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Gambia

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima ©Nigel Blake www.nigelblake.co.uk/

For the European tourist, The Gambia provides a first class destination for any birdwatcher. It has the advantage of being only a short flight away (about 5½ hours) and it has a very large bird list with over 550 species recorded. It is situated close to the northern limit of the tropical rain front and The Gambia is right in the middle of the narrow transitional zone between semi dessert and tropical rain forest, consequently, the country's bird list includes species from both of these areas with the species to be seen varying with the onset of the rainy and dry seasons. Add to the African endemic species the many European migrants that either pass through The Gambia or spend the winter there, and one can see why the bird list is so large. Because of the proximity of the rain forest to the south and the desert to the north, there is always the chance of spotting something unusual that has overshot on migration, or on a food-finding tour.

The climate is very pleasant, although it can be perhaps a little hot inland in the period just before and just after the annual summer rains. However, for many, the big attraction about birding in The Gambia is the attitude of the local population that is friendly, and, for the most part, very helpful. Unlike many other parts of Africa, it is perfectly safe to walk around alone in the bush with your camera and scope without fear of attack from persons or big game. (There are, however, some best avoided snakes; such as the Green Mamba I saw when there - Fatbirder (I have also seen quite a few, as well as the green mamba, king cobra and spitting cobra and a very large unidentified all grey job. Walk slowly, and in thicker brush, push your tripod through the underbrush ahead of you. I have found that the snakes appreciate the warning and are happy to move away. Nigel))

Hotels in The Gambia range from adequate to very good. As in all things, you get what you pay for. The Atlantic Hotel is a little out on a limb being close to the capital Banjul. However, it has its own bird garden, is close to the Bund road. There are several hotels, Kombo Beach, Bungalow Beach and the Badala Park that offer good birding just a short walk from the hotel in the Kotu area. The Senegambia has large grounds with a corresponding large bird population. The Kairaba, a little more expensive than the average is next door. Also nearby is the Kololi Beach Club, time-share, but rooms can be booked here. All these last three are close to and within easy walking distance of the small Bijilo reserve.

Almost anywhere in The Gambia is good for birds, especially if you have never been before. Don't dismiss your hotel grounds as being too peopled either, you will often get good views of birds such as the Barbary Shrike (sorry Gonelek, showing my age) in the grounds whereas outside they are very timid and often hard to see well. The Senegambia in particular is renowned for its bird-garden; however, in Feb 2000 they were feeding the vultures and Black Kites on the lawn, which seemed to have driven some of the smaller birds away. The Atlantic Hotel too has a small but effective bird garden and I have some lovely video of a Blue Breasted Kingfisher that took up residence there for a while. The Kairaba has large grounds that attract many species including Wattled Plover, Wood Hoopoe, fine spotted woodpecker and a very tame Whimbrel. In truth, most of the hotels have some grounds around them and you will undoubtedly find birds to enjoy whichever hotel you are staying in. (I stayed at the Senegambia and saw 70 species in the grounds! - Fatbirder)

Every little patch of rough ground seems to have its own specialities like the black-shouldered kite in the rough ground between the main road to the Senegambia Hotel and the sea. A damp patch on this same piece of ground produced one morning practically every Gambian heron and egret plus spoonbills.

A good guide can be a great help, especially if you are looking for a particular bird. The problem in The Gambia is that the local enterprise culture has found that a lot of tourists come to The Gambia to watch birds and that there is money to be made as a guide. If you appear outside your hotel with binoculars around your neck, potential guides will soon surround you. Some are good and really know their stuff, but many know little about bird recognition or where best to find birds. The very best ones, do not hang about outside hotels, you will need to contact them. All the hotels run special birdwatching excursions, and if you are on your first visit to The Gambia, then for your first couple of outings you won't regret using these as a springboard to your own travels. However, for trips up-country and away from the coastal regions until you have a little experience of the country I would always recommend a guided tour. Not for safety reasons, but because it would be just too easy to spend your valuable time searching for the best sites instead of birdwatching, which is after all, what you are thinking of visiting The Gambia for, isn't it?

There are plenty of good sites within easy reach of the hotels. You could walk to many of them from the hotel but, apart from those that are right next to the hotel, it would mean a hot and dusty walk along busy roads. However, with taxis relatively cheap it`s not worth the hassle. Remember to bargain with your taxi driver, you will usually be able to negotiate a reasonable rate for there and back with a couple of hours waiting. But do agree the price before you start. If you are a really hard nut you can probably get your ride very cheap. I personally like to settle on a price that I think is reasonable for the journey, I get no pleasure in squeezing the last ounce out of someone who is already making do on a minimal income. (Often the driver is in a vehicle owned by someone else and has to queue - up to a week - for a fare! He may be supporting a very extended family. I hired a taxi for a week at a rate less than half the cost of a self-drive car in Europe and then gave a large, much appreciated, tip at the end of the week. It was a real bargain for me and like a lottery win for the driver - Fatbirder).

