|Day 1: Arrival into Dakar Early; Transfer north to
Saint Louis and Langue de Barbarie National Park
and then Djoudj National Park
Most of the group gets into Dakar on overnight flights
from Washington DC. Our guide, Yaya Barry, and driver
will meet us at about 5:30 AM after we have cleared
customs and gathered our luggage. We should be on the
road by 6 AM, and we can grab breakfast as we head
toward Saint Louis in Senegal.
We will stop and bird as we head for Saint Louis, getting
there about noon for lunch. Saint Louis is the old French
colonial capital so it will have a number of nice options for
As we drive from Dakar to Djoudj National Park via Saint
Louis, we will find birds mainly in several different habitats
As it is still very hot from noon until the late afternoon, we
will use this time to drive to Djoudj National Park, and we
may stop for birds if the opportunity presents itself (water
with a good number of species and/or road side birding
with vultures and more).
Once we reach Djoudj National Park, we will spend the
afternoon driving the roads there. This late afternoon of
birding will quickly expand the number of European
migrants and African specialties we have found that day.
The wetter areas of the Park can be filled with birds (see
description next day), and we will likely have a difficult
time not spending some time on gawking at the Flamingo
species and Storks (which will catch the imagination of
most North American birders). Some of the better trip
birds may be found in vegetation along the roadways, and
we should start to find a number of north Senegal
specialities here. The end of the day also will give us a
chance to see thousands of Common Sand Martins (Bank
Swallows) as they gather before roosting for the
We will check into our very nice hotel at about 5:30/6 PM,
have supper and complete our daily bird checklist before
8 PM. We will all try to get to bed by 8 PM to support our
early start the next morning.
Day 2: Djoudj National Park
We will have an early morning breakfast and drive into the
National Park for a morning of birding. The lakes and
other waterways in the park will provide the setting for
huge flocks of different species flying by and swirling
overhead, and most of us will never forget this marvellous
avian spectacle. The Djoudj waterways are usually filled
with huge numbers of Greater Flamingos, Lesser
Flamingos, White-breasted Cormorants and Great White
Pelicans. We should also find Garganey, White-faced
Whistling-Duck, Comb (Knob-billed) Duck, Green-winged)
Common Teal, Little Grebe and additional waterfowl.
Everyone will enjoy looks at Black Crowned-Cranes, Black
Storks, White Storks, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed
Plover, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit and
other waders. Whiskered Terns and White-winged Terns
will also add to the spectacle.
Some of the vegetation around the waterways will provide
us the opportunity to find Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed-
Warbler, Chiffchaff (and perhaps sort out an Iberian
Chiffchaff), Winding Cisticola, and numerous Black-
headed Weavers. In the rice fields, we should find
Greater Short-toed Lark and Red-throated Pipit.
Driving the park roadways and scanning the waterways,
flooded areas and reed beds should provide us good
opportunities to find Greater Painted-Snipe, Purple
(African) Swamphens, Black Crakes, River Prinia and
more. We should also find a few other species such as
Yellow Wagtail, African Stonechat and more flying through
or wandering around the area. Some of the raptors near
and in the park include species such as Arabian Bustard
and Short-toed Eagle, and we will put some time into
looking at these species as well. We should also find
Crested Larks in the more open areas of the Park.
A peek into the desert might give us looks at Cream-
coloured Coursers, Desert Cisticola and a few other arid
We will likely have lunch back at the hotel to get out of the
sun for 1 or 2 hours at mid-day (and depending upon the
We will spend the early afternoon birding by boat in the
National Park and looking for African Fish-Eagles, Allen’s
Gallinule, Great Bittern and closer looks at many of
thousands of birds we saw in the morning. Most birders
will also enjoy seeing the Nile Crocodiles lounging on the
lake shore. We may also see African Scrub-Robin and a
few other surprises.
Later afternoon will provide us additional opportunities to
look for species we may have missed earlier in the day.
