In Dec 2013/Jan 2014 I stayed for 7 nights in Hotel Kombo Beach. Kombo Beach is an excellent location to familiarize yourself with the richness of birds species which The Gambia has to offer. Various different habitats are in the immediate vicinity including the hotel garden itself passionately maintained year round by Karamba Jammek and his team. Adjacent to the hotel, at the bridge is the site located of the Bird Guide Association Kotu, headed by (professor) Ansu Jawara. A local tour on arrival with Ansu as your guide is probably the best and quickest way to get your initial introduction to the birds of the Gambia and Senegal. Ansu is an educated, professional bird guide and keen on sharing his knowledge with you. I walked with him for two hours near the river and lake side and through the rice fields and armed with the field guide "Birds of the Gambia and Senegal" from Clive Barlow and Tim Wacher we spotted around 50 species ( and then I do not count yet our Palearctic migrants ) with ample time to observe their behaviour. Without his enthusiastic guiding for sure I would not have spotted half of them by lack of knowledge of the terrain and what you can expect there. Due to personal reasons I was not in a position to do some bird watching further away from the hotel but be aware that Ansu is available and more than happy to guide you through various other areas in The Gambia (birdsingambia.com).
Jan de Vries, The Netherlands
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