The Gambia

Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maxima Website
Birding the Gambia

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.

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 just 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.

Dress Remember The Gambia is a mainly Moslem country. Ladies, when away from the beaches, keep your thighs covered. Save the skimpy shorts for the holiday environs. Begging 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. General Safety 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 are times when the country is troubled and at any time walking about by yourself away from tourist areas and especially in the city is not a good idea. Ask your hotel for advice and follow it.

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.

This page is sponsored by Morgan Kunda Lodge

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.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 613

    (As at April 2020)

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Senegal and The Gambia

    | By Ron Demey & Nik Borrow | Christopher Helm | 2012 | Paperback | 352 pages, 143 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps, colour maps | ISBN: 9781399402200 Buy this book from
  • Field Guide to Butterflies of the Gambia, West Africa

    | By David Penney | Siri Scientific Press | 2009 | Paperback | 80 pages, 235 colour photos | ISBN: 9780955863622 Buy this book from
  • Field Guide to Wildlife of The Gambia

    | (An Introduction to Common Flowers & Animals) | David Penney | Siri Scientific Press | 2012 | Paperback | 160 pages, 786 colour photos | ISBN: 9780956779526 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in The Gambia

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2012 | Paperback | 40 Pages & Many Maps | ISBN: 9781907316364 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in The Gambia

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2012| DVD | Running time: 92 minutes | ISBN: 9781907316371 Buy this book from
  • Kartong Bird Observatory

    Facebook PageSatellite 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
  • African Bird Club

    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
  • Gambia Birdwatchers' Association

    Facebook Page
    Gambia Bird Watchers Association was founded 2007 by group of professional Bird watching guide. We offer birding excursions throughout the Gambia.
  • West African Bird Study Association

    West African Bird Study Association (WABSA) was formed in April 1994, by indigenous Gambian youths, who are concerned citizens to preserve the country's flora and fauna.
  • West African Ornithological Society

    The West African Ornithological Society grew out of the Nigerian Ornithologists

Abbreviations Key

  • BiR Tanji

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NP Kiang West

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NP Niumi

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NP River Gambia

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NR Abuko

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • Nature Reserves

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
  • WeRv Bao Bolon

    InformationSatellite 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…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Abdoulie Ndure

    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
  • 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
  • Ebrima Njie - Birdlife Africa

    Tour Operator & Guiding
    If you are a birder or wildlife lover wanting to explore The Gambia and Senegal, Birdlife Africa can provide a friendly, personal experience. We offer everything from individual day trips to organised group itineraries.
  • Fatou Tours

    Tour Guide
    Experience The Gambia & Senegal as never before for all your birding and nature trips. Fatou is a member of The Bird Watcher Association The Gambia,an officially licensed tour guide of the Gambia Tourism Board and owner/ceo of Fatour Tours Gambia that she founded together with the other welknown gambian guide foday bojang, one of the most experienced guides of the country. She is known as a very good ( the best?) female birding guide of The Gambia.
  • Footsteps Eco-Lodge

    The Gambia is home to more than 550 species of birds and they are all around you, which means you don’t have to go far to see some beautiful, exotic birds. In fact, at Footsteps Eco-Lodge we have over 100 species of birds within our grounds and over 150 within walking distance, so whether you are an avid birder or casual birdwatcher, novice or professional, the birding is great!
  • Gambia Bird Tour

    Tour Guide
    Hello, my name is Ebrima Sidibeh. I am a Gambian bird guide based in Kotu and have been leading tours in The Gambia and Senegal for 29 years. I am passionate about birds and birding, and hold a leading position within the Gambia Birdwatchers Association, giving me great links to the birding community.
  • Gambia Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    I have been conducting and organizing tours all over The Gambia and Senegal, with regard to our wide and vast experience with undisputated knowledge in tour guiding we can render very professional services to our customers with great sense of responsibility, entertaining and fair unbeatable prices. Whether visiting the local beauty spots of Abuko Nature Reserve, Tanji Bird Reserve or traveling further afield to Georgetown, Tendaba and Kiang West National Park as well as Fathala Nature Reserve in Senegal, you will be delighted with me as your guide.
  • Gambia Experience

    Tour Operator
    The Gambia provides some amazing opportunities for birdwatching. With 540+ species and everything in relatively close proximity, you don’t have to travel far to see some fascinating birdlife; you’ll even find a whole host of exotic species in your hotel gardens. So whether you’re a first timer, a keen amateur or an enthusiast looking for particular species we guarantee you’ll find something to inspire you...
  • 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

    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

    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
  • 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
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 2014 [01 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….
  • 2014 [11 November] - Richard Hanman