We will get back to our hotel by about 5:30/6 PM, have
supper and complete our daily bird check list before 8
PM. We will all try to get to bed by 8 PM to support early
morning packing and an early start the next morning.
Day 3: Richard Toll
We will start early as we will drive to Richard Toll. Richard
Toll has several specialty birds which we can find in this
arid area, just to the south of the Sahara. We will hope to
find Cricket Warbler, Sennar Peduline-Tit, Black Scrub-
Robin, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Tawny Pipit, (Little)
Green Bee-eater, Isabelline Wheatear, Small Buttonquail,
Cream-coloured Courser, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse,
Singing Bushlark, and much more. The habitat here is
countryside, sugar cane and irrigated lands.
We will be able to bird the morning here, but will need to
take a break in our hotel as the day gets very hot at
about lunch time. The winds can shorten this day to very
little birding, but hopefully we will have a calm day.
Please note that birding here can be difficult if the winds
pick up across the desert, bringing sand and dust to block
our visibility for birding. In these situation, we need to
either wait things out and/or return to the hotel for a little
We should also get in some birding in the late afternoon.
This area usually has plenty of Palearctic migrants and
we may find species like Western Bonelli’s Warbler,
Western Olivaceous Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler,
and Subalpine Warbler, Tree Pipit, the fantastic Eurasian
Hoopoe and Eurasian Wryneck. We will likely find
additional African species, such as Mourning Collared-
Dove (African Mourning Dove), Black Scimitar-bill (Black
Woodhoopoe), Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Villiage
Indigobird, Fulvous Chatterer (Babbler) and more. We
will continue to look for Sennar Penduline-Tit and Little
Grey Woodpecker (if necessary).
We will finish up by about 6 PM/6:30 PM back at the hotel
We should get to bed by 8:30 PM to support another
early start the next day.
Day 4: Richard Toll to Toubacouta via Touba
After an early breakfast, we will load the van for the day.
We will start the birding with a few more hours at Richard
Toll and/or focusing on areas farther away from town on
species which we may have missed the day before.
After the early morning (and by about 8 AM), our trip,
hurrying toward Gambia, will likely include a few wayside
stops. One source for a grateful birding break will be any
wayside wildlife casualties attracting vultures. Hooded
Vulture, (African) White-backed Vulture, Rueppell’s
Griffon, Eurasian Griffon and Lappet-faced Vulture are all
possible here. We may also stop to look at Yellow-billed
Oxpecker on roadside cattle.
Though we will not reach Gambia today, we will reach a
town near the border. Past brief birding breaks as the
day gets warmer have allowed looks at species like
Desert Cisticola and Northern Anteater-Chat, but not
much more. Most of us will appreciate looking at
landscape we have not seen before, and all of us will
rejoice at any birding break (even with limited species) as
we zip along today.
The most interesting (non-birding) stop on the trip will be
the Great Mosque at Touba. This is the largest Mosque
in Africa, and we will take 15 to 30 minutes observing the
grandeur of this sacred location. Like most trips focused
on birding, we will all wish we had more time to enjoy this
part of the trip more.
By 6:00/6:30 PM, we will reach Toubacouta for the night.
We will get to bed as early as we can, and hopefully
before 8 PM. We will need to start early to assure we get
through the border crossing first thing in the morning.
Day 5: Entry into Gambia; Birding North side of
Gambia River, stopping at Kau-ur Swamp and More;
then Freshwater Boat Trip Upriver, and finishing at
We will need to be packed and ready to go so we can get
across the border first thing in the morning. This will be a
long and productive day of birding.
It is about a 10 to 15 mile drive to cross the border from
our hotel, near Karang (in Senegal). If we all have our
visas and if all goes well (and this is not always the case,
depending upon the staffing at the border), we will reach
Gambia quickly in the morning. We cross at the
Amdalaye border crossing station.
