There are lots of great wonders of the world that many people hope to see before they die. Places like the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower, Mt. Everest, and Stonehenge are just a few of popular destinations. There are many places in the world, however, that are equally magnificent, but lesser-known. The Abuko Nature Reserve in the country of Gambiain Africa is one such place. It’s an awe-inspiring place that will bring you face-to-face with diverse plants and animals, and it’s a place you should certainly strive to see before you die.
A PROTECTED WILDLIFE RESERVE
The Abuko Nature Reserve became a government-protected area in 1968. The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management conserves the area and strives to protect the biodiversity of its animal and plant life, as well as educate the public on the value of such conservation. The rectangular-shaped reserve is more than 250 acres in size, and it’s enclosed by a large fence that the World Wildlife Fund helped sponsor and build. The Lamin Stream flows through Abuko, and the area is mostly tropical forest. The reserve is the most popular tourist attraction in Gambia, and more than 33,000 people visit it each year.
ANIMALS AND PLANTS
The most amazing thing about Abuko is the diverse wildlife you’ll spot when you’re there, and you will see a lot. It’s not a place where the animals are so hidden that it’s difficult to find them. There are four different species of primates, and there are many other mammals including squirrels, porcupines, rodents, antelope, mongeese, and much more. There are many reptiles, which include snakes, lizards, and crocodiles that you can often spot at the pools on the reserve. There are also hundreds of species of plant life and trees. Many of the trees are labeled so you can easily identify them.
One of the biggest attractions of the reserve is the nearly 300 species of birds that live there; it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. There are kingfishers, warblers, herons, waxbills, bluebills, falcons, and egrets, just to name a very few. If you enjoy birdwatching, the best times to visit the reserve are in the early morning or evening, and the birdlife is most active and plentiful in the months of February through May. No matter when you visit, however, you’re sure to see many species.
VISITING THE RESERVE
If you want to visit the reserve, it is not a very long taxi ride from most of the major resorts in Gambia. At the reserve, you can walk along the designated nature trail, which takes at least two hours. There is a shortcut if you don’t want to take the entire trek. There are guides that can lead you, and there are also lots of tour packages you can purchase with outside companies that will include admission costs, tours, transportation, and refreshments. It’s customary to tip your tour guides. While there, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and bring along insect repellent. There are designated looking areas that will give you some amazing photographs, and you’re sure to remember the experience for a lifetime.