Mandina Lodge, Makasutu Forest, near Banjul, Gambia, West Africa, Africa
Robert Harding/© Robert Harding
The Gambia’s first national park, the Abuko Nature Reserve, can trace its protected status back to a time before The Gambia became an independent nation in 1965—a small stream here was first fenced off in 1916. Today’s park dates mostly from 1968, and while it is modest in size at 105 hectares (0.4 square miles), it’s strong on biodiversity. A nature trail leads through both forested and savanna habitats, and some 250 species of birds are on display. There are also four species of monkeys and several types of reptile, including Nile crocodiles, as well as an on-site animal orphanage that rehabilitates monkeys, hyenas and birds. An application of bug repellent before you start your nature walk is recommended.