The roads on the north bank have been improved in
recent years so driving the north side is much better than
in the past. We will want to take some time as we go
along to bird some of the watering holes and forested
areas along the road. Yaya knows these areas well; so
he knows where to check for some new trip birds as we
travel along. Amongst the numerous weavers, we should
find Namaqua Dove, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Black-
crowned Sparrow-Lark (Finch-Lark), Cut-throat, Long-
tailed (Exclamatory) Paradise-Whydah and Cinnamon-
Two major birding stops are along our route today. (1)
Baobolong wetland is another good stopping point where
we will have a chance to find a few more key species. (2)
We will also stop and bird superb Kau-ur swamp where we
will look for the Egyptian Plover (found regularly here)
along with Kittlitz's Plover and Collared Pratincole. Red
Patas Monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) are also in the
Continuing our journey, and looking for Northern Anteater-
Chat (if missed before), we may also try other areas, like
Panchang Wetland, for Egyptian Plover, and we should
also find African Pygmy-Geese and a few European
visitors (like European Turtle-Doves and Black Crake).
Towards the late afternoon, we will reach Kuntau where
we will take a nice boat trip down the river to Janjanbureh
(or Georgetown). This boat trip will allow us some good
looks at some freshwater mammals (such as Hippos) and
also several birds species which prefer the freshwater
By the end of the day, we will arrive at Bird Safari Camp,
our base for the next three nights.
Day 6 and 7: Upriver birding from Janjanbureh:
Bansang Quarry and Basse, Bird Safari Camp and
The next 2 days we will spend exploring a number of sites
upriver. Besides the very well know Bansang Quarry near
Basse, the Bird Safari Camp and numerous other sites will
yield a number of good surprises. Several species for the
trip can only be found in this part of Gambia, so investing
a few days here will likely be worthwhile.
On day 6, we will drive to Basse and Bansang Quarry. At
Basse, we will look for Northern Carmine Bee-eater,
Egyptian Plover and much more.
Some of the species we might find at Bird Safari Camp
include Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling, Greater Blue-
eared Glossy-Starling, (Western) Banded Snake-Eagle,
Broad-billed Roller, Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike,
Bruce's Green-Pigeon, Long-crested Eagle and more.
On our way to Basse, we will continue to look for birds.
Past trips have found flying Lanner Falcons and Red-
necked Falcons. Some of the stars for the day will
include Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-
eater, Egyptian Plovers and Abyssinian Rollers.
Some of these species will be found as we drive along,
but we will also want to check Bansang Quarry, which is
often good for these species, including incredible
numbers (often hundreds) of Red-throated Bee-eaters.
Other birds found in the area include Rufous-chested
Swallow, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Cut-throat, Red-
billed Quelea, Pin-tailed Whydah, Ortolan Bunting, Bush
Petronia, Red-thighed (Western Little) Sparrowhawk,
Yellow-fronted Canary, Black-rumped Waxbill, Northern
Grey-headed Sparrows, Orange (Northern Red) Bishop,
Exclamatory Paradise Whydah and more.
The area also sometimes hosts Dark Chanting-Goshawk,
Shikra, Mottled Spinetail and Little Swift. Egyptian Plovers
are also often seen here.
Depending upon the timing of the day, we may have time
for some birding around the camp.
As dusk settles in, we will want to be back at the camp.
As evening may bring us good luck with Long-tailed
Nightjar, African Scops-Owl, and perhaps a few additional
On Day 7, we will likely explore around MacCarthy Island
or try some other sites based upon the species we may
MacCarthy Island is particularly rich ornithologically: the
freshwater riverine habitat, forest, grasslands and rice
fields host many species that are either difficult or
impossible to find on the coast. Bird Safari Camp's ideal
location on the northwestern banks of the island means
that many birds - Violet Turaco, Blue-breasted Kingfisher,
Swamp Flycatcher, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Stone
Partridge, Red-throated Bee-eater and Four-banded
Sandgrouse, to name but a few - are frequently seen
within the camp's grounds.
