The Gambia excites tourists with bird-watching festival

The Gambia is set again to woo tourists with an exciting International Bird-Watching Festival from October 21-26, 2015 Tendaba Camp, located in the Lower River Region of the Gambia on the banks of the river.

With the festival, the country is offering tourists, especially adventure lovers and naturalists’ ample opportunity to explore Mother Nature at its best.
The West African country renowned for her effort at drawing global traffic to her tourism attraction, is inviting tourists to her International Bird Festival.
The Gambia will be playing host to the guests and visitors to be part of the festival which will offer bird watchers the rare opportunity of seeing over 540 species of birds in relatively close proximity including; sacred ibis, African Finfoot, White Backed Night Heron, Shining blue kingfisher, Goliath Heron, Pel’s Fishing Owl among others.

Foreign tourists enjoying their vacation aboard a boat while in the Gambia.
Foreign tourists enjoying their vacation aboard a boat while in the Gambia.

In its first edition, the bird festival will feature a wide variety of birding activities, birding field trips, lectures/ presentations/workshops, inside and outdoor activities, exhibition and a farewell Gala Dinner.
Detailing the itinerary, the organisers noted that beyond the opening ceremony, registration of participants, lectures and presentations on the second day, the third day would be full of bird watching activities.
On that day, visitors will experience a spectacular morning across the river Gambia into the creeks of Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve back to Tendaba Camp for lunch, while they also walk around Tendaba Camp air field in the afternoon.
There will also be evening lectures and presentations overnight at Tendaba Camp. On the fourth day, the global bird watchers at the festival will experience an exciting full day birding into Kiang West National Park. The next day will see them driving to the trans Gambia ferry crossing to Kaur wetland on the North Bank to bird watch along the way, while also partaking in the award gala night in the last day.
However, speaking on the choice of the venue, the organisers said that Tendaba Camp, which lies between Kiang West National Park and Baobolong Wetland Reserve, was built in the 1970’s and one of the first tourist camps in the country that attracts mostly birdwatchers and naturalists.
Also, the area is characterized by a broad tidal river bed, savannah swamp and mangroves. In terms of facilities, the camp offers single and twin family rooms, two bars, a restaurant, swimming pool, and conference hall with internet facilities. All these combine to make the camp a spot for short excursions and an ideal location for ecotourists interested in wildlife. Bird species include the sacred ibis, African Finfoot, White Backed Night Heron, Shining blue kingfisher, Goliath Heron, Pel’s Fishing Owl amongst others.
The festival is organised by The Gambia Tourism Board, in collaboration with Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, Bird Watchers Association and Conservation Organisations with the objective of promoting rural tourism development as well supporting the conservation of birds and their habitats.
It is also expected that about 50 percent of the proceeds from the event will be allocated to support the conservation of the Kotu creek and protection of the black crowned Crane.

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