While the list of coastal sites will be enough to keep many birdwatchers happy for a fortnight's holiday, to see the bigger raptors it is best to travel inland. Whilst the distances are not great, the poor state of the roads means that what would be a short 2-3 hour journey within Europe, will take all day in the Gambia and the follow-on from this is that you will need overnight accommodation. Therefore, I repeat my earlier statement; if you are new to The Gambia then you are better taking an organised tour to the inland sites and let someone else look after the admin.

Finally, here are a few words of advice.

Remember The Gambia is a Moslem country. Ladies, when away from the beaches, keep your thighs covered. Save the skimpy shorts for the holiday environs. There are some beggars and scroungers who hang around outside the hotels. They can be a nuisance but be firm and tell them to go away and walk away from them. They will tell you they are only trying to be friendly and why can't you be friendly too. Don't be fooled they will soon be asking you to donate to their school or some other project with the money undoubtedly destined for their own pocket. Having said that, the Gambians in general are really friendly people, you will undoubtedly meet many whose friendship you can savour for the rest of your life, but you probably won't meet them just outside the hotel or on the beach and they certainly won't thrust themselves upon you.

There is no social security in The Gambia and one cannot help but feel sorry for those with grave disabilities. However, once you begin giving you will be treated as the pot that never empties both by the needy and everyone else around. The best way to make a contribution to the local economy is to buy your souvenirs or a service from the Gambians and take with you articles that are useful for education. Hotel staff will be delighted to pass these on. (I took a large English dictionary, some pens and paper and an old pair of binoculars with me as well as some children`s T-shirts left over from an advertising promotion - the gratitude was overwhelming. Fatbirder)

Away from tourist hotels there isn't a problem you may be asked by the children for any pen or any sweet. Once you give a child one pen or sweet you will immediately be surrounded by masses more. If you carry an inexhaustible supply of goodies, fine, otherwise…

A final finally. Caucasian tourists will be addressed as Toubab apparently a local corruption of two bob. Two bob (two shillings in old British money) was the going rate for running an errand in the days when The Gambia was a colony. If you think how inflation has changed values, you will realise that it was in fact quite a generous rate. Happy birding.

Top Sites

Abuko Nature Reserve

Satellite View

Abuko Nature Reserve is a managed reserve of remnant rain forest around a small pond that has good water levels all year. There are a number of public hides and for the more serious; a small hide overlooking its own small waterhole near the animal sanctuary in the centre of the reserve can be rented by the day for a small fee. (Book in advance at the main entrance. It will take two persons comfortably and three at a pinch.) The bird list of about 200 includes Eagle Owl, Night Heron, Giant Kingfisher and most of the other kingfishers, Violet and Green Turaco and Paradise Flycatcher. A delightful spot very rewarding first thing in the morning when the gates first open (8 am) and again in the late morning after the groups have departed.

Bijilo

Satellite View

Bijilo Forest Park is a small Managed reserve just by the Kololi/Kairaba/Senegambia complex. Has good varied selection of birds including Stone Partridge and is the only place where I have managed to get good close views of white-cheeked bee-eaters.

Bird Safari Camp

Further inland one can stay at the Bird Safari Camp at Georgetown. This is a lovely spot with its own speciality of the delightful little Swamp Flycatcher and Hippos in the river there. I have seen Western Banded Snake Eagle and Red-Shouldered Cuckoo-Shrike in the woods surrounding the camp. Travelling further inland towards Basse takes one into Carmine and Red-Throated Bee-eater country. October to December sees the magnificent Crocodile Bird, the Egyptian Plover in residence at Basse. For me the sight of this bird makes the long journey to Basse worth every bruise on my rear end from the bumpy ride. New accommodation was being built on the opposite side of the river from Basse town when I was last there in October 1999. Perhaps, if someone has been up there since its completion, they could let me know what it is like. Also, the Kairaba hotel was starting to build an upcountry site. That too should have benefits for birdwatchers.

Bund Road

Satellite View

Bund Road is a brackish wet area on one side of the road, sea mudflats on the other side, just outside Banjul. Shags, Pelicans, Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers, Waders, Terns, Gulls, occasional stork and ibis and doves on the roadside wires. Crested Lark, Marsh Harrier… etc.
(I was told that the Bund road should not be birded alone as it is close to an undesirable area of Banjul - Fatbirder)

Kotu

Satellite View

Kotu Bridge, Kotu Ponds and the Golf Course are all situated in the area around Kombo Beach/Badala Beach Hotels. Kotu Bridge and Ponds good for thick-knees, hammerkop, waders, herons, egrets pied kingfisher. Kotu Ponds (Honey Farm) additionally often has ducks and little grebe. Golf course often has Black Headed Plover, Wood Hoopoe, small raptors, scops owl… etc.