    The Gambia had been on my birding ‘wish list’ for as long as I can remember having a ‘wish list’. The thought of seeing colourful exotic birds such as Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Barbets and Firefinches always gave me a warm tingly feeling. Add to that the sound of African drums, a river trip in a canoe, and the reputation that Gambia has as ‘the smiling coast’ on behalf of the friendliness of its people, why wouldn’t any birder want to visit? Indeed many have! This visit was part personal pilgrimage to the birding equivalent of Mecca and part reconnaissance trip in the hope of running a ‘Bargain Birding Club’ here myself in the not too distant future...
  • 2015 [02 February] - Tony Benton

    The flight from London Gatwick to The Gambia was largely uneventful, except that we were delayed for 1.5 hours by a passenger becoming ill before the plane had left the stand. Once resolved, however, we made good progress, slightly under six hours, and arrived late afternoon to temperatures of about 34 c. Glorious was the first word that sprung to mind, it was so good to leave behind the dank, sometimes cold, British weather!
  • 2015 [03 March] - Kevin Bollington

    On 18 March 2015 I made a 10 night holiday with my wife at the Sheraton Hotel, Brufut Heights, in the Gambia. The hotel grounds proved very fruitful with Abyssinian and Blue-bellied Rollers, Yellow-billed Shrike, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Purple & Long-tailed Glossy Starlings, Bearded Barbet, Green Woodhoopoe, Senegal Parrot and Slender-billed Gull to name but a few.
  • 2015 [11 November] - Jan Sjostedt & Ingvar Jansson - Gambia & Senegal

    PDF Report
  • 2016 [01 January] - Claudi Racionero

    Just a fast trip to spend the end of the year out of home looking for some birds I have missed in some other trips in Africa.
  • 2016 [02 February] - Kit Britten

    PDF Report
  • 2016 [11 November] - Antony Skyrme

    ...From the hide we had Hamerkop, Black-headed-heron, Squacco heron, Rufous-crowned-roller, Fanti-Saw-Wing, Palm-Swift. The crocodile appeared well its eyes mainly. Red Colobus and Green Vervet Monkeys occur - you hear them crashing through the trees as you approach them...
  • 2016 [11 November] - David Flack

    PDF Report
    ...A word of warning to those going for the first time. There are many ‘chancers’ with a pair of binoculars and little knowledge who will offer to guide you, they hang around the birding hotspots touting for business. Stick to registered guides of the Gambian Birding Association who have the knowledge to make your trip memorable....
  • 2016 [11 November] - Pat & Judy Hayes

    We decided to return to the Gambia, using the same format as our previous visits. With a large list of birds, hot sunny weather, great accommodation and a bird guide second to none, it was a no brainer...
  • 2016 [11 November] - Solomon Jallow

    PDF Report
  • 2016 [12 December] - Bob Buckler

    ...From the airport apron we logged our first bird, Cattle Egret and from the car park we added Hooded Vulture, Yellow-billedKite, Spectacled Pigeon, Red-chested Swallow, House Sparrow and Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling...
  • 2016 [12 December] - Tony Moverley

    This report provides a flavour of what we saw and experienced on an eight day birding trip to The Gambia in late November and early December 2016. We recorded 224 species (of which 2 were heard only). In addition, 20 species of butterfly were tentatively identified, together with a small number of other insects, mammals and reptiles (see Species List at end of report)...
  • 2017 [03 March] - Helen & Michael Howard

    PDF Report
    ...We arrived mid-afternnon, so after settling in, to whet our appetite for the week ahead Mustapha took us for a strollup to Kotu bridge, a short walk from the hotel. It overlooks a tidal creek with mangroves complete with waders andkingfishers: Senegal Thick-knee, Spurred-winged Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, AfricanDarter, Western Reef Egret, Malachite Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher among others. Plus Yellow-crowned Gonolek,Red-billed Firefinch, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Bronze Mannikin, and Beautiful Sunbirds - in just an hour we’d seenover 30 species. Back at the hotel, at the wooden platform that overlooks the creek (Kotu bridge within view) wesaw our first Little Bee-eaters, busy catching insects...
  • 2018 [03 March] - David Karr

    PDF Report
    Armed with a target ‘wish list’ of 38 species, I spent a long weekend in The Gambia hoping to get a view of some of West Africa’s more localized and less common species (full list in annex). My companion for the trip by road from Bissau was Hamilton Monteiro, who had recently been appointed the first African Bird Club (ABC) Representative for Guinea-Bissau.
  • 2018 [08 August] - Ralf Jahraus

    PDF Report
    The following day we spent looking for birds by car. Idrissa showed us some Long-tailed Nightjars, Arabian Bustard, Black Crowned Cranes, Greater Painted Snipe and River Prinia etc. A truly beautiful wetland, situated in semi desert, with lots of special birds and thousands of Waders and Herons.
  • 2018 [11 November] - Jildert Hijlkema

