Abuko Nature Reserve is situated outside the village of Lamin in the Kombo North District, 25 km from Banjul. The Reserve has been protected as a water catchment area since 1916. It was officially declared a Nature Reserve in 1968. In 1978 a further 29 ha. were added to the original 105 ha. Bringing it up to its current size of 134 ha. The Reserve is rectangular in shape, centered on the Lamin stream which surfaces within the lower half of the Reserve.
Abuko Nature Reserve provides a good introduction to the flora, fauna and avi-fauna of The Gambia. Its unique nature allows the visitor to gain an insight into the biodiversity of The Gambia, both present and past. The pools in the Northeast end of the reserve hold a substantial population of Nile crocodiles, and attract a wide variety of birds and mammals, especially during the dry season. The pools also contain quite a variety of fish species. At the animal orphanage the visitor gets the opportunity to view some examples of Gambian wildlife up close (spotted hyena, bush buck,) as well as lions, now extinct in The Gambia. The orphanage is also a temporary home to animals and birds that had been held in captivity.
Four species of primate occur in the reserve; the red colobus, the green or vervet monkey, the red patas and the bushbaby. Other mammals present include sitatunga, bush buck, Grimms duiker, sun-squirrel, striped ground squirrel, crested and brush-tailed porcupine, and a variety of rodents. Reptiles present include Nile and dwarf Crocodile, Nile and Boscs monitor, agama lizard, various skinks and geckos, python, puff adder, black-necked cobra and green mamba.
Over 270 species of birds have been recorded from Abuko Nature Reserve which reflects the value of this small area. The reserve contains an intact pocket of gallery forest in which numerous forest dependent species occur such as the green-crested touraco, little green bulbul and the yellow-chested apalis. The milky (or Verreaux’s) eagle-owl is also resident and often heard calling in the late afternoon. The chain of pools within the lower end of the reserve attract a tremendous variety of bird life , from the white-spotted pygmy rail to African fish eagles. An afternoon spent at the Education Centre or one of the photohides will yield many good sightings.
At the south-western end of the reserve an extension of 29 ha. added in 1978 has been appropriately labelled the extension bird walk. The area is composed of Guinea savannah with open glades of bushed-grassland.