Lamin Lodge

Satellite View

From Lamin Lodge you can take a boat trip to see many of the heron species. You will be unlucky not to see Goliath Heron, and with luck, should see Osprey, White and Pink-Backed Pelican, Yellow Billed Stork and Sacred Ibis.

Tanji Bird Reserve

Satellite View

Tanji Bird Reserve is a remarkable narrow strip of land between the sea and the main southbound coastal road. Despite its small size around 300 species of birds have been recorded here including a number of raptors. Seagulls and waders can be seen on the sandbanks just offshore. Not very far out of Banjul, but you will need transport to get there. There is a small entrance fee to help to pay for the wardens that look after the area. Unfortunately, the road bounding the eastern edge of the reserve is in the process of being upgraded from dirt to tarmac. During my last visit in February 2000 it appeared that work on the road had not significantly affected the number or variety of birds to be seen here. However, the road had not been completed at that time and was not open for general use. It remains to be seen how much the noise from the increase in traffic will effect the bird population once the road is fully operational and whether there will be increased human disturbance from the improved accessibility that the new road affords.

Tendaba Camp

Satellite View

Tendaba Camp and Kemoto are situated at either end of the Kiang West National Park. Accommodation is a little more Spartan than at a normal hotel, but, never-the-less, very adequate and the staff as always are very helpful and friendly. Here you could see Ground Hornbill, Gabar and Chanting Goshawk, Brown Snake Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle and the magnificent Bateleur or a Marital Eagle.

Waste Ground between Kairaba Avenue and the sea (towards Senegambia Hotel)

Satellite View

The waste Ground between Kairaba Avenue and the sea (towards Senegambia Hotel) has Black shouldered kite, warblers, Prinia, Tchagra, Oriole Warbler… etc A small water-hole at the Palma Rima end of this patch often has a good selection of herons from the end of the wet season to about mid February after which it dries out. An area behind the Palma Rima hotel is good for nightjars, but we have been advised by Gambian Guides that this is not a recommended area to visit without local assistance. I have never heard them say that of anywhere else in The Gambia, so I would heed the warning.

Yundum Airport

Satellite View

Near Yundum Airport there is a patch of open countryside on the right hand side of the main road between Serrekunde and Brikama just past the runway and on the opposite side of the road from the runway at Yundum. It is a good spot to see Buffalo weaver, Pin-Tailed Whydah, Yellow-Shouldered Widowbird, Black-Crowned Tchagra, Red Bishop and sometimes Chestnut-Bellied Starling.

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 590

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

A Birdwatchers Guide to The Gambia

Ron Ward Prion (1994)

ISBN: 1871104041

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Bird Song of The Gambia and Senegal

An Aid to Identification Clive Barlow, John Hammick and Pat Sellar 3-CD set. Mandarin Productions

ISBN: 143076

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Senegal and The Gambia

Ron Demey & Nik Borrow (Illustrator) | Christopher Helm | 2012 | Paperback | 352 pages, 143 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps, colour maps

ISBN: 9781408134696

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Gambia

An Annotated Checklist MEJ Gore Series: BOU CHECKLISTS 3 148 pages, 31 col & 25 b/w plates, 2 tabs, 3 maps. British Ornithologists' Union

ISBN: 0907446027

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Gambia and Senegal

Paul van Hoek and Chris Groenendijk - running time: approx 90 mins. GreenCorner Birding

ISBN: 170877

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Western Africa: An Identification Guide

Nik Borrow and Ron Demey Series: CHRISTOPHER HELM IDENTIFICATION GUIDE SERIES 832 pages, 147 col plates, 1100 dist maps. Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713639598

Buy this book from NHBS.com

DVD - Birding in the Gambia

Sorties Around the Smiling Coast by Malcolm Rymer Buy direct from the filmmaker:
Birding in the Gambia 1 - Sorties around the smiling coast http://www.wildlifevideos.net/gambia1_new.html
Birding in the Gambia 2 - Forays Further Afield http://www.wildlifevideos.net/gambia2_new.html
Birding in the Gambia 3 - Upriver Odyssey http://www.wildlifevideos.net/gambia3_new.html

Field Guide to the Birds of Western Africa

Nik Borrow and Ron Demey Series: HELM FIELD GUIDES 496 pages, 150 col plates, 1300 maps. Christopher Helm See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713666927