We will also search the rice fields for African Crake before
visiting other sites for Grey-headed Bushshrike and
Depending upon the timing of the day, we may bird back
up on the north side of the river and/or back at Bird Safari
Based upon our success the night before, we will also
offer birding after dinner as we will look for African Scops-
Owl and other nocturnal species.
Day 8: Down river to Tendaba Camp via Fulla
Bantang, Jahally Rice Fields and Soma Swamps
Today, we may try a few more spots near Bird Safari
Camp, but we will most likely leave early as we head
towards Tendaba Camp. We will bird as we go along the
south road, and we will likely enjoy some birding at three
key stops including Fulla Bantang, Jahally Rice Fields and
We will stop at Fulla Bantang, a small village, to observe
the many Marabou Storks in the area.
Soma Swamps are yet another possible site for Egyptian
Plover. We may also find Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-
billed Stork, Kentish Plover and we should find some
other new trip species here.
Jahally Rice Fields (wetlands and rice fields) will provide
other good looks at a number of waders which we have
previously seen (such as Squacco Heron and Hamerkop),
but we may also find African Crake, African Jacana and
maybe a few others. Past trips have found Black Coucal,
Greater Honeyguide, Croaking Cisticola, Bush Petronia,
Yellow-billed Oxpecker and Yellow-crowned Bishop. For
American birders, European visitors such as European
Bee-eater and Whinchat would be nice additions. Also, a
chance to study European birds such as Sedge Warbler,
Eurasian Reed-Warbler, Great Reed-Warbler, and Zitting
Cisticola will also be welcome. The area is good for
Collared Pratincole, African Pygmy-Goose, Bar-breasted
Driving along today, we should keep our eyes to the skies
so that we can expand our growing list of raptors.
Day 9: Downstream Boat Trip in the AM; PM Birding
Dry Woodlands near Tendaba Camp
Today we will drive downriver for a few nights stay at
Tendaba Camp. Despite its name, it is a lodge and does
not have tents.
In the morning, we will take a two-hour pirogue trip
downstream to look for African Finfoot. This is mostly
mangrove/saltwater swamps; so we will find some birds
preferring this habitat type. Other birds we may see on
the river are Spur-winged Goose and Comb Duck. After
being picked up by our driver, we will visit a big area of
marshes and rice fields where specialties may include
African Pygmy-Goose and Black Coucal.
Heading back west, we will arrive in time for lunch at
After lunch, we will take a boat trip into the mangrove
creeks. Species we could see include Yellow-billed Stork,
Marabou Storks, Sacred Ibis, Intermediate Egret, Goliath
Heron, White-backed Night-Heron, African Spoonbill,
Knob-billed (Comb) Duck, Spur-winged Goose, African
Fish-Eagle, White-throated Bee-eater, Mouse-brown
Sunbird, African Blue-Flycatcher and Blue-breasted
Kingfisher and Grey-headed Kingfisher. In the varied
habitat around Tendaba, we may see Long-crested
Eagle, Pygmy Sunbird, Brown-necked Parrot, Bruce's
Green-Pigeon, White (White-crested) Helmetshrike and
In the later afternoon, we will explore the dry woodland
again for species we may have missed such as Brown-
rumped Bunting and more.
Day 10: AM Final Tendaba Birding and then to Coast
via Kiang West National Park
In the morning, based upon what we may have missed, we
may try some of the wooded areas near Tendaba again,
or we may head directly toward Kiang West National Park
and towards Banjul.
