Hello folks,

I'm currently in the UK, but spend most of the year on a remote river island 200 miles up the Gambia river at my second home, Bird Safari Camp.

Since building the camp in 1997, we've teamed up with a number of other eco-lodges and some of The Gambia's best bird guides to offer an alternative to the typical 'hotel + flight' package holiday to The Gambia.

We have two boats which sail up and down the river according to a weekly schedule as part of our unique 'Discover the River' itineraries. These enable you to see the coastal birding sites as well as getting well off-the-beaten-track to the freshwater River Gambia National Park where you can see hippos, monkeys, baboons and chimpanzees, not to mention the rich birdlife!

An exciting new development is our pioneering solar-powered hybrid boat which is currently being built in Germany and will arrive in The Gambia in November 2010. Eco-friendly & quiet, we anticipate it will avoid us burning almost 1000 litres of fuel a week!

Although I'm still very much an amateur (compared to our local guides and many of you reading this!), I have a keen interest in birding and have recently found a new hobby in wildlife photography, an activity to which The Gambia's wonderful climate and diverse range of habitat lends itself particularly well.

I look forward to taking an active part in the forums and look forward to hearing from you should you be contemplating a birding holiday to The Gambia this winter! If you're coming to the bird fair later this month, please feel free to pop into the Gambia stand (Marquee 4) and say hello!

Best wishes and hope to see you soon?

Mark Thompson