    PDF Report
    VERY comprehensive report
  • 2018 [12 December] - Ralf Jahraus

    PDF Report
    This report is based on a 1 month trip to Senegal and Gambia on which I was joined by my friend Andreas Schoch in Senegal. Sites visited were Niokolo Koba, Wassadou and Djoudj in Senegal and Tendaba Camp, Sita Joyeh, Marakissa, Tanji, Tujering and Abuko in Gambia.
  • 2019 [02 February] - Tom Hibbert & Lauren Booth

    PDF Report
    We stayed at Footsteps in the Sand Ecolodge, on Gambia’s west coast. Booked as a package deal from Thomas Cook, with bed, breakfast, flights, transfers and insurance costing £1,255 for the two of us
  • 2022 [02 February] - Jaap Westra

    PDF Report
    This was a very special trip. The first trip outside Europe in two years because of COVID 19 restrictions and the first birding trip outside the WP with my eighteen year old son, who got more and more eager in joining my efforts to finding all the birds we set out for. His focus on butterflies also helped in working out a butterfly list of up to 36 specie
  • 2022 [12 December] - Dylan Vasapolli - Senegal & Gambia

    PDF Report
    More specifically, this tour was designed to give us the best possible chances for many of the iconic Sahelian specials, like Quail-plover, Golden Nightjar, Cricket Warbler and Egyptian Plover, amongst others, while also trying for some local regional specials like White-crested Tiger Heron and enjoying the massive Scissor-tailed Kite roost in southern Senegal.
  • 2023 [01 January] - Bent Otto Poulsen

    PDF Report
    Kotu Creek (coordinates 13.462418, -16.703683) is a small stream entering the Atlantic Ocean thus creating a brackish mangrove due to tidal movements. Surrounded by crops, bushland with larger trees, especially
  • 2023 [02 February] - Bob Swann

    PDF Report
    First birds I saw were African Palm Swifts flying low over the palms outside our block. Quickly came across Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Laughing Dove and a pair of Vinaceous Collared Dove. The trees and bushes held lots of Common Bulbul and Village Weaver, several pairs Western Red-billed Hornbill, a couple of pairs of stunning Blue-bellied Roller, a family of Green Wood Hoopoe, a small group of Long-tailed Glossy Starling, a few pairs of Beautiful Sunbird, the males in superb plumage, a pair of Northern Black Flycatcher and a lovely Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird...
  • 2023 [02 February] - Kath & Mick Claydon

    PDF Report
    We’ve been to The Gambia many times, usually based somewhere along the coast, making day trips and sometimes going upriver. This time was different. We wanted to stay in one quiet location away from the hustle and bustle of the coast and let the wildlife come to us rather than pursuing species.
  • 2023 [03 March] - Hans Matheve

    ...About the whole area was being transformed into an agricultural area with only a few narrow remnants of scrubby habitat. At dusk we were able to find several Long-tailed Nightjars and eventually a hawking Golden Nightjar, all in a somewhat intact habitat patch near the start of the track...
  • 2023 [03 March] - Hans Matheve

    This report covers a ‘classic’ itinerary of Senegal, with some extra birding in the Casamance and Gambia. While most birders visit Gambia in order to see West-African / Sahelian bird species, almost all of those are present in Senegal as well
Places to Stay

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • Dalaba Lodge

    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

    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
  • Footsteps Eco-Lodge

    The Gambia is home to more than 550 species of birds and they are all around you, which means you don’t have to go far to see some beautiful, exotic birds. In fact, at Footsteps Eco-Lodge we have over 100 species of birds within our grounds and over 150 within walking distance, so whether you are an avid birder or casual birdwatcher, novice or professional, the birding is great!
  • Kairaba Beach Hotel

    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.
  • Mandinari River Lodge

    You can stay at any one of our five custom built eco-lodges. They are constructed with comfort in mind but also to blend in with the natural surroundings of their beautiful backdrop, and to also give you a taste of what it is really like to live by the Riverside in western Africa.
  • Morgan Kunda Lodges

    The staff here at Morgan Kunda Lodges are proud welcome holiday makers to our exclusive accommodation set in Jarjari Village – deep in the heart of the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, North of the river. Our newly-built lodges are staffed by local people serving both Gambian and European cuisine. Until now it was not possible to spend long periods of time in this unique nature reserve as it was only accessible via long excursions from the South. From our exclusive accommodation, you will have unrivalled access to untapped areas along the Bao Bolong, and secret locations only our Guides know about.
  • Paradise Inn Tanji village

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  • Senegambia Beach Hotel

    Located in the bustling resort of Kololi, beside the sea, Senegambia is one of The Gambia’s best-known hotels and a great choice for many holidaymakers.
Other Links
  • Birds of The Gambia and Senegal

    …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…
  • Gambia Experience Birdwatching Blog

    Here we share some of our favourite photography of the birdlife in The Gambia. What will you get the opportunity to see when you visit?
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Hans Martin

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

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