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in The Gambia

by Dave Gosney ⎥ DVD ⎥ Easybirder ⎥ 2012 ⎥ Running time: 92 minutes See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316371

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in The Gambia

by Dave Gosney ⎥ Book ⎥ Easybirder ⎥ 2012 ⎥ 40 Pages & Many Maps See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316364

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Gambia The Bradt Travel Guide

by Craig Emms & Linda Barnett Published by Brandt Travel Guides
See Fatbirder Review ISBN: 1841620408 Out of Print

Organisations

African Bird Club

Website

A combination of a good tourist infrastructure, travel connections and knowledgeable people makes The Gambia one of the primary birdwatching destinations in Africa. With a checklist of over 500 species and readily accessible sites, this small country offers a great introduction to African birding as well as retaining its appeal for those who have visited the country on previous occasions…

Lamin Jobarteh - Director - West African Bird Study Association

Website

Can be contacted for guiding…

West African Ornithological Society

Website

The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society, which was founded in February 1964. Its object is to promote scientific interest in the birds of West Africa and to further the region’s ornithology, mainly by means of its journal Malimbus (formerly the Bulletin of the Nigerian Ornithologists’ Society). This journal is biannual and bilingual, a unique feature in Africa.

Observatories

Kartong Bird Observatory

Website

Satellite View

K.B.O. is located overlooking a former sand mine. Since mining stopped these areas have filled with water during each rainy season and created one of the best birding sites along the coast of The Gambia. Bird ringing began at Kartong in 1996 with the pioneering work of Mike King and John High. To carry this work forward a team of ringers from the U.K. has now established a permanent ringing station at Kartong…

Reserves

Abuko Nature Reserve

Website

Satellite View

In 1967 a local man called Kalilu requested the then acting Wildlife Officer, Eddie Brewer, to shoot a leopard that had been killing their pigs which had been feeding there illegally. When he visited the spot with his daughter, Stella, they saw an amazing richness of Gambian wildlife and flora and realised the conservation importance of the stream running through Abuko…

Bao Bolon Wetland Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Bao Bolon is located on the North Bank of The Gambia River opposite the Kiang West National Park. It consists of six major bolons between Salikeni and Katchang. Together these bolons form a vast wetland complex of international importance. Bao Bolon does not have the characteristics of a river any more…

Kiang West National Park

Website

Satellite View

The Kiang West National Park wasestablished in 1987 and is located in southern Gambia, adjacent to the river bank and is 145 kilometres from the capital of Banjul…

Nature Reserves

Website

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 Touraco, little Greenbul and the Yellow Breasted 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 Flufftail to the African Fish Eagles. An afternoon spent at the Education Centre or one of the photo hides will yield many good sightings. At the south-western end of the reserve an extension of 29ha added in 1978 has been appropriately labelled the extension bird walk. The area is composed of Guinea Savannah with open glades of grassland.

Niumi National Park

Website

Satellite View

The Niumi National Park occupies the coastal strip of The Gambia north of the river. The park is approximately 4,940 ha (49.4 km2) in extent. Apart from being an important fish breeding ground, it constitutes one of the last untouched mangrove stands on the West African Coast north of the equator. The more terrestrial parts of the park contain an interesting cross section of threatened regional fauna and a wide diversity of habitat types…

Protected Areas in The Gambia

Website

The area of Kiang West National Park (KWNP) is approximately 11,000 ha. (110 km2 ) and one of the most important reservoirs of wildlife in The Gambia. KWNP is situated in Lower River Division in the Kiang West District, 145 kms drive from Banjul…

River Gambia National Park

Website

Satellite View

The national park was established in 1978 and ismade up of a complex of 5 islands that lie on the river in the Central River Division (Region) about 300 kilometres upstream to the south west of Kuntaur (see map) and downstream of Janjangbureh, Georgetown…

Tanji Bird Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Bald Cape is formed from a shallow reef of laterite rock which extends to the north-west reappearing at the Bijol Islands 1.5 km offshore. The Cape is backed by a lagoon which runs south in a broken chain as far as the village of Tanji. The lagoon system has developed from a combination of the outflow of the Tanji River and longshore drift accumulating sand deposits. It is a dynamic system and significant changes can result from a single flood or storm. The Cape and lagoons serve as feeding and roosting grounds for a large diversity of gulls, terns and waders…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2004 [December] - Marcus & Zoe Ward

Report

…We chose Gambia as our first birding destination to Africa, based mainly on great reports given by others who had visited the area. It was a difficult choice given the range of fantastic birding destinations in Africa from South Africa to Morocco. However we thought that The Gambia offered such a diverse range of species that it would be the ideal place to start…

