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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
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185
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581
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Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

1 January 2016

Back to the coast

Pelican, no otters

Pelican, no otters

27 December 2015

We took one more shot at finding an otter across the river, but another two hours in the mangroves didn’t show up anything more interesting than whistling ducks and sacred ibis. No otters in The Gambia for us.

On the way back to shore we had another fun example of Gambian witlessness. We were going to pass another boat taking a couple of tourists out for their own mangrove trip, but they called out for us to stop. It turned out their outboard was a bit broken, so we had to tow them back to the dock to swap boats. There we had a clownish five minutes of two boatmen and two guides shouting at each other while they made a confusing cock-up of the easy task of getting us out of our boat and the other tourists into it. The others were more than a bit unhappy as they had already been an hour delayed getting started in the first place!

“You’re on Gambian time” they all say here, with a smile. You’re just a bit rubbish and don’t understand that people have paid plenty of money to enjoy their holiday rather than loiter around a dusty pier killing an hour, I think to myself. Honestly, it’s absolutely endemic (we ourselves were a half-hour late setting off because breakfast hadn’t even been started when we were supposed to be eating it).

Jungkung is an exception. But then again, he’s been to the UK several times, to the annual bird-watchers trade fair at Rutland Water – I’ve seen his bird list for the UK and I think he’s seen more species than I have! Once we got packed he drove us back to the coast and dropped us at Nemasu, our final seaside eco-lodge. It looks better and the bed is comfy.

Things we saw on the main highway that goes up-river:

  1. Police/military checkpoints every few miles
  2. Piles of wood and sacks of charcoal for sale
  3. A brightly dressed crowd going to a funeral
  4. Twenty (or so) banded mongooses crossing the road
  5. Thatched village mud huts next to modern concrete huts with tin roofs
  6. Goats, donkeys and cows crossing
  7. Mighty huge baobab trees on the edge of villages
  8. People hand-pumping water from roadside wells
  9. Sante Yalla minibuses full of people
  10. Children everywhere, often yelling hello
  11. Shops with odd references – Helsinki Stores and Old Trafford Videos
  12. Internet cafes
  13. A university campus in the middle of nowhere
  14. Roadside vendors (peanut crunch was good)
  15. Dust and plastic rubbish
Rubbish

Rubbish


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