The Gambia is a small country located in West Africa, surrounded by Senegal on all sides except for its western coast, which borders the Atlantic Ocean. The country is known for its beautiful beaches, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife and is a popular destination for tourists. Birding in Gambia is possible all year, although your experience will differ depending on the season. The dry season, which runs from November to April, offers excellent opportunities to spot migratory birds arriving from Europe and other parts of Africa.
The best time to go on an African adventure tour in The Gambia is from January to March. From late March to April, the high temperatures and aridity make it easier to spot birds as they search for water sources. On the other hand, the rainy season, from May to October, provides ideal breeding conditions for birds, and ‘you can observe them in their brightly coloured summer breeding plumage. However, this season can be sticky and humid, and some remote birdwatching spots may be less accessible.
If you try to find "Where to Bird in the Gambia and Senegal" or the place you want to give a photography tour in the Gambia, then the below list is only for you.
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A wonderful location is the Abuko Nature Reserve, which is found in the Western Division of the Gambia, in West Africa. The reserve is made up of a tropical forest, a lake, and various grassy clearings; it has a total area of about 105 hectares. The first recognised wildlife reserve in the Gambia was the Abuko Nature Reserve, which was established in 1968. More than 270 different bird species can be found there, including the African jacana and the blue-bellied roller. Other wildlife that can be seen by visitors includes monitor lizards, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, and bushbucks. The Gambia Department of Parks and Wildlife Management is in charge of managing the reserve, and there are boardwalks and pathways for tourists to use as they explore the region. Additionally, the reserve has a museum that offers details about the plants and animals that can be found there. Birdwatchers, environment enthusiasts, and anybody interested in viewing the splendour of West African wildlife frequently travel to the Abuko Environment Reserve.
Photo Credit - Bearded Barbet - Karanta Camara
Another diverse birdwatching destination in The Gambia is the Tanji Bird Reserve, which is located on the country's west coast. The reserve is home to a variety of bird species, including the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, African Golden Oriole. The reserve is also a great place to spot migratory birds during the winter months.
In the lower River of The Gambia, there is a protected area called Kiang West National Park. It was created in 1987 and has an area of around 11,000 hectares. With almost 300 different bird species documented, Kiang West National Park is a well-liked site for birdwatchers. Raptors like the Bateleur Eagle, Lanner Falcon, and Osprey, as well as hornbills, kingfishers, and several species of doves and pigeons, are just a few of the bird species that may be seen in the park. The African fish eagle, the white-backed vulture, and many other bird species use the park as a vital breeding ground, making it particularly significant for both resident and migratory bird populations.
Marakissa River Camp is a place located in the West Coast Region of The Gambia, West Africa, known for its eco-tourism opportunities and scenic natural surroundings. It offers visitors the chance to stay in comfortable, eco-friendly accommodations that blend with the natural environment. A wide variety of bird species can be found at Marakissa River Camp. Visitors to the camp can spot a range of avian life, including raptors such as the African Fish Eagle and Palm Nut Vulture, kingfishers like the Pied Kingfisher and Blue-breasted Kingfisher, the Shining Blue Kingfisher, and bee-eaters such as the Little Bee-Eater and Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater. Additionally, the camp's location near a river provides an opportunity to observe water birds such as African Jacanas and several species of herons and egrets. The surrounding woodland areas are also home to species like the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Senegal Parrot, and African Grey Hornbill. With its rich and diverse birdlife, Marakissa River Camp is an ideal destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
Photo Credit - Pied Kingfisher - Karanta Camara
Pirang Shrimp Farm is an abandoned shrimp farm located in the West Coast Region of The Gambia. The farm uses sustainable and environmentally friendly methods for shrimp production, including recycling and treating the water used in the farming process. Pirang Shrimp Farm is a destination that attracts a variety of migratory bird species. Visitors to the farm can spot a range of avian life, including waders such as the African Jacana and Black-winged Stilt, herons like the Squacco Heron and Grey Heron, and raptors such as the African Fish Eagle and Osprey. Additionally, the farm's ponds are frequented by waterbirds like the African spoonbill, yellow-billed stork, flamingo, and marsh owl. The surrounding area is also home to species like the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, African Golden Oriole, and African Grey Hornbill.
A protected region in The Gambia called the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve is home to a variety of habitats, including freshwater marshes, savannah woodlands, and mangrove forests. A variety of bird species call it home because of its diverse habitat. Many different species of waterbirds, such as the Goliath Heron, African Spoonbill, White-faced Whistling Duck, and Spur-winged Goose, can be seen in the reserve. Additionally, forest species including the Blue-bellied Roller, Grey Kestrel, Bearded Barbet, Brown Rumped Bunting, Spotted Thicknee, and Four-Banded Sandgrouse are present. Raptors in the area include the African Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle, and Hooded Vulture. The Malachite Kingfisher, Beautiful Sunbird, and Northern Carmine Bee-eater are among the kingfisher, sunbird, and bee-eater species that may be found in the reserve. Due to the reserve's diversified environment, birdwatchers have a rare opportunity to see a variety of bird species in their natural surroundings.