There are a number of good birding sites en-route. We
will stop at a particularly productive woodland site where
Brown-backed Woodpecker, Black-faced Firefinch, White-
shouldered Black-Tit, African Yellow White-eye, Yellow
Penduline-Tit, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Chestnut-crowned
Sparrow-Weaver and White-fronted Black-Chat may be
Day 11: Kotu Ponds, Stream and Open Area/golf
course and afternoon at Casino Cycle Track
Birding in the greater Banjul area is always exciting, and
each day here seems to continually yield more and more
trip birds. Our first morning will likely include Laughing
Dove, Speckled Pigeon, Western Red-billed Hornbill,
Long-tailed Glossy-Starling, Red-billed Firefinch, Bronze
Mannikin and many others to keep us from finding time for
As soon as breakfast is finished, we will continue to the
Kotu ponds, stream and golf course. Common species
here include White-faced Whistling-Duck, Black-headed
Lapwing, Spur-winged Plover (Lapwing), Wattled Lapwing,
Hooded Vulture, Palm-nut Vulture, Grey Woodpecker,
Fine-spotted Woodpecker, Blue-bellied Roller, Abyssinian
Roller and Little Bee-eater. A variety of sunbird species
are around, including Splendid, Variable and Beautiful
Sunbirds. Many birders report this spot provides some
stunning views for nearly every species. By the stream,
we will look for Senegal Thick-knee and Yellow-throated
Longclaw while watching hunting Kingfishers, including
Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher and Giant
During the heat of the day we will return to our lodge and
have lunch. As it cools down in the later afternoon, we will
check the area known as the Casino Cycle Track. Here
we may add Tawny-flanked Prinia, Zitting Cisticola, Green
Woodhoopoe, Piapiac, Senegal Parrot, Little Swift and
African Palm-Swift, Oriole Warbler (Moho), Brown
Babbler, Blackcap Babbler, Senegal Coucal and Green-
(Grey)-backed Camaroptera to our lists.
As the light fades and based upon our success previously
on the trip, we may try to find Long-tailed Nightjar and
Day 12: Abuko Nature Reserve and Lamin Fields
In the morning, we will head straight to Abuko Nature
Reserve where we will spend most of the day. Although
small, it encloses a remnant area of riverine forest as well
as some savannah. Protected since 1916 as a water
catchment area, Abuko abounds with birds. On the pools
are Long-tailed Cormorant, African Darter, Hamerkop,
Black-headed Heron and Striated Heron. The forest is
home to the (hard-to-miss) Western (Grey) Plantain-
eater, Guinea (Green) Turaco, Violet Turaco, African
Grey Hornbill, and African Pied Hornbill.
Small birds are often not as easy to see in the canopy of
trees or the undergrowth, so we will spend some time
sitting quietly in the photographic hide. By doing this,
especially in the heat of the day, we can remain in the
shade and see many new species including Black-billed
Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Western Bluebill,
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, White-crowned Robin-Chat,
Grey-headed Bristlebill, Little Greenbul and African
Pygmy-Kingfisher. Another good place to be in the heat of
the day is in one of the hides which overlook the pools.
Nile Crocodiles and Monitor Lizards also occur here as
well as Red Colobus Monkey and Green Vervet Monkey.
We may also see Bushbuck and Sitatunga.
There is a very convenient stall selling cold drinks and
snacks in the middle of the reserve by the animal
orphanage, and we will spend some time here as the
water and food attract many birds.
At another time as the day cools, we will visit the
savannah extension which supports a different selection
of birds including Stone Partridge, Double-spurred
Francolin, Fanti Sawwing, Pied-winged Swallow, Grey
Kestrel and Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. We will also check
one of the large trees for a roosting Verreaux's Eagle-Owl.
Continuing our circular journey of the area, we will always
find new species and perhaps birds such as Lizard
Buzzard, African Harrier-Hawk, African Paradise-
Flycatcher, Black-headed (Red-bellied) Paradise-
Flycatcher, African Golden Oriole, Northern Puffback,
Yellow-breasted Apalis and Green Hylia.
Bird activity often increases in late afternoon and exciting
species including Levaillant's Cuckoo, Klaas's Cuckoo,
Yellowbill, Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike and Sulphur-
breasted Bushshrike have been found at the last gasp of
the birding day.
