The Parks and Reserves
The first thing tourist must do when entering a park or reserve is observe the rules.
The most famous reserve is in Abuko, 25 kilometers from Banjul. The park has been a protected area since 1916 because it supplies the capital with drinking water. In 1968, it became a nature reserve, and ten years later the surface area was expanded.
Today, the 106-hectare park is surrounded by the Lamin river and a chain of three ponds.
An old wooden house overlooking one of the ponds houses a children’s education center. The pond is home to a colony of dwarf crocodiles (that are nevertheless two meters long), which live only in forest areas.
The river Gambia National Park is better known as the Baboon Islands, a group of five islands located in the central river division near Jang Jang Bureh.
Boats heading for Jang Jang Bureh are requested not to stop at the Island in order to stop leave the chimpanzee undisturbed.
The Bao bolong wetland Reserve is on the Gambia’s northern bank near Tendaba. It is made up of six bolongs located between salikeni and Katchang, the two main villages in the reserve, which means that the park is not only inhabited, but also contains farm land, including extensive rice paddies.
Bao Bolong itself is a dried-up tributary of the ferlo in Senegal. It has been selected as a RAMSAR site (the international convention on wetland).
The RAMSAR office has funded an ecological and socio-economic study of the 22,000-hectare reserve’s with the aim of designing a development plan that takes both wildlife and residents into account. The clawless otter is the reserve’s emblem, but monkeys, hippopotamus, sitatunga antelopes and many bird species, such as the African white-tailed eagle and the white backed heron, also live there.
Created in t1987, the 11,500-hectare kiang West national park is one of the country’s largest wild-life reserves. It includes forest savanna and creeks lined by laterite escarpments.
Various kind of monkeys, mongooses and antelopes co-exist with hyenas, wart hogs and birds, of which the bateceur eagle is the most common species.
Located in the far north along the border with Senegal, the 4940-hectare Niumi National park is the Gambian extension of saloum park. It includes Ginack island, which tamarisk and mangrove-fringed Niji bolong set apart from mainland.