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Situated on the edge of lush MacCarthy Island in the middle of the Gambia River, Georgetown (or Janjanbureh) is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area. A former colonial administrative centre, it was founded in 1823 as a settlement for freed slaves. These days, Georgetown’s small local industry is centred on rice and groundnut collection, products which are still shipped downriver as they have been for centuries. There is not much other infrastructure in Georgetown. However the meandering bush and wetland scenery provides quite a bit for nature lovers, and an awful lot for bird lovers.
There are several bird ‘safaris’ around Georgetown and a handful of local guides well informed in the area’s ornithology and how to spot those rare species. The Gambian government has proved to be committed to protecting its 500 species of exotic birds, by installing six protected areas across the country. This effort has garnered Gambia the reputation of one of the world’s leading destinations for bird watching, as well as setting a good example of how a local commodity can be converted to a thriving tourism niche.Read more
Even if feathered creatures do not particularly turn you on, awakening to a cacophony of bird song is a close-to-heaven experience. Iridescent blue kingfishers are one of the most common species, as is the long-tailed sunbird, which is every bit as colourful as its name suggests.