 2012

One of the best nature articles I have read on Triond. You captured the grace and majesty of these magnificent creatures splendidly. Your photos were spectacular. I eagerly look forward to your second installment. It’s a fun read. Congratulations!


Apr 7th, 2012

Beautiful to read and thanks for the photos’s. I have never been to Gambia. I’m glad I could see parts of it, through you sharing this.
You must have had a lovely time.
Happy Easter.


Apr 7th, 2012

Hi Sheila,
Aziz is also a great friend of ours. We always use his expertise for our birding trips. He is a very special person.
Stave and Sandra


Apr 8th, 2012


yes me

Apr 8th, 2012

Great stuff here Sheila cheers


Apr 8th, 2012

Nice of you all to leave such awesome comments. And thanks Sandra, for leaving a message, even though you’re not part of the Triond Community. Yes – Aziz IS a special person. We just adore him. he made our trip to Gambia even MORE brilliant. I gather you go to Gambia regularly? MY first time – but NOT my last!

Aroosa Hermosa

Apr 8th, 2012


Jonas N

Apr 8th, 2012

wow. wonderful scenes from Africa

Martin Kloess

Apr 8th, 2012

enjoyable very.

Uma Shankari

Apr 8th, 2012

Thoroughly enjoyable. Loved the pictures.


Apr 9th, 2012

How utterly amazing. I would love to go on a safari. Another if my dreams is to go Gorilla Trekking in Uganda. The only thing stopping me is the cost. Maybe one day :-)

Lady Sunshine

Apr 9th, 2012

Enjoyed this immensely. Your photos were beautiful as well. And erwin left you an essay. lol. He usually leaves token comments. Looking forward to part 2.

BTW, loved your “Graceful Giraffe” photo as well as your little verse. It’s a lovely creature. Picable wouldn’t let me comment.


Apr 9th, 2012

The beautiful and rich wonderful pictures

Nick Bagnall

Apr 10th, 2012

Lovely photography, nicley put together, glad you had a nice time


Apr 10th, 2012

you just took my breath away…awesome!


Apr 11th, 2012

Sheila…why did tears come to my eyes? This was just too beautiful – you lucky lucky lucky girl! Thanks for this!


Apr 12th, 2012

Fanbloodytastic Sheila!!! SO jealous!!

Lisa Marie Mottert

Apr 12th, 2012

Superb! Wonderfully written and gorgeous animals…pictures turned out very clear:)

Dee Gold

Apr 13th, 2012

attractive images,thanks

Kristie Claar

Apr 14th, 2012


Melody SJAL

Apr 15th, 2012

A truly enjoyable read…great shots.


Apr 16th, 2012

You’ve described the places beautifully. Awesome pics.


Apr 18th, 2012

What a great tip you had. Wish I could go there too.
Enjoyed your article very much. The pictures are fantastic

Martin Kloess

Apr 18th, 2012

Don’t miss today’s poem – forsaken


Apr 20th, 2012

It is a paradise… I love it…


Apr 20th, 2012

Nice article..


Apr 20th, 2012

Nice article.. :)


Apr 21st, 2012

I am South African and nature is beautiful in my country such a gift, you have lovely pictures and a well written article thanks for sharing this article


Apr 21st, 2012

beautiful pics, sheila.


Apr 22nd, 2012

Great pictures & description.


Apr 23rd, 2012

Thanks for the online tour. Great images and very nice info.


Apr 25th, 2012

Beautiful what a great adventure, your photos just incredible.


Apr 25th, 2012

nice one


Apr 26th, 2012

Wonderful photos! I guess you must have used a pretty long lens to capture the birds, or were you able to get up close?


Apr 27th, 2012

You take such great pictures. Please keep up your work. It gives people that can not travel a way out of their little part of the world.



You are not alone! Or will you be?


Apr 28th, 2012

awesome share sheila…gambia!! will add to my list…and hope fully Aziz will be around :)

Jsqc Writer

Apr 28th, 2012

Thanks for taking us on a beautiful and inspiring tour :)


Apr 29th, 2012

oh my God this is so beautiful , who took the shots ,you Shei ? Wonderful…perfect work.


Apr 30th, 2012

here again. to see the pics and of course for a click and this time will do the I like it too.


May 6th, 2012

Amazing how we were at the same place and same time but never saw eachother.

Elove Poetry

May 6th, 2012

amazing pix


May 9th, 2012

Brilliant I truly loved this gem and look forward to so many more from you.


May 10th, 2012

Thanks for sharing your trip with us ;-)

Billy Ellis

May 12th, 2012

Great article- super pix. Wow.


May 20th, 2012

Amazing photos and experience. Wow!


Jun 3rd, 2012

A click on the like button for this gorgeous piece


Jun 4th, 2012


Lisa Marie Mottert

Jun 8th, 2012

Great photos and good information!


Aug 4th, 2012

Good job, Sheila

Kristie Claar

Aug 4th, 2012

Here again, love the pictures you have shared with us.

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