Monday, 26 February 2018

Finding your way Part 3

As an overview to what I'm talking about in terms of places I thought it a good idea to share some maps and photos of Kotu. The photos are old ones I'm afraid as I didn't take any scenic style ones this last visit.
The aerial view of Kotu demonstrates just how much undeveloped land there is in and around the creek and it's this that makes it such an attractive proposition to someone like me who gets easily bored lying by the pool.
Compare it to the road map and I have attempted to show the various routes that can be taken from the Bakutu Hotel to the main places I am mentioning.
Kotu map
Leaving the hotel via the back footpath you avoid going over the mud flats which can be viewed from a platform in the hotel's grounds.
Instead you turn a sharp left through a pathway through the bushes and you emerge on to a path leading on to one of the golf course fairways which appear parched and brown on the aerial map.
The golf course is popular with birders but from a photographers point of view I find it has less of an appeal.
Turning right  and up the hill along the fairway you will pass the "green" and beyond it a bridge across the creek. Another right takes you along a raised path avoiding the mud in the mangroves although having said that the path had worn down considerably this time as it probably gets totally submerged on the odd occasion.
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Follow your nose past the bird guides garden place ( you can get a cold inexpensive soft drink here too) and you reach the path marked on the map as "Wandelpad".
From here you have various options to explore, including directly across towards the sewage ponds.
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These ponds used to be excellent but totally revolting. One pond would be full of fresh sewage, another covered in lush growth of lily and other pond plants whilst two appeared to be full of water.A couple of years ago a new management company took over and the pools were all cleaned out but it appears as if plants have now been deliberately put in each corner which helps attract birds once again. Birders are charged a nominal amount to wander around them but I preferred to visit the other water holes on the grounds that they were more hygienic!
Back to the "Wandelpad" and that will take you through the rice fields down to the main road and Kotu Bridge. 
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A daily vulture and kite feeding programme happens near here at around 11.00am.It's also a central meeting point, the place where the bird guides tout for business and a great spot to do some photography too. The bird guides have started running canoe trips from here too and they are proving very popular.
Turn left and continue to the next right to take you to either the big pool behind the Badala Park or follow the road down to the Palm Beach hotel , go through the hotel grounds and on to the beach.
The Greater Painted Snipe hide is located around there.
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Inexplicably having spent time and effort building it the Bird Guides Association have let it fall in to virtual total disrepair since I took this photo 3 years ago although curiously access to it through the mangroves has been greatly improved by a pathway of old car tyres filled with hard mud.
Once you have arrived at the beach you can also continue south for approximately 4 kms until you reach the Senegambia Hotel which is fairly obvious due to the number of people on sun loungers which are above the now constructed tidal protection scheme. The Senegambia gardens are worth checking out as are those of the Kairaba Hotel too. Both theses hotels are located in the popular Senegambia Strip area. A lot more food and drink options here but a lot noisier and crowded too once out of the hotel grounds.
It's a matter of personal preference of course but Kotu is my favoured location. Some folk are disparaging of the tourist area altogether but I like the fact you have a choice of eating and drinking each evening whereas staying elsewhere you can be stuck with no choice other than to stay put.

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