2004 [January] - Robin Hadley

Report

My wife Maryan and I spent one week in The Gambia in early 2004 for some winter sun and a little bird watching. We were very impressed by the country, its people and the wonderful array of birdlife. We definitely will return…

2005 [December] - Derek & Lynne Lister

Report

On Thursday 1st December Lynne (my wife) and me departed Gatwick at 10-30 am for Banjul airport in Gambia Africa. We were travelling with First Choice. With a pitch of 29 inches the seats were a little cramped!. We chose Gambia for its sunshine, cultural and wildlife wealths. The dry season in The Gambia runs from November to May approximately, and as such gives about 12 hours of sunshine with temperatures around 34c every day…

2005 [January] - Pat & Judy Hayes

Report

As this was our first trip to the Gambia we decided to do it in style. We booked the holiday through the Gambia Experience who are the market leaders in Gambian holidays. We have long been of the impression that you don't have to suffer for your art…

2006 [January] - Mark Easterbrook

Report

This was my second visit to the Gambia following an “up-river” trip on a boat in March 2003 with the Army Ornithological Society (AOS). This had proved to be an excellent trip and introduction to African birding although due to the survey work that the AOS was mandated to carry out, it was impossible to carry out very much birding at the coast. My aspiration during this visit was to target the birds that I had missed last time and visit sites that I had not visited – to a large extent I achieved this…

2006 [March] - Graham Masters

Report

It was my intention to go on birding trips most days between dawn and lunchtime with maybe 1 or 2 full day trips included. With a guide I found that half day trips were sufficient to see most of my target species. I also think that in soaring temperatures all day birding would have been very hard. With this in mind I set myself a target of 160 species over 2 weeks birding in the coastal region and as you will discover this was easily surpassed…

2006 [September] - Sander Bot

Report

Birding the hard way: rainy season, public transport, no bird guides…

2007 [February] - Sue Robinson

Report

January in England was cold and bleak, so it was with great anticipation we set off for Gatwick and our flight to The Gambia for a week's birding. Checking in was smooth though we had been advised to arrive three hours before flight time, which gave us plenty of time to browse through the airside shops and have a leisurely breakfast. The flight left on time and was comfortable and uneventful…

2007 [January] - Nik Borrow

Report

We returned to The Gambia and Senegal this year once again under the guise of ‘Easybird’ in what turned out to be a phenomenally successful tour! An impressive, record-breaking total of 383 species were recorded of which all but three were seen…

2007 [November] - John Armstrong

Report

At the end of an enjoyable and successful week’s birding holiday in the Gambia, West Africa in October 2004 with my father Michael, I was determined to return again as soon as possible. I thought I’d give 2005 a miss at risk of upsetting my wife, but a 2 year gap seemed reasonable enough. My father was also keen to return, and now as he’d passed the 80 mark, there may not be too many years left when he’d be fit enough to travel there…

2007 [September] - Simon Woolley

Report

Simon only (sniff) on a week's return trip to West Africa - lots of colourful, eas African birds, including two Turacos, six Kingfishers, White-shouldered Black Tit, Northern Crombec, Senegal Batis, and best of all a Hudsonian Whimbrel!

2008 [December] - Pat & Judy Hayes

Report

…Our first day birding saw us out by 7.30am when our initial stop was Kotu Creek & rice fields. Here we spent some time on the bridge checking out what was about. It also gave us the opportunity to meet up with Malick Suso, our guide during our previous visit. We also visited the Casino Cycle track and sewage works…

2008 [January] - Nik Borrow

Report

We returned to The Gambia and Senegal this year once again in what turned out to be a highly successful tour! An impressive, total of 360 species were recorded of which all but six were seen. Notable highlights included dainty Swallow-tailed Kites, hundreds of Lesser Kestrels, several Beaudouin’s Snake Eagles, the shy Ahanta Francolin, the elusive Arabian Bustard, five Savile’s Bustards…

2008 [November] - Ray Thorneycroft

Report

The trip was made by Chris Johnson, Mick Bellas, and Ray Thorneycroft. Planning started some six months beforehand with the booking of a package holiday deal with Thomas Cook, for seven days, flying from East Midlands Airport, and staying at the Badala Park Hotel, at a cost of £289.00 each. This was situated near Kotu Beach….

