Bijilo Forest Park & Nature Trail (Monkey Park) lies in the coastal zone, next to the beach, about 11km west of Banjul capital, in the Kombo Saint Mary District, of The Gambia in West Africa. The species rich, fenced woodland was gazetted in 1952 & covers an area of 51.3 hectares (126 acres / about half a square km), & is on the Atlantic Ocean beach at the southern end of the Senegambia area of Kololi. It has a total length of 1,500 meters parallel to the coast & width of 350 meters, & the soils are deep & well drained. The protected nature reserve is comprised primarily of a closed canopy forest with a significant number of rhun palms, & with a relatively thin strip of herbaceous dune vegetation.
Between 1951 to 1956 the only land management activity implemented was the clearing of fire lines along the boundaries on both sides of the fence. In 1977 the park was re-surveyed by the Dept. of Forestry and again in 1982, this was followed by an inventory of the park. A nature trail was created by the Gambian-German Forestry Project in 1991, when the area was made open to the public, & now receives about 23,000 visitors a year.
The nature trail in Bijilo Forest Park is over 4.5 km of signposted footpaths that winds its way through contrasting habitats of forest, coastal scrubland and sand dunes. The majority of it is reasonably level though there are several steeper inclines with roughed out steps. For the park's visitors there are wooden benches and shaded covers set up at convenient points along the path and also some viewing areas overlooking the sand dunes, beachfront and the Atlantic ocean. You can find a map of the various routes on boards located throughout the mini-forest. There is also a 'straight' footpath which cuts through the scrub and forest close to the beach called the 'ornithological path'. This route provides good opportunities to spot many of the park's bird life. There is also a pond in the forest which is maintained and acts as a watering hole for many creatures.
Gambia Drinking Water Advice. INTRODUCTION: At first, drinking the tap water is not advisable—as the water does not go through the same purification process as in the EU, diarrhoea can occur in people who have not yet built up immunity to bacteria or other impurities in the water.