Clarabel and Karen from The Gambia Experience visited Birdfair for the first time on 16th August. Here's what they thought...
The Gambia Experience has been attending Rutland Birdfair for several years now, with the aim of seeking out new birdwatching opportunities and connecting with customers - both old and new.
The event attracts thousands of avid birdwatchers from all over the UK and is a great opportunity to hear about the hottest birding holidays, destinations and events and to stock up on equipment and clothes for the year ahead.
This year was the first time myself and Karen had attended, and we were unsure what to expect. We were sharing a stand with The Gambia Tourism Board in Marquee 8, which was home to a number of tourist boards from all over the globe - not to mention several quirky stalls selling bird-houses and beautiful wooden kitchenware. For me, the event was such an eye-opener into the world of birding. I had no idea that so many countries around the world offered such fascinating birdwatching opportunities!
When we reached our stand, we were greeted by Ya Ya Barry - a knowledgeable birding guide - and Malick Jeng from The Gambia Tourism Board. They were later on joined by other friendly representatives and birders from The Gambia - all bringing a healthy dose of Gambian charm to the stand!
Above: The Gambia team!
Over the course of the day, I was happy to meet so many customers who came over specifically to express their love for The Gambia, many of whom had been over 10 times! It was lovely to hear stories from those who had visited year after year, and knew the country as well as we did!
We also had many visits from people who had heard about our new Rivers of West Africa Cruise, and wanted to know more about the numerous birding opportunities it presents.
Above: Clarabel on The Gambia stand
The location of the event itself suited the theme perfectly. Held right next to Rutland Water, a beautiful reservoir in the East Midlands, it was a prime position to spot some of the local birdlife.
Overall, Birdfair 2019 was a fantastic opportunity to see what this popular event was all about, and to hear valuable feedback on our existing birdwatching tours, excursions and hotels. Whether you're an amateur or experienced birder, there's something for you.
We hope to see you there next August!
Above: views over part of Rutland water from our hotel grounds
You can find out more about the fair on the Birdfair website, or if you'd like to know more about birdwatching in The Gambia, including hotels, day excursions and private tours, click here.
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