2008 [November] - Terry Bentley

Report

A recent trip to the Gambia with my wife Jill, was to be a holiday taking in the sun and adding a little birding along the way. We made contact with guides from the Bird Guides Association in their hut at Kotu Bridge and as we were staying at the Sunset Beach Hotel…

2010 [January] - Nik Borrow - Gambia & Senegal

PDF Report

We once again returned to The Gambia and Senegal in what turned out to be a highly successful tour. An impressive, total of 359 species were recorded of which all but two were seen…

2010 [November] - Mike & Olly Fox

Report

We made contact with the bird guide Modou Colley who was to organize the four night/five day trip to both Tendaba and Baobolong Camps. Modou was also our guide for the two half day trips to Pirang/Faraba Banta and Brufut Woods. Modou proved to be a most knowledgeable and patient guide and cannot be recommended highly enough…

2011 [February] - Guy Kilgallen

Report

Annotated list…

2012 [April] - Mark Graham

Report

…I was pleasantly surprised by how close Tanji and Brufut Forest were from the hotel.Both within walking distance and hassle free.To get to the Tanji reserve wooded area to the east of the main road you have to go past Ghana Town a settlement of Ghanaians.I read in a report that I would get the life pestered out of me there.Not so!Not one person stopped me or even acknowledged me….

2012 [December] - Ben Turner

Report

…As we approached the tree a huge bird with black and white wings flew a short distance away from us! More scrambling over fences and through wild mint brought us closer to the bird again and we were treated to a spectacular flypast. Additional searching led us to a more open area where a female Abyssinian Ground Hornbill was feeding quietly some distance away….

2012 [November] - Simon Boyes

Report PDF

…Near the famous Kotu Bridge we start finding several of the heron family, including Western Reef and Great Egrets, Squacco and Striated Herons. Kotu Bridge, over the mangroves and muddy banks of the creek, is where generations of Gambian boys have offered their services as bird-guides to visiting Europeans. Many have gone on to become professional guides….

2013 [December] - Chris Kehoe - Gambia & Senegal

PDF Report

Our 2013 Birdquest tour to Gambia and Senegal served up a splendid selection of regional specialities plus a wealth of more widespread Afrotropical species and Palearctic winter visitors. Particular highlights amongst the more localised or tricky species included delightful Cricket Warblers, exquisite Scissor-tailed Kites, showy Quail-plovers, Arabian and Saville's Bustards, localised River Prinias, confiding Ahanta Francolins, Western Bluebills, Grey-headed Bristlebill

2014 [January] - Christoph Moning & Gerlinde Taurer

PDF Report

This year we decided to escape the drab European winter by exploring the region of Senegambia. We took this as an introduction to the West-African avifauna, while enjoying the huge diversity and quantity of European migrants….

Guides & Tour Operators

Abdoulie Ndure

Guide

Gambia is a country of nature with more than 500 different bird species recorded. Even if you are just beginning or an expert in birding, you have got the right destination. Make sure you will have a unique experience and increase your chances of birding with a local and professional bird guide…

Bax Birding Tours - Bakary Manneh

Tour Operator

Bax Birding Tours can provide you with escorted bird watching and natural history tours of The Gambia. Under the expert guidance of Bakary Manneh (Bax) we will arrange to take you to the best locations in The Gambia for birds and other wildlife. We can also build itineraries for those with an interest in photography, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, plants, flowers, local culture and history…

Bird Finders

Tour Operator

The Gambia is one of the easiest introductions to both tropical birdwatching and Africa. A former British colony, it is one of the smallest countries in Africa, surrounded by Senegal and straddling the Gambia River for some 200 miles. We will be visiting after the end of the wet season when the vegetation is still green and some of the weavers and bishops are still in summer plumage…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Ebrima N. J. Njie

Guide

…is a bird guide recommended by David Callahan who recently [2004] visited the Gambia and used his services. He says: though fairly young (c.21), he certainly knows his stuff. Bird songs heard distantly were nearly always identified, and if their owners were tracked down, the ID was invariably accurate. Though we largely only visited the more well-known sites due to the constraints of time, Ebrima had his own particular locations for target species which other guides did not seem to be aware of. This was noticeably true around the Bush Track, Pirang and Brufut. He is priced reasonably, and can be relied upon to provide a driver and vehicle with inclusive rates. I didn`t get the chance to go, but he is a native of Tendaba and I`m sure he could do a good tour there as well. The things that really stood out about Ebrima were his tenacity and honesty. If we were unable to put a name to a briefly heard or glimpsed bird, he was very willing to crawl around in the undergrowth with me until we`d got to grips with it, and this was done without flushing or frightening the bird. Ebrima is also good company, having a fine, self-effacing sense of humour, and while much of the above is true of several of the guides around the coast; he was quite prepared to go that extra mile for you both time-wise and effort-wise. He is contactable at Kotu Bridge, being one of the WABSA guides, or as follows: Ebrima N.J. Njie, c/o Bakary Jammeh, P.O. Box 2313, Serekunda, The Gambia 00220 461 704 or 9988674