If we have time today, we will spend part of the afternoon
at Lamin Fields, which has open grassland and
agricultural areas. Here we hope to find Temminck's
Courser, Northern White-faced (Scops-)Owl, Pearl-
spotted Owlet, Striped Kingfisher, Northern Black-
Flycatcher, Pin-tailed Whydah and Chestnut-bellied
Starling. In the scattered trees we should see Vieillot's
Barbet, Bearded Barbet, Red-eyed Dove and Vinaceous
Dove. We should find Dark Chanting-Goshawks and
Black-shouldered Kites hunting over the area. If we
spend the full day at Abuko, we may save Lamin Fields to
later in the trip.
Days 13: Mandinaba Fields, Faraba Banta bush track
Today we will focus on several other spots good for
birding in the Banjul area. We may also circle back to
Lamin Fields, either in the early morning or in the late
These other sites include:
Day 14: Brufut Woods and Tanji Bird Reserve
We will likely start the day at Brufut Woods where exciting
species such as Collared Sunbird, Green-headed
Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Western Violet-backed
Sunbird, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-winged Prinia
(Warbler) and Senegal Batis can be found.
We will also get to the Tanji Bird Reserve today, and this
is an excellent site for many new trip species, perhaps
Whistling Cisticola, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Common
(Yellow-crowned) Gonolek and Northern Crombec. We
may also add a few more Western Palearctic migrants,
such as Melodious Warbler and Common (Rufous)
Nightingale here. African Hobby will likely be hunting over
the area. On the saltwater lagoon, we may find White-
fronted Plover and several other water-dependent
species which we may be missing and/or enjoy seeing
again. We will want to be here as evening approaches so
that we can find Four-banded Sandgrouse drinking from
the freshwater pools.
Days 15 and 16: Several birding sites will be
covered from the coast, including Cape Creek,
Bund Road and Marakissa
The Bund Road is an area of marshy pools and
mangroves close to Banjul, where the mud is alive with
Fiddler Crabs and Mudskippers attracting a number of
waders/shorebirds. Some of the waders here usually
include Little Stint, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed
Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Wood Sandpiper and Black-
winged Stilt. Grey-hooded (Grey-headed) Gull, Slender-
billed Gull, Pink-backed Pelican and the white-breasted
form of Great Cormorant roost on the wrecks in the bay.
Western Reef-Herons are common, and Blue-cheeked
Bee-eaters and Wire-tailed Swallows hawk over the area.
We should also find large numbers of Pied Kingfishers
and African Mourning Doves sitting on the wires.
We will also likely visit Marakissa today. Marakissa is a
mixture of cultivation, forest and a river with specialties
including Black Crake, White-breasted Cuckooshrike and
Spotted Honeyguide. Camalou Corner has mudflats and
cultivation where we may see Yellow-crowned Bishop.
If we have enough time and based upon the species we
have seen, we may also try the Seleti Waterholes on the
Senegal border. This location offers another good
opportunity to watch birds coming in to drink and these
include Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, Bush Petronia,
Red-winged Pytilia, Black-rumped Waxbill, Lavender
Waxbill and Red-cheeked Cordonbleu.
Day 16: Morning and Afternoon Birding and Late PM
Most everyone will have flights home after 8 PM, so we
can spend the whole day birding, covering any of the
sites missed the day before and/or searching for any
species we may have missed.
Depending upon flight times (which are often after 10
PM), we will spend our last day trying any sites which may
yield new birds. This may include Lamin Fields, Abuko or
other sites based on our chance to find new species.
We will likely have a chance for a final meal together
before heading out to the airport for our late evening
|15 Days Birding and Enjoying Wildlife in
Gambia and Senegal
|For more information or to sign up for one of our trips, call Charles at
888-203-7464 or Charles directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at