Birdwatching places


Tendaba has been privileged to be geographically located just at the right place up river, being about 150 kilometers from Banjul. This makes it a center between Banjul and Georgetown.

Rooms at Tendaba range from basic to more luxurious with sea views and air conditioning.

Habitats at Tendaba range from the airfield to creeks, farm lands, savanna bush and includes Kiang West National Park. Two days may be needed to cover all habitats.

Target birds include – Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Bronze-winged Courser, Goliath Heron, Blue Flycatcher, African Finfoot, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Temminck’s Courser , Standard-winged Nightjar. More common birds can be seen as well. It may also be possible to see some animals such as Patas monkeys, troops of Guinea Baboons, Warthog, Antelope and others.


Georgetown, now renamed as Janjangbureh, is located on an island in the central river region and this is the second largest island in the Gambia after Banjul the capital. It is also the administrative headquarters of the central river region .There are various accommodations some of which are too basic but others are standard with VIP and air conditioning systems.The island is very important and has a rich history of slavery and today, probably, is the most popular place for bird watchers to stay when travelling up river. The area is very attractive for birds and we may see Shining-blue Kingfisher and it is almost certain that we will see the African Finfoot,  African Fish Eagle, European Turtle Dove Adamawa Turtle Dove, Hadada Ibis, Wilson’s Indigobird, Spotted Thick-knee, Crimson Seedcracker, and many more.


This is the largest of all the protected areas in the Gambia, approximately 222 square kilometers. It comprises open areas with scattered stumps and trees at the sides of the wetland. It is a nice place to have a stop whilst traveling on the north bank. There is a wide valley filled with salt marsh which is a good place for water birds and predatory birds.


Brufut woods has long been a good place for birding and convenient for the coastal hotels despite the land surrounding the wood being used for housing. The wood is now protected and is a good place for birds like, Long-tailed Nightjar (we will be as close as two meters as the bird is on the ground), and the White-faced Scops and Verreaux’s Eagle Owls, Yellow White-eye, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Lavender Waxbill, Orange- cheeked Waxbill, both Blue-spotted Wood and Black-billed Wood doves, Green Turaco, Shikra and many more.


This place used to be one of the best for birding around the coast but remains a good spot for birds. The road is slanted towards a large expanse of tidal mud that is subjected to low and high tides encouraging many birds like – African Skimmer, Great White Pelican, Caspian and Lesser Crested Terns, Pomarine, Arctic and Great Skuas, Green-headed Sunbird, Zitting Cisticola, Red-winged Warbler, Black-headed Gull and many more to see.


Calypso is a fresh water pool inhabited with crocodiles. The south eastern and eastern sides of this pool contain dense elephant grasses serving as a good place for Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Yellow-crowned, Black-winged and Northern Red Bishops, Red-chested Swallow and Tawny-flanked Prinia.

The cape creek is an area of salt marsh, mangroves with an open area of water with mud flats exposed at low tide. This attracts birds like Ringed, Little Ringed and Grey Plovers, Yellow-throated Longclaw, African Wattled Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Pied Avocet, Marsh Harrier, Lizard Buzzard, Dark Chanting Goshawk and  many more.


This national park is very big. It measures about 110 square kilometers and was gazetted in 1978. Hopefully most of the animals in The Gambia can be found in this park. Experts from Europe, for example Amstro, have come to this national park doing some research investigating the feasibility of  Lions, Giraffes and Rhinos being raised in this park. Due to the park’s size, guides are unable to cover all the park for clients. Bird life is fascinating and over half of the Gambian bird list has been recorded here with numerous numbers of raptors. Some of these birds seen here include – Four-banded Sandgrouse, Green-winged Pylilia, Red-winged Pylilia, White-headed Vulture, Helmet Guineafowl, African Hobby, Common Quail, Quail Plover, Bronze-winged and Temmincks Coursers, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, White-shouldered Black Tit, Green Wood-hoopoe, White Helmetshrike and many more.


This place remained unknown to most birders until recently when it was discovered harboring quality species of birds like African Wood  Owl, White-spotted Flufftail, Leaflove, Capuchin Babbler, Western Nicator. These birds were difficult to find until it was realized that they could be seen in Pirang Forest. This primary forest has become famous to the birders and is a well visited seasonally. Wardens look after this forest to prevent any abuse by local people. Other birds that may be seen are Green Hylia, Green Crombec, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Ahanta Francolin, Western Bluebill, White-faced Scops Owl and many others.


This swamp is on the north bank road and stretches from either side of the road on the way to Georgetown. It stretches down to the river Gambia.This fabulous habitat with reeds is a wonderful place and worth stopping at as the water remains throughout the year.Species seen here include Zebra Waxbill, Sudan Golden Sparrow, African Pigmy Goose, Speckle-fronted Weaver and many more.


This quarry has been expanded by local people digging rocks for construction and as a result some excellent birds have taken advantage to reside within the quarry. These include a colony of Red-throated Bee-eaters nesting, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah (in breeding plumage in the summer and early winter), Bush Petronia, Cinnamon-breasted Rock and Ortolan buntings.


