Comments from previous Gambian Birders!
I have used Ousman for bird watching trips on both my trips to Gambia. He is a superb guide who knows all the key locations well, constantly carrying out research into new locations for rarer species, and is an acknowledged expert on bird identiification, partricularly in his native Gambia.
I would recommend him unconditionally.
Bob Young, Flintshire, Wales
I spent a week birding in the Gambia,mainly in the coastal region.
I had 4 days planned with a local guide starting on the second day of my stay. However on my first day I chanced upon Ousman as he was scanning for shorebirds with a telescope near my hotel. We talked a bit and agreed to do a little birding together. Very soon I discovered that Ousman knew the local birds very, very well. And not only did he know the birds he was also an expert on butterflies, mammals and plants – he was an all-round nature guide.
During the next 4 days I realised that the guide I had previously hired, though competent, was nowhere nearÂ as good as Ousman. I decided to spend my last day birding with Ousman. He delivered finding me many of the species that the other guide had been unable to locate.
Ousman has the ability to find a bird and put it in the scope with lightning speed. he is also good at pishing and luring the birds in. And perhaps equally important he is a very likeable fellow with whom you can spend a nice time out.
Eildert Beeftink, The Netherlands
We first met Ousman in February 2007. Since then we have used him as a bird guide on many occasions in and around Bakau and most recently on a trip up-river to Tendaba camp, Georgetown. He is brilliant at locating and identifying birds. We recorded well over 200 different species in this time with him. He is very reliable, friendly, trustworthy and reasonably priced! We recommend him without reservation.
Alan & Judith Mills, North Yorkshire, UK
The Gambia is an absolute paradise for birders, but many species can take some finding.
A knowledge of the birds and their habitats is essential to get the best out of your trip.
There is no better way than to hire a professional guide. There are numerous guides in The Gambia, some excellent, whilst many are eager but lack knowledge. If you are looking for a first class guide then look no further than Ousman Joku, he is one of the very best.
I used him on my first trip to The Gambia and found him to be a mild mannered, pleasant and extremely knowledgeable birder who takes his work very seriously, yet with his quiet professional manner and genuine sense of humour, trips out with him were an absolute delight.
I am a volunteer warden on a Nature Reserve in East Yorkshire so I know something about dealing with the public and I can say without reservation that Ousman has got it just right.
During my two week holiday I had a total of seven outings with him, ranging from evening walks to overnight trips. I saw an amazing 187 species of bird including Pel’s Fishing Owl and White-crested Tiger Heron not to mention Giant Kingfisher and Bateleur Eagle, fantastic!
You can arrange your itinerary before or when you arrive if Ousman is available. He will arrange trips anywhere within The Gambia and also into neighbouring Senegal.
You are guaranteed a fantastic holiday, with great weather, wonderful people and superb birding.
Richard and Mandy S., East Yorkshire
We are an ordinary birding and nature loving couple from Finland who have been able to travel a lot and see quite a lot birds in last ten years. We seldom visit the same country again because there are so many interesting places and various birds to see in the world. Still we have visited the Gambia four times since the year 2007. Actually the main reason to visit there again and again is not only the numerous splendid birds we have seen but also the most wonderful person called Ousman Joku. Ousman has not only been our bird guide during our trips but our host too when birding inland, visiting cultural places and his family and friends. We have made unforgettable trips together by foot, taxi, his friendâ€™s car, boats, canoe, float and last time at February 2012 by his own car.
The first time we met Ousman he was youngster, but he impressed us by his talents, good sense of humour and ability to make circumspect decisions. Now is he even more skilful, care taking, warm, encouraging, ambitious, correct and absolutely reliable. Ousman has guided other Finns too and the most famous of them is the Finnish ornithologist called Lasse J. Laine, who has written many books of birds and his trip mentioning Ousman as a splendid guide in his book too. All Finns have been very pleased with Ousman. We are very happy to see that step by step our companionship with Ousman has grown to the close friendship and we respect him as a quide and as a good friend too.
Mrs. Heli-Kirsi Pekkarinen and Mr. Jarmo Lindstedt
My husband and I had the pleasure of touring the Gambia and parts of Senegal with Ousman Joku this past December. We have taken numerous birding tours these past 30 years, both with companies, and individually as we did with Ousman. He is a very accomplished birder as well as tour guide. We had two target birds, the first of which he found for us the second day, the Egyptian Plover. We worked a little harder for our second bird, the Abyssian Ground Hornbill, but did find it after 5 hours of searching. We saw many additional birds, well over 250 different species. I had asked for some cultural experiences as well. Never did I imagine we would be so completely emerged into the Gambian way of life. He invited us to his village to see his 3 day old son. This was also Ousmanâ€™s first visit with his new son. While there, we participated in a wedding reception, ate a typical meal in one of their houses, and watched Ousmanâ€™s soccer team win the area villageâ€™s tournament, and picked the best oranges I have ever eaten off his brotherâ€™s tree. The people were welcoming, friendly, and would give you what they had. I highly recommend him if you are looking for an accomplished birder who can find the birds you want to see. Ousman has the personality to make your trip enjoyable at so many levels. Our driver, Demba, was excellent as well. He managed to get us through a 4 hour stop and go traffic jam on the last day of our tour on our way to the airport, calmly and professionally.
Happy Birders from the USA
We first met Ousman when he was our guide along the Gambia river. During the week we got to know him well, his enthusiasm was infectious and his bird guiding skills matched some of the best guides we have experienced anywhere in the world.
We were also impressed by his wide natural history knowledge as we are interested in all wild life as well as birds.Â He is softly spoken, very polite and took great care to ensure that both of us were able to see all the birds he located.
When we returned to the Gambia for a second trip we contacted Ousman and arranged for him to pick us up from his hotel. As expected he arrived in good time and had planned an interestingÂ range of habitats for us to visit. We enjoyed a couple of great days out with him; he was great company and we added a further 100 species to our Gambian list.
Anne and Steve Pilkington UK March 2012
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