Gunjur is a town in The Gambia's West Coast Region. It is situated south of the capital city, Banjul, near the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. Tourists seeking to unwind and enjoy the sun, sand, and sea frequently travel to the town of Gunjur because of its stunning beaches. A number of sea turtle species, such as the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle, choose to lay their eggs on the beaches of Gunjur. Gunjur Forest, which has a range of habitats including beaches, mangroves, marshes, and savannahs, is in a wonderful location for birdwatching. Throughout the year, a variety of bird species, many of which are seasonal visitors, can be seen in the area. White-backed vultures, palm-nut vultures, African Harrier Hawks, Green Hylias, Capuchin Barblers, Violet and Green Turacos, Green Crombecs, African Goshawks, Wettern Blue Bills, Ospreys, Lanner falcons, Abyssinian Rollers, and Bluebellied Rollers are just a few of the bird species that can be spotted at Gunjur. Greater honeyguide, white-crested helmetshrike, red-bellied paradise flycatcher, African pied hornbill, greyheaded kingfisher, bearded barbet, copper sunbird, violet turaco, brown-necked parrot, Senegal coucal, white-throated bee-eater, yellow-crowned gonolek, yellow-fronted tinkerbird, and Senegal coucal are some examples of the bird species.
Photo Credit - Splendid Sunbird - Karanta Camara
The town of Gunjur, which is in The Gambia's West Coast Region, is situated on the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean west of the country's capital city of Banjul. Gunjur is a well-liked vacation spot for travellers seeking to unwind and take in the sun, sand, and sea because of its stunning beaches. Several sea turtle species, notably the Green Turtle and the Loggerhead Turtle, regularly nest on the beaches in Gunjur. With a range of habitats, including beaches, mangroves, marshes, and savannahs, Gunjur Forest is in a wonderful location for birdwatching. Throughout the year, a variety of bird species can be seen in the area, with many species being seasonal visitors. Gunjur is home to a number of bird species, including the white-backed vulture, palm-nut vulture, African Harrier Hawk, Green Hylia, Capuchin Barbler, Violet and Green Turacos, Green Crombec, African Goshawk, Wettern Blue Bill, Osprey, Lanner falcon, Abyssinian Roller, and Bluebellied Roller. Black-headed kingfisher, greyheaded kingfisher, bearded barbet, copper sunbird, violet turaco, brown-necked parrot, Senegal coucal, white-throated bee-eater, yellow-crowned gonolek, yellow-fronted tinkerbird, greater honeyguide, white-crested helmetshrike, red-bellied paradise flycatcher, and African pied hornbill
With a wide variety of bird species to witness, Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve in The Gambia's North Bank Region is a great place to go bird watching. The reserve is made up mainly of savannah woodland habitats, mudflats, and mangrove swamps and is situated on the south bank of the Gambia River. The following bird species can be spotted in the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve: African fish eagle, osprey, African jacana, Goliath heron, African darter, Black-crowned night heron, Sacred ibis, Purple heron, Little egret, Yellow-billed stork, and White-backed Night Heron are a few examples of the apes that may be found in Africa.
The North Bank Region of The Gambia is a well-liked location for birdwatching since it has a variety of habitats that support a wide variety of bird species. The resort is close to the Jajari settlement, which is surrounded by marshes and wooded regions. If you take a long trip to these places, you might see some of the bird species listed below. You can find several of these species, like the Northern Red Bishop, Variable Sunbird, Abyssinia Ground Hornbill, and Long Crested Eagle, at the Jammansari/Katchang Woods and Girong Woods. Bearded barbet, grey-headed bushshrike, yellow-crowned gonolek, Temmick's courser, black-crowned cranes, speckled-fronted weavers, brown snake eagle, Abyssinian roller, red-billed firefinch, green wood hoopoe, and lovely sunbird The lodge is also home to several raptor species, including the African harrierhawk, Bateleur eagle, and Lanner falcon. Water birds, including herons, egrets, and kingfishers, are often spotted in the lodge's gardens and wetlands. Additionally, Morgan Kunda Lodge has a lovely garden that attracts many finches.
On the north bank of the River Gambia, in The Gambia, are the Kaur Wetlands, a well-known location for bird watching. The wetlands sustain a large range of bird species since they are made up of open water, mudflats, and tall grasses. When birdwatching in the Kaur Wetlands, you could encounter the following bird species: African fish eagle, black heron, pink-backed pelicans, giant kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, blue-cheeked bee-eater, African jacana, spur-winged plover, little egret, and African darter are some examples of the bird species found in Africa.