A very famous and well known place for birders coming to the Gambia and also the first place on the itinerary in day one for most guides. For those of you coming to stay around Kotu, you can explore this place in your own time. This is a mix of habitats including the creek, rice fields, potato fields, sewage ponds, cycle track, and the lily pond (which has a photo hide) which usually contains Greater Painted-snipe.
You can also visit Fajara golf course which contains many birds. You will maximize what you see by using a qualified guide.

Kotu Bridge is a good spot to see, and photograph kingfishers. All these areas can be fitted into a full day. A half day to these places can reward you with a list of more than 100 different species. These may include Oriole Warbler, Giant Kingfisher, Blue-breasted, Malachite and the Common Pied Kingfishers, Greater Painted Snipe, Golden Oriole and many more.


This is located about 5 kilometers south of Brikama and not far from the border with Senegal. The camp is situated along the road alongside which the river meanders to the woodland. Within the camp itself are water pots and pools filled with water encouraging birds to visit the camp. Visiting birds are; all three Honeyguides in the region, Violet Turaco, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Giant and Blue-breasted Kingfishers, Purple Glossy, Greater Blue-eared and Lesser Blue-eared Starlings and many more. On the outside areas are woodland and part of this woodland is where White-breasted and Red-shouldered Cuckooshrikes are seen, also Violet-backed Starling, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, African Golden Oriole, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, and others. Raptors include- Western Banded Snake, Long-crested, African Hawk, and Short-toed Snake eagles, Lizard Buzzard, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Grasshopper Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.


Kantong is a village located at the extreme end of the country on the south coast. Here there are ponds produced by sand mining that took place in the area leaving the area with excavated holes, some of which contain water all year round. This leads to green vegetation in the form of reeds. On the other adjacent sites are rice fields which serve as a good place for seed eating birds as there is plenty of food for them. Being the only fresh water ponds in the area, a variety of rich avi-fauna has grown up around the ponds. Kartong ponds has become important for the  bird watching fraternity in recent years. It is a birding site which you cannot afford to miss on your itinerary. As a result, an Englishman called Colin has settled around the ponds doing bird ringing. Some of the common birds seen around the ponds have been ringed by Colin. For example, Spur-winged Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Hooded Vulture etc. Other birds you may encounter could be African Crake , White-fronted Plover, White-throated Bee-eater, Purple Swamphen, Knob-billed Duck, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Marsh Harrier, Short-toed Snake Eagle, African Spoonbill, Audouin’s Gull and many more.


This park is located on the extreme south eastern part of Senegal, bordering with Gambia and Guinea. In size it is very big and is almost the size of The Gambia. It measures about 9132 square kilometers with a very comfortable and undisturbed wildness and this makes it the best place for the remnants of the wild life in West Africa. It is the only such place left in Senegambia and has been designated as a world heritage site which has international importance for both wildlife and birdlife and has contributed, and still does, to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Senegal. It is a well visited park where tourists may look forward to seeing the big five mammals of the world and rarer birds. Some of these animals that you may see include– Lion, African Elephant, Rhino, Roan Antelopes, Giraffe, Leopard, Giant Eland, Defassa Waterbuck, and many more animals. All three species of African crocodile are found here as well as hippos which are very common. Over 355 species of birds are to be found here some of which are not found in The Gambia at certain times of the year, for example Egyptian Plover and White-headed Lapwing, Lesser Striped Swallow, Bat Hawk, and all year round, Saddle-billed Stork, African Pied Wagtail, Magpie Mannikin and many more.


This is a convenient coastal areas which is about 25 minutes’ drive from the Kotu area depending on traffic. The location of this area is very important as it is directly opposite the Gambia’s only offshore island lying about 1.7 kilometers from the coast. The habitat is very nice and suits the Palearctic migrants from Europe coming to winter in The Gambia. Some of these species seen here include; Little Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Kelp Gull, Stone Partridge, Violet Turaco, Crested Lark, Common Nightingale, Chiffchaff, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Quail-plover, Marsh Owl, Osprey, Pink-backed Pelican, Pomarine Skua and many more.


About some 387 kilometers from Banjul lies the last town of Gambia, Basse. It is the administrative headquarters in the up river region. It is very important birdwise during the last couple of months of the Tourist season when the Egyptian Plover will appear for the last time before moving to Senegal in Niokolo koba where they breed. It would also be worth visiting if you need to see the Carmine Bee-eater which might have been missed on the tour to Georgetown. Bar-breasted Firefinch may also be seen.


This rice field separates these two villages on either side of the Trans Gambia Highway. This is, perhaps, the best place for raptors in the Gambia. An English expert, author of The Birds of The Gambia and Senegal, recorded 36 different raptors. No bird guide has ever travelled up country without stopping at this place. Packed lunches are usually taken here when travelling up river or from Tendaba back to the coast. There are several ponds and pools which retain water year round attracting raptors like; Bateleur, Martial, Booted, Western Banded Snake,  Short-toed Snake, Wahlberg’s, Ayres’s Hawk, Brown Snake and Long-crested eagles, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Harrier Hawk. Pied-winged Swallow, Green-headed Sunbird and many more birds may be seen.