Many people will be aware that the continent of Africa has various wildlife parks (safari parks). The large parks such as the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Kruger National Park in South Africa are offered by many travel organizations. Less known is the Fathala Wildlife Reserve in Senegal, but no less worth it.
The Fathala Wildlife Reserve is located in the West African country of Senegal. It is located about five kilometers from the border with Gambia, near the town of Karang. The park is easily accessible by car from the border with Gambia: the road to it is completely asphalted. There is no public transport to the park, but it is possible to take a taxi to the park.
The Fathala Wildlife Reserve consists of three parts: an arrival area, the game park and a lion area.
The arrival part
After passing the entrance sign, you arrive at the park’s parking lot. This parking lot consists of a large sandy area where cars and vans can park. Behind this parking lot is a lawn on which two giant tortoises walk. Round buildings have been erected around the lawn: a toilet building for men, a toilet building for women and a shop where tickets and drinks can be purchased. Opposite this shop is the restaurant, where homemade pizzas and drinks are sold.
The wildlife park
The wildlife park can be visited with your own car or with a truck from the park. All tours through the parks are led by a guide. The park’s trucks are open, making it easy to take photos. There are small trucks (up to nine people) for smaller groups, but the park also has one large truck for about twenty people.
The lion area
The lions are not kept in the game park, but in a separate area. For a fee it is possible to take a walk with lion cubs. This is of course led by a guide. The walk takes about an hour and is only permitted for people of one meter fifty and taller.
Various animals live in the Fathala Wildlife Reserve. In addition to various bird species, it is possible to see the following animals in the park:
- A rhino
- A giant moose
Not all animals are equally easy to see. The antelopes and the giant elk in particular are very rare to encounter. The monkeys are difficult to photograph: they are very shy and often jump away quickly when the truck comes near.
There is one male rhino living in the Fathala Wildlife Reserve. The park also had a female rhino at first, but during a fight the male injured the female so badly that she died. The people behind the Fathala Wildlife Reserve would like to bring two new female rhinos to the park, but because the rhino is an endangered species, this is very difficult.
Visit the park
It is quite possible to visit the park with your own transport. Overnight accommodation is also offered via the park’s website in combination with a visit to the park. You can choose to just visit the park, but excursions in the area can also be booked. All prices for this are stated on the website.
It is also possible to visit the park with a group. Various travel organizations in Gambia offer the park as an excursion. It is advisable to book the excursion through a Dutch travel organization and not through a local guide. The price will probably be a bit higher, but the trip to the park will be better organized than if you book through a local guide.