Ebrima W Barry

Tour Operator

The bird life of the Gambia is both attractive and varied. Some 540 species have been recorded, which is remarkable for such a small country. Habitats include the Atlantic shoreline, the huge Gambia River, mangroves, wetlands, villages with farm and fallow land and the African bush. The Helm Field Guide “Birds of The Gambia and Senegal” is recommended and should be inspiring…

Farakunku Lodges

Tour Operator

This package is designed for guests who want a pre-booked week of birding with a registered Guide, visiting all the best sites within easy driving distance for 6 full day’s bird watching. It includes half board accommodation, airport transfers, all transport and the guide’s fees. You only need to arrange and pay for your own flights and any lunches and drinks. Additional days of bird watching at different sites can be arranged for longer stay guests who may also prefer to spread the days out across their stay…

Gambia Experience

Tour Operator

We offer the chance to experience the flavour of West Africa, un-crowded beaches, sunshine, fishing, birdwatching as well as meeting some of the friendliest people on earth. The simplicity and charm is different to anywhere in Europe. But why take our word for that? Experience it for yourself. The Gambia is a small country and one can cover the many habitats in a short space of time, from canopied forest islands on the coast, through reed beds and marshlands to a diversity of mangrove.

Hidden Gambia

Tour Operator

Adventure holidays off the beaten track to explore up-river Gambia by boat and road. Discover the rich variety of birds, wildlife and people that live along the river banks of this peaceful West African country… In 2010 Hidden Gambia converted the camp to solar power and have a solar powered boat too!

Junkung Jadama (JJ)

Guide

Many of the national parks and nature reserves are within easy reach of Gambia's coastal resorts. In order to enjoy the natural wonders of the Gambia to the full, it is wise to employ the services of an experienced guide who will look after you and help you make the best use of your time…

Malick Suso

Tour Guide

Malick Suso is a top Gambian bird guide and birdwatching is his lifelong passion. Located on the coast at Kotu, Gambia, near the Bakotu and Kombo Beach Hotels, Malick travels all over the Gambia - his knowledge of the whole country is profound. In his local area he also oversees other official guides based here…

Modou Barry

Guide

I am a well known Gambian Ornithologist, with over 10 years' experience. I can arrange bird watching trips during your holiday, throughout the length and breadth of The Gambia, at very reasonable cost…

Modou Saidy

Guide

He is contactable at Kotu Bridge, the meeting place of the WABSA guides, or as follows: Mobile phone - 220 797 1545 - I am a professional bird guide, a member of The Gambia's National Bird Watcher Association. My professional name is Modou Saidy. I am 29 years of age…

Musa Jatta

Guide

Turaco Birding Expeditions are headed by the professional bird guide Musa Jatta. With more than 12 years of field experience, his knowledge of the country birding areas and all the Gambian species is absolute. We design specific itineraries according to your needs and length of the expedition, to watch as many species as possible and search for the most elusive ones…

Ousman Joku

Tour Guide

Ousman Joku has been birdwatching in Gambia since he was a young boy and is now among the most professional and experienced bird guides in Gambia. If you are simply looking for an introduction to bird watching in Gambia with day trips from the coast or a fully inclusive longer tour of Gambia and Senegal then Ousman is your man…

Phoenix Lodge

Website

Phoenix, an impressive safari Lodge in The Gambia, Africa. Not far from the beaches and tourist areas offering specialist Birding or just restful holidays for non-birders. A real Gambia experience…

Turaco Birding Expeditions

Tour Operator

Turaco Birding Expeditions are headed by the professional bird guide Musa Jatta. With more than 12 years of field experience, his knowledge of the country birding areas and all the Gambian species is absolute. We design specific itineraries according to your needs and length of the expedition, to watch as many species as possible and search for the most elusive ones…

Wild Gambia

Tour Operator

Birdwatching, Safaris, Fishing, Car rental in The Gambia…

YaYa Barry

Guide

My name is YaYa Barry 30 years of age based at the popular Kombo Beach Hotel, i have been guiding for the past 12 years leadinding tours throughout The Gambia & Senegal, tours from half days, full days, 3 to 5 days 7 to 14 days for both beginers & experts, i can also offer tours with accommodations in traditional thatch house which can sleep in 7 people, swiming pool, eletricity 24 hours and the gardens is fantastic you can tick nearly 30 species birds & is a stone throw to Tanji bird reserve & Brufut Woods. have guided Nigel Blake wildlife photographer, Malcolm Rymer wildlife filmer, Crist Packham BBC wildlife, Dick Fosman Master of raptors, Steve Cale wildlife Artist.

