Our 7 Day Gambia Birding Tour takes you to the Smiling Coast of Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country of mainland Africa and is surrounded by Senegal; except for the west coast which sits on the Atlantic Ocean.
The Gambia has an impressive bird list of 620 species including the 2 highly sought-after resident species, the Egyptian Plover and Hamerkop (both are monotypic families). The country is safe, and the people are very friendly. The huge range of birds makes it ideal as an introduction to the wonderful world of birding on the African continent. As the country is small, it can be covered well during a short period.
TOUR INFO: Tour starts and ends in Banjul
Tour duration: 7 days
Next group departure date: To be confirmed
This birding tour can be booked as a private small group tour.
Itinerary – Day tot day Summary:
Arrival at Banjul International Airport, transfer to local hotel.
Your birding tour in The Gambia will start as soon as you touch down at Banjul International Airport.
The airport transfer is a 25 minute drive to our hotel at the coast . On the way, you will immediately notice a few species of birds. Sightings of Hooded Vulture, Pied Crow, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Starlings and Kites can be expected. Depending on your time of arrival there might be a chance for an optional excursion to one or more of the nearby attractions.
After an early breakfast, we will make our way to Farasutu and Pirang forest.
Farasutu forest is a community owned and managed Reserve and is about a 40-minute drive from our hotel. This forest offers a small patch of dense coastal woodland with freshwater pools, and mangrove swamps. This is one of best places to see the Greyish Eagle-Owl, Spotted Honeyguide, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Senegal Thick-knee, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Giant Kingfisher, White-backed Night-Heron, Green-headed Sunbird plus many other species.
Pirang Forest is one of the largest remnants of evergreen Gallery Forest left in the country (65 hectares) and is also a community owned Reserve. It is surrounded by a variety of habitats including extensive salt flats, mangroves and Phragmites parkia stands to the north. This forest hosts many forest specialists with limited distributions including White-spotted Fufftail, African Wood Owl, Western Little Sparrowhawk, Great Sparrowhawk, Ahanta Francolin, Green Turaco, Yellowbill, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Little Greenbul, Swamp Palm Greenbul, Leaflove, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Green Hylia, Collared Sunbird, Green-headed Sunbird, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Western Bluebill and Brown-necked Parrot. It is also the only site in Gambia for Puvel’s Illadopsis.
Several small carnivores are known to occur here(largely from camera-traps) including Gambian Mongoose (often visible foraging in groups in the daytime) as well as White-tailed Mongoose and Marsh Mongooses. Hausa and Pardine genets hunt at night as does African Civet, and the forest is one of only 3 in The Gambia that has Two-spotted Palm Civet. Small numbers of Bushbuck are present, but these can be hard to see, and Cape Clawless Otters are present in the mangroves. Sun Squirrels are common throughout and easy to see.
Gunjur Forest and Kartong Sand Pitch
We will start our day with an early breakfast at the hotel. Gunjur Forest and Kartong Sand Pitch are 30 minutes’ drive from the Hotel. The area constitutes of gallery forest, dunes, and savannah woodlands with open marshes and reedbeds. To date 357 species of bird have been recorded at Kartong.
The wetlands form the centre of the area. Other adjacent habitats include sand dunes, foreshore, tidal mud flats, mangroves, savannah scrub, rice fields cultivations and a remnant of high forest. The extensive reed and rush beds provide roost refuge and breeding sites for some species which are difficult to see in The Gambia. Many of the species here are very approachable and allow wonderful photographic opportunities.
Species recorded here recently include Northern Carmine Bee-eater, African Crake, Ballion’s Crake (1st Gambian record), Dwarf Bittern, Greater Painted-snipe, Allen’s Gallinule, African Pygmy-goose, Brown Noddy (2nd Gambian record), Cassin’s Honeybird (1st Gambian record), American Golden Plover (3rd Gambian record), Martial Eagle, Black-crowned Crane, Great Bittern (4th Gambian record), Little Crake, Lesser Moorhen, Little Buttonquail, Blue-naped Mousebird, Green-headed Sunbird, Hudsonian Whimbrel (2nd Gambian record), White-fronted Plover, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Little Greenbul, Red-winged Pytilia, African Collared Dove, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Wilson’s Storm-petrel.
Exploring Rural Gambia and the North Bank Region
Our journey to explore rural Gambia begins after breakfast when we head out to the south of The Gambia, approximately 160km to the North Bank Region. Along the way we will stop at numerous key birding sites. The habitat consists of savannah woodland, farmlands, and rice paddy fields with big, tall trees, ideal for birds of prey like Martial Eagle and Bateleur, Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, White-shouldered Black-Tit, Yellow Penduline-Tit, Striped Kingfisher, Brubru Shrike, and many more. We will overnight at Morgan Kunda Lodge in Jajari village.
Birding morning and travel to Georgetown
Today, we proceed to Wassu, Kuntaur, Georgetown, and Bansang River Side Lodge. Along the way we will stop at birding sites of mixed habitat. Possible sightings here include the iconic Egyptian Plover, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Black Crowned Crane, White-fronted Black Chat, Brown Snake-Eagle, African Finfoot, White-backed Night-Heron and Pels Fishing Owl. A highlight of our day is a bot trip on the river at Georgetown.
Morning boat trip and head for South side of the Gambia
This morning we are doing another boat trip whereafter we will continue to the south side of the Gambia, towards Tendaba. Along the Transgambia road we will bird the reedbeds, rice fields, and farmland which is ideal for Bustards, Coursers, Plovers, Warblers, Raptors, and many birds of prey.
Boat trip at the Baobolong wetland reserve and head back to the City of Banjul
On our last day we will embark for one more boat trip at Bao bolong wetland reserve. 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.
It is a valley which stretches over a length of more than 140km from the border south of Ferlo towards the river Gambia. Bao Bolon contains four main ecosystems – estuary, woodland-savannah, saltmarsh and mangrove forest. The Bao Bolon is a braided river system which extends north into Senegal, and in The Gambia forms a network of waterways and marshes interspersed with dry woodland savannah on higher ground. To the north of the reserve, the marshes are dominated by large stands of the reed swamps.
We can expect to see White-backed Night-Heron, Goliath Heron, Osprey, Breeding Colony of White-breasted Cormorant, African Clawless Otter, Dwarf Crocodile, Marsh Mongoose. Among the 32 mammal species recorded at Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve are antelopes such as Sitatunga, Bushbuck and Duiker.
There are also Cape Clawless Otters, Warthogs, Spotted Hyenas, Hippopotamus, Leopards, Red Colobus, Guinea Baboon, Patas, the nocturnal Senegal Bushbaby, Green Vervet monkeys as well as the rare and endangered West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). A photo hide is available to rent here.
On our way back to the coast we will stop at various sites to add to our growing bird list. We will visit the Acbcas Creek Lodge area, Mendikunda Woods and the interior of the lower Kiang area.
We will wrap up the trip with a boat trip at KotuCreek. This area is an absolute “must visit” for any avid birder. Part of its appeal is the wide variety of habitats that can be easily visited during a day trip. These include a mangrove lined Creek with tidal mudflats, rice Fields and open woodland, which harbours a fine selection of waders and water birds including various species of Herons, Egrets, Sacred and Hadada Ibises. African Spoonbill, Spur-winged Lapwing, and at least five different species of Kingfishers.
Get in touch with one of our team members for more information at email@example.com