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Back to an English winter

Senegal day twelve

Our final night of this trip had been spent in Gambia, as it would have been impossible to do the long drive back from Fimela in Senegal, catch the unreliable Barra-Banjul ferry and be confident of making it to the airport in time for any flight, let alone the regular chartered mid-afternoon one to London. The bonus was a few final hours in the hot African sun before flying back to the February chills of home.

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Sunrise, Kotu Beach

The balcony of our top floor room at the Kombo Beach Hotel gave us a great view of a lovely sunrise through the palms.

And after a decent buffet breakfast we took a walk along the beach.

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On Kotu Beach

Kotu Stream

There was just time too to head along the road to a popular Kotu Beach spot. The road that leads off to the Kombo Beach and a few other hotels crosses the Kotu Stream, and the bridge here is a popular spot for bird-watching. In fact, at 10.30 every morning you can come and watch the vultures being fed. That would have been a bit late for us, with a flight to catch, but even earlier in the morning there was plenty of activity to enjoy.

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The view from Kotu Bridge

The downside was that, as everywhere in The Gambia, we were hassled by would-be guides, taxi drivers, boat owners and sellers of all kinds, both during our walk and while standing on the bridge trying to take photos or simply enjoy the view.

I did my best to repel or tune out those clamouring to sell me a tour or drive me anywhere else other than here, and found this despite the hassle a pleasant place to while away some time. Bird sightings were good and included various herons (a Western Reef Heron and a Grey Heron), Hooded Vultures, Long-tailed Cormorants, a Spur-Winged Lapwing, Pied Kingfishers, a Red-eyed Dove, Wide-tailed Swallows, Whimbrels and more.

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Western Reef Heron, and Grey Heron

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Long-tailed Cormorant

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Pied Kingfisher

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Wide-tailed Swallow

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Whimbrel

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Spur-Winged Lapwing

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Hooded Vulture

As well as the birds we enjoyed watching the fishermen with their traditional nets.

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Fisherman by Kotu Bridge

There was a small and rather exposed hide right by the bridge, and there may well have been others along the nature trail but we didn't have time to explore that as we had to get back to the hotel for our airport pick-up.

Our flight home was so uneventful I kept no notes! And after an equally uneventful overnight stay at Gatwick’s Hilton hotel, we braved the chill of London and headed home.

Posted by ToonSarah 09:37 Archived in Gambia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises bridges birds fishing wildlife beach hotel flight river africa gambia

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Comments

I love name Whimbrel. On Last of the Summer Wine, Howard keeps thinking he has heard a whimbrel.

by greatgrandmaR

Yes, the name has a nice sound, I agree. They’re not at all common in the UK (migrant visitors only I believe) so that was probably the joke ;)

by ToonSarah

This sounds silly, but your hooded vulture is cute . . . not a word I normally associate with vultures. He actually looks lovable. Great photo!

by Beausoleil

Another experience under your belt. It seems like a great destination for twitchers. I've been quite taken with the pied kingfisher which I never knew existed before now.

by Easymalc

Thanks both. I'm a big fan of the Pied Kingfishers Malcolm, and unlike our variety they sit still for ages, studying the water for fish movements, so are relatively easy to photograph :) Sally, I'm not sure I'd call the vulture cute but he does have a certain presence ;)

by ToonSarah

Lovely post and great photo's! You've really got me into thinking about some travel in Africa. Anything I have read about travel reiterates that it is expensive to travel in Africa. Do you think it is? And if so how expensive is it and why? Thanks

by katieshevlin62

Africa is a big continent so it depends where you go Katie. Botswana, where we were last year, is definitely expensive - their approach to balancing the needs of tourism with its benefits has been to focus on high-end experiences, lodges etc. But Gambia has accommodation for a range of budgets and I'm sure less visited countries would be cheaper still.

by ToonSarah

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