Places to Stay

Africa Camp

Accommodation

Bird Safari Camp is a tropical paradise resort set on the meandering river banks of MacCarthy Island in the Gambia. Deep in the African bush, this idyllic location provides a perfect base for both the keenest birdwatcher or the more carefree individual coming to discover the country`s historical roots…

Bijilo Beach Hotel

Accommodation

Bijilo Beach Hotel is Ideal for families, business and Leisure travellers. Located just 12 km from the Airport and less than 5 mins walk from the famous Bijilo Forest Park. Bijilo Beach Hotel offers seclusion and breathtaking views. Bijilo Beach Hotel is a great place to relax and unwind…

Dalaba Lodge

Accommodation

Traditional african accomodation with modern conveniences, in the middle of the Gambian Bush. Perfect for bird watchers and those after some R&R…

Farakunku Lodges

Accommodation

Your Anglo/Gambian hosts ( Heather and Moses) offer you deluxe, secluded, country holiday accommodation for couples and single travellers, all set in a natural rural area only 2kms from the sea on the edge of Tujereng village on Gambia’s unspoilt south coast…

Footsteps Eco-Lodge

Accommodation

Footsteps is a traditional African Village compound, with 9 large huts and 2 cabins all with en-suite facilities and a veranda, ideal to sit and enjoy the balmy evenings…

Kairaba Beach Hotel

Accommodation

Breakfast is served at the Kingfisher`s Terrace Restaurant, which enjoys a magnificent outlook over the bountiful lawns with its many birds, flowers and plants. Clients have the choice of sitting in the air-conditioned restaurant or outside on the terrace breathing the flowery scented air.

Kayira Beach Resort

Accommodation

Jinack Island,The Gambia

Laico Atlantic Hotel

Accommodation

The Atlantic Bird Garden offers the chance to relax and enjoy some colourful African plants and birds.

Madiyana Safari Lodge

Accommodation

Welcome to Madiyana Safari Lodge. We are located on Jinack Island (also known as Paradise Island). Birdwatching treks through the bush to see which of the hundreds of Gambian bird species you can identify…

Paradise Inn Tanji village

Accommodation

…beautyfully located lodge containing twenty huts in typical African style with bar-restaurant(Belgian management)

Senegambia Beach Hotel

Accommodation

The hotel garden is a paradise of palm trees, beautiful flowers and exotic plants. It features not only exotic flora but fauna too. During your daily stroll through the gardens you are likely to see monitor lizards of all sizes, an array of monkeys, butterflies and the main attraction of course are the vultures which are fed by the hotel staff each morning. The hotel is a Mecca for bird-watchers and nature lovers who travel year after year to observe more 100 species of birds on the grounds of the hotel with the help of our resident bird-watcher. - The garden is excellent for birds - I saw over 70 species there Fatbirder

Other Links

Birds of The Gambia and Senegal

Website

…this photo group started with the intent of promoting responsible birding in The Gambia and Senegal, and sharing information for birders visiting The Gambia, Senegal, or West Africa. Of the 660+ species listed (Clements) for Senegambia, we have pictures of over 495 now: 73%. Also, discussion of trip reports, subspecies, and more. Non-profit, volunteer - with contributors from all over the world…

Birdwatching in the Gambia

Website

The Gambia truly deserves its reputation as the birdwatcher`s paradise. The country`s outstanding variety of avifauna offers an exciting introduction to African Birdwatching and is also an ever popular destination for more experienced Birders, many of whom flock back year after year…

Green Corner Birding

Website

Green Corner Birding is founded by: Chris Groenendijk and Paul van Hoek. If you are planning a birdingtrip to Gambia this DVD is really worth looking at, so you can see what to expect en where to find this birds. You might also want to take a look at the international links page. There you can find some usefull information about local Gambian birdingguides…

Photographers & Artists

Kit Day Bird Photography

Gallery

Images of birds taken in Gambia…

Photographer - Chris Bowman

Gallery

Birds and other wildlife of Gambia…

Photographer - Cliff Buckton

Gallery

All the photographs below were taken by me during our November 1996 or January 1998 holidays in Gambia…

Photographer - Hans Martin

Gallery

Galleries show some of my work of the past ten years, though most of it was made during the last three years…

Photographer - Mic Clark

Gallery

Birds of Gambia…

Photographer - Nigel Blake

Gallery

For many birders a trip to the Gambia is a first introduction to Africa`s spectacular array of birds, many tour companies offer trips, and most are as cheap as holidays to the Mediterranean areas. Gambia however is very different culturally as it is a poor country by comparison, but the people there are generally very friendly and helpful, in fact some have taken the initiative as a result of the influx of birders and learned about their bird-life and are very good bird-guides…