FOLLOWING THE ECO PATH
The birds of Senegambia are one of the region's main atractions. However, mammals and other animals of the region do exist and can be seen. Popular and easily recognised animal species in forested areas include baboons and three types of monkeys (vervet, patas and red colobus). Abuko Nature Reserve is one of the best places to see these monkeys. Chimpanzees are inhabited in the River Gambia National Park. In the forest areas you also may see oribi and duikers (small members of the antelope family). In the drier grassland areas antelope species can be seen inculding cobs, roans, waterbucks and derby elands. Other species found in this type of habitat include warthogs and bush pigs.
Hippopotamus also reside in the Gambia River, and you might be lucky enough to see some if you travel by boat on its upper reaches. Other animals occurring in creeks and lagoons include dolphins and crocodiles. Reptiles to watch for are snakes (including pythons, cobras and mambas), but most fear humans and you'll be lucky to even see one. Other reptiles are lizards (such as the large monitor lizard), geckos and tortoise.
Ask your tour operator or hotel staff for the best way to access these parks:
Makasutu (“Holy Forest”)
Makasutu Cultural Forest, the name Makasutu is a Mandinka word, which translates into English, as “Holy Forest”. There is a history to this dwelling. Legend has it that tribal wars took place in this forest centuries ago. A particular King was also killed here, and his head, crown and throne were all buried in the forest.
The local community avoided the area, for another reason: the legend also states that the devil lived in this forest! Nevertheless, the owners of this beautiful resort forged ahead and began a venture that would, after almost fifteen years, earn them a reputation as having The Best New Eco Lodge in The World, according to Sunday Times in 2002.
Another award was bestowed on the serene lodge two years later with the capping of the prestigious "Guild of British Travel Writers Award." This comes as no surprise. Surrounded by six villages, Makasutu Cultural Forest is an all-in-one excursion and is all that the international media, and the world travel body have described it. A safari drive, a guided forest walk, a boat ride, bird watching, and cultural entertainment galore are all at ‘Makasutu’.
There is a craft area where local artists show their talent and skill in wood carving, design ware and other traditional African artifacts.
Tumani Tenda Eco-Tourism Camp
Tumani Tenda is a Jolla Village with approximately 300 inhabitants living in seven extended families. It is situated 25 km East of Brikama and 3 km from Kafatu, an tributary/Bolong of the Gambia River. This small hamlet derives its name from a peanut picker, called Tumani, who lived in the area; Tenda means riverbank. The founder of the village, the late Alhaji Osman, a Koran scholar, established the community 30 years ago after immigrating from Casamance. A community evolved which is described as a religious community embracing certain values, notably a sustainable attitude to the natural environment, a socially responsible style of living, respect for the elderly, independence, self-sustainability and a sense of community. Tumani Tenda owns 140 hectares of land, of which 89 are sustainably cultivated, with a species rich forest that is continually upgraded with seedlings and serves as a pharmacy and natural water reservoir. Plants and crops grow in abundance and include maize, millet, groundnuts, vegetables, herbs and spices, bananas, grapefruits, oranges, mangoes, lemons and many others.