The Gambia's Kiang West Region is home to the well-known bird watching park known as Kiang West National Park. The savannah woodland, gallery forest, and wetland habitats that make up the park are home to a variety of bird species. When birdwatching in Kiang West National Park, you might spot some of the following species: Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Bearded Barbet Brown-necked Parrot, Blue Bellied Roller, African Harrier-Hawk, Yellow-billed Kite, Bearded Barbet Brown-necked Parrot, Northern Red Bishop, and African Golden Oriole are some of the other birds that may be seen there.
Senegal is an emerging economy country in West Africa, bordered by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, Guinea-Bissau to the southwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its capital and largest city is Dakar. Senegal is known for its vibrant culture, music and arts scene and it is also a great destination for birdwatching, with over 650 bird species found in the country. Some of the top birdwatching spots in Senegal include:
Photo Credit - Osprey - Karanta Camara
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is situated in northern Senegal, close to Saint-Louis. The sanctuary, which has a land area of over 16,000 hectares, is located near the southern end of the Senegal River delta. It is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in Africa because it is home to more than 400 kinds of birds. Since many of these birds migrate, the sanctuary is an essential stopover for migratory birds going from Europe to Africa. For various bird species, including the Purple Heron, Little Egret, and Cattle Egret, the sanctuary is a crucial breeding habitat.
The southeast of Senegal is home to the sizable protected area known as Niokolo-Koba National Park. The park is one of West Africa's oldest and largest national parks, with a total area of almost 9,000 square kilometres. The Egyptian Plover, the Grey-headed Kingfisher, and the Arabian Bustard are just a few examples of the rare or endangered bird species that call Niokolo-Koba National Park home. African Fish Eagle, Red-throated Bee-eater, and Yellow-billed Oxpecker are just a few of the other bird species that may be found in the park.
A region known as Langue de Barbarie National Park can be found close to Saint-Louis in northern Senegal on a little sand spit in the Senegal River delta. It was started in 1976, and it has an area of about 2,000 hectares. The park is renowned for the wide variety of bird species it supports, especially waterbirds. Here, over 180 different bird species have been identified, including various tern, gull, and wader species. Several bird species, including the Caspian Tern and the Royal Tern, use it as a crucial breeding place.
In western Senegal, where the Saloum River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, sits the Saloum Delta National Park. The park was created in 1976 and has a surface area of over 76,000 hectares. With over 250 different bird species documented in the vicinity, the park is well known for its wide variety of bird species. Many bird species, such as the African Fish Eagle, Great White Pelican, and Goliath Heron, use it as a breeding and nesting place. The Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, and Eurasian Oystercatcher are just a few of the migratory bird species that make the park their home throughout the winter.
Photo Credit - Beautiful Sun-bird - Karanta Camara
A protected region called Parc National de la Basse Casamance can be found in southern Senegal, close to the Guinea-Bissau border. The park was created in 2004 and has an area of about 500 square kilometres. Over 200 different bird species have been identified in the park, which is renowned for its wide variety of bird species. For various species of waterbirds, such as the African Finfoot, Goliath Heron, and Purple Heron, it provides a crucial habitat. Several forest-dwelling bird species, such as the African Grey Parrot, Western Bluebill, and Yellow-casqued Hornbill, can also be found in the park.
The Sahel region is home to a wide variety of bird species that are specially adapted to this semi-arid environment, making bird watching there an exciting experience. Many migratory birds that travel between Europe and Africa make this area a crucial stopover. The Sahel region of Senegal is home to a variety of bird species, including raptors like the African Fish Eagle, Red-necked Falcon, and Lappet-faced Vulture. The Abyssinian Roller, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, and Brown-rumped Bunting are three additional bird species that can be frequently encountered nearby.
Senegal's Fathala Wildlife Reserve is a well-known spot for bird watching since it has a variety of habitats that are home to a wide variety of bird species. A mixture of West African and Guinean savanna woodland habitats, including acacia trees, baobabs, and grasses, may be found in the reserve, which lies close to the Senegal-Gambia border.
The southeast of Senegal, close to the Guinean border, is home to Dindefelo Falls, a fantastic area for bird watching. A variety of habitats, including forest, savannah, and rocky outcrops, surround the falls and sustain a wide variety of bird species. When birdwatching in Dindefelo Falls, you could encounter the following bird species: Black-crowned tchagra, yellow-billed shrike, grey-headed bushshrike, double-toothed barbet, red-winged pytilia, yellow-fronted tinkerbird, red-bellied hornbill, blue-bellied roller, violet turaco, yellow-shouldered widow bird, Mali firefinch, yellow tinkerbird, etc. The falls are also home to a number of raptors, including these species: the African harrier-hawk, bateleur eagle, and dark-chanting goshawk. The winter months are a good time to watch migratory bird species like the common kestrel and the European beeeater because Dindefelo Falls is a significant place for them. Going on a guided bird walk uphill to explore further is advised to get the most out of birding in Dindefelo Falls.
If you want to find out where to go birding in The Gambia and Senegal, click to see the itinerary here.
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