Birds and much more in The Gambia & Senegal
Africa for starters with lots of beautiful birds
Even experienced Africa-visitors are never bored in this part of west Africa: the Gambia and Senegal are superb bird destinations. Here you will see 9 different kingfishers, 6 different bee-eaters, 4 different rollers and 3 species of snake eagles or short-toed eagle. It is a real bonus that the birds here may be observed freely because they are less shy than similar birds in Europe. Bird photographers come back with lots of amazing pictures!
Birdwatching in The Gambia and Senegal
Feeling overwhelmed is the right way for describing the first visit to The Gambia and Senegal. In the gardens we see laughing doves, firefinch, red-eyed dove, red-cheeked cordon blue, brown babbler, yellow-crowned gonolek, Senegal parrot, green wood hoopoo, red-billed hornbill, and the scarlet-chested sunbird: what an array of species!
During this period we will also see overwintering birds from Europe, as well the bar-tailed godwit, sanderling, osprey, subalpine warbler – and more besides. We will visit the beach, the lagoons, savannas, mangroves, marshes and woods where we will see many species as: egrets, raptors, hornbills, rollers, weaverbirds, barbets, honeybirds, kingfishers, glossy starling and ibis. Moreover, we will visit some areas with a very dense diversity of animal life, such as antelopes, warthog, giraffes, baboons, hippos and lions.
This tour entails visiting partly reservations or National Parks, and partly common areas with a dense population of birds. Our local guide knows the best spots to watch special species and he will show us around in these areas. Raptors we will see are: gabar hawk, bateleur, dark chanting goshawk and more.
In The Gambia we will visit some forests and savannas located in the coastal area and a bird island before visiting the coast too. We will have a boat trip in the mangrove areas along the river The Gambia near Tendaba where we will have a good chance of seeing African finfoot, goliath heron and white-backed night heron. Also in Jan Jan Bureh we will have a boat trip to see more birds and hippos. Many species of weaverbirds make their nests along the river; and red Colobus monkey will be seen when moving through the canopy of the trees. We will also meet the African fish eagle which breeds there.
Bijilo is also called the Monkey forest because of the great number of vervet monkeys and red Colobus monkeys which live there. We are also likely to see small bee-eaters, gonolek and wood hoopoo, violet turaco, common and different species of rollers, grey hornbill and red-billed hornbill, Senegal coucal, brown babbler, the beautiful sunbird and more.
Abuko Nature Reserve
The Abuko Natural Reserve is a remnant of the original forest with an impressive number of birds. Near a little pond in the reserve we will see the African giant kingfisher sitting on branches above the water. In the trees behind this bird are groups of blackheaded herons and night herons. A hamerkop flies overhead.
On the riverbank we can see a striated heron, together with some darters; a grown-up Nile crocodile drying in the sun completes the African marsh impression. This forest is the best place to see the violet and green turako.
The coast is very special because of the many gulls and terns, zoals grey-headed gull, kelpgull, Bengal and royal tern and great numbers of Caspian tern which can be seen there. Regularly ospreys may be seen fishing and flying above the sea. On the beach you can see sanderlings, turnstones, bar-tailed godwits and oystercatchers.
In Senegal we will visit the National Park Niokolo Koba. The richness in birds here is amazing – especially the enormous Abyssinian ground Hornbill. But also all species of African crocodiles and many mammals and other reptiles may be found in this area.
After a few days in the National Park Niokola Koba we will depart for Kaolac. On our way we will see many birds as well as mammals in the wetlands along the road. We will see the carmine bee-eater, blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Wattled Plover, Black Crake, Egyptian Plover, black coucal, brown snake-eagle. We will see the concentration of many thousands of lesser kestrels and many other raptors which have their sleeping places in Kaolac. We will be there before sunset and on the following day before dawn. On one of our days here we will explore the arid area in the north of Kaolac.
The last part of the tour is the Saloum delta which will be visited by foot, car and boat looking for birds which are numerous in this Delta. We will go on safari in the wild park of Fathale, maybe the most western area to spot giraffes and other big grazers of the African savannah. Than we will cross the river again to Banjul by ferry. In the surrounding area of Banjul we will check in at our hotel for the last night. On the final day before departure we will visit the Abuko forest – a beautiful end to this very special bird tour. The flight back to Amsterdam is in the late afternoon or early evening.
|Tour price:||€ 2455,- £1995,-,- international flights excluded|
|Not included:||Visa for Senegal.|
|Guarantee:||Blue Elephant is a member of GGTO|
|Dates 2015:||Februari 15th – March 1st 2015|
|Travel code||15SeGambia (please mention in booking form).|
|Single supplement:||€ 350,-£|
|Itinerary:||will be sent 4 weeks before departure.|
|local transport:||bus or van or Landrover(s).|
|walking effort:||only light walks flat surface.|
|participants:||at least 6 personen, max 12 persons.|
|Accommodation:||Eerste week uitstekend hotel, tweede week eenvoudige lodges op basis van halfpension.|
|Guide:||English speaking tourleader and local guide.|
|Weather:||tropical warm , no wind and in the morning light clouded in the mornings|
|day 1:||arrival in Banjul The Gambia;|
|day 2:||Bijilo Forest and boat tour to island before the coast;|
|day 3:||Marakissa and Tujering Woods;|
|day 4:||Departure to Tendaba and birdwatching on the move. Afternoon excursion to the old airstrip. Overnight stay in Tendaba;|
|day 5:||Boat tour in mangroves in the morning and departure to Jan Jan Bureh (Georgetown);|
|day 6:||Boat tour looking for hippos and birds;|
|day 7:||Departure to Niokola Koba. Overnight stay in Dar Salam;|
|day 8:||Boat tour of 3 hours in NP en guided walk. Overnight stay in Dar Salam;|
|day 9:||Jeepsafari in NP Overnight stay in Dar Salam;|
|day 10:||Morning excursion in NP and departure to Jan Jan Bureh (overnight stay);|
|day 11:||Day excursion from Jan Jan Bureh to Kaolac. Visit overnight stay of raptors before sunset. (Overnight stay in Kaolac);|
|day 12:||Morning birdwatching near mudflats and overnight stay raptors. Rest morning and afternoon excursion north of Kaolac (overnight stay in Kaolac);|
|day 13:||Morning birdwatching near mudflats and overnight stay raptors. Departure to Toubacouta. Check in hotel and afternoon boat excursion.|
|day 14:||Morning birdwatching near Toubacouta, lunch in Fathala. Afternoon safari in wild park. Overnight stay in Siné Saloum/Toubacouta;|
|day 15:||Departure to The Gambia (ferry Barra-Banjul) and Cycle Track. Accommodation in Hotel or lodge.;|
|day 16:||Morning excursion to Abuko; if possible, lunch in Lamin Lodge and late afternoon flight back home;|