Our Special Tours.
North Senegal - Nguige Bird Sanctuary
The coastline of Senegal is very rich with birdlife, with its salt marshes, shallow waters areas and sandy beaches. Some areas are covered with open bushes and some gallery forest, whereas the Sahara desert has some open savannas (good for Denham's Bustard and all the Coursers) swampy areas with tall reeds, where we can see the Purple Swamp Hen, Allen's Gallinule, Pelicans in large numbers Geese. A trip to this sanctuary takes four days and three nights. Day 1:The first night we stay at a town after Dakar, the capital of Senegal. On the road to this town, we have many points to stop and see lots of rare species of birds like the Blue Rock Thrush, Chestnut-Bellied Starlings, Bronze-Tailed Glossy Starlings, and other warblers. Day 2:The following morning after breakfast, we have a short drive to the Nguige Bird Reserve, where we will arrive by lunchtime. You check-in into your room and then we have two hours of birding in the gallery forest which is good for the Passerine Migrants and winter visitors. Day 3:The following morning after breakfast we go for a boat trip around the island and a visit to the pelican's island where many waders breed. After lunch we drive back to Mburr past Dakar for our last night. Day 4:From there the following morning we drive back to Banjul and further to your hotel.
Senegal - Nyokolocoba Game Park.
You do not need a visa going to Senegal from the Gambia. As your guide, I will settle all the protocols and make all the arrangements 24 hours before departure.
- Day 1: I will come to pick you up from your hotel in the early morning and we will be driving the length of the Gambia to Basse. Taking a short-cut, we will cross the border 15 kilometres from Basse and we will reach the first town in Senegal. There we start in the open savannas, with a few scattered woods and some single tall trees, where it is hot from around mid-day to the late afternoon. In the few lakes and fresh water holes with tall reed beds, we will see many of the Rear Raptors, the visiting migrants like Gray's Malimbes, Egyptian Vultures, White Crowned Plovers, Orphean Warblers, Pel's Fishing Owl (at nest) and Great Reed Warblers.At this Senegalese town we will be spending our first night. Lunch will be at some restaurant on our way. Dinner will be romantic for we will be offered a choice of dishes on the menu.
- Day 2: After breakfast we immediately start birding on the way, arriving at the park in the late afternoon. We spend the night at Sementy Hotel, which is 30 km away from the Niokolo-Koloba Game Park. Depending on the energy you have left for the rest of the day, you can take a walk and enjoy birding in a small woodland in the vicinity of the hotel.
- Day 3: The following morning we set off for the Niokolo-Koloba Game Park which is a wooded area with bushes and savanna forest. You will see many bird species like the Blue-Naped Mousebird, the Singing Bush Lark, Capuchin Babblars, Lappet-Faced Vultures, Honey Buzzards, Red Tailed Buzzards and Ruppell's Griffon Vultures. In December the temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius, but in late April and May it goes up to 40°C.
- Day 4: After a second night at the Sementy Hotel we drive back to Georgetown in the Gambia, where you will stay for one night after a long journey.
- Day 5: The following morning a boat trip will be conducted for four hours. Then we will return to the camp for lunch, after which we start to drive back to our coastal hotels. The whole tour will take five days, spending four nights away from the coast.
Jinnaek is a group of four small islands, at the northern coastal border of the Gambia and Senegal. Two of these islands lie on the Gambia side and are commonly known for bird ringing. The first ringing centre has existed for many years. If you would enjoy to have an extraordinary experience during your holiday, this is the right place to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the real Gambia sandy beaches, together with the open deserted area of the Gambia and the total tranquillity of the natural Gambia.
There is a standard Gambia lodge called "the Jinnaek lodge", with real African and European cuisine. Most of this area is surrounded by coconut plant. The restaurant is overlooking the Atlantic ocean, where I conduct fishing trips (on safari basis) with the Experience Boat, during which you will be dolphin watching and bird watching. You will see most of the migratory birds such as Gannets, Skimmers, Sand -Plovers, Bustards, Warblers, etc.
The following morning we visit the village where we meet local families and visit the school.
To get there we leave your coastal hotel in the early morning at 7:00 am, we drive to Banjul to catch the ferry, and cross to Barra on the other side. From there it takes 45 minutes to reach the island. For this entire excursion you need to stay one or two nights in the area, in order to visit the world's most famous bird life reserve with over a hundred species of birds, to make a wild life trip to the Niumi National Park, and to cruise through the the marine protected delta area of Niumi Bolong. This is very rightly called the paradise island.
You can book the trip directly after your arrival to the Gambia, but you can also book before your arrival by email, so that we can meet the requirements of your reservations.
It is not possible to drive from your hotel at the coast directly to Basse in one day. It is always necessary to spend a night in Georgetown.
We drive from your coastal hotel to Georgetown.
After an early morning breakfast at Georgetown we set off at 7:30 am at the latest, making a few stops at water holes and woodlands and scrubby habitats. Bansang is one of the key places you cannot afford to miss. This is a sand mining pitch. There you will find the Red-Throated Bee-Eater breeding holes on the side wall of the sand pitch. Also the Red-necked Falcon, the Cinnamon-Breasted Bunting and larks are found here. From Bansang we continue birding, while we drive on a good tar marked road to Basse. We will arrive there at around 2:00 pm, and be assured that lunch is always arranged before you depart from Georgetown.
Our first stop at Basse will be at the ferry getty to admire the famous Egyptian Plover, which you cannot miss there, as the birds will all be running around among the crowd of people. You may also have a mob of school children around you, but I will make sure that they will not bother you and I will tell them to keep away from you. We will then proceed to the rice fields beyond the M.R.C. camp for the Carmine Bee-Eaters and Little Green Bee-Eaters, and for more raptors like the White-headed Vultures, Nubian Vultures and others. We stop at the nearby drink shops or restaurants for a couple of drinks, because the temperature sometimes rises up to 32 - 38°C. And then we start to driving back to Georgetown for your last night there.
Return journey from Georgetown to the coast.
The idea is to have park lunch for the long journey from the hotel to Georgetown, as there is only one town, called Farafenni, where you can buy picnic lunch. I always make my arrangements for the lunch well in advance, before departure. Day 1: Pick up from your coastal hotel in the early morning and cross from Banjul to the north bank. From there we will be driving approximately 275 km over a good road, stopping at points of interest like Dasilame before the bridge called "babillimamsa", which is a good spot to see Ant-Eater Chats, Red-Bill Quelea, Yellow-Crown Bishops and others. Then our next stop will be the Kaur wetlands for the Kentish Sand Plover, Kittlitz's Plover and White-crowned Plover, and that is also the first good place for Egyptian Plovers. From there we will proceed to Njau water hole and the surroundings for species like Sudan Golden Sparrow, Bustards, Green-winged Pytilias and Red-winged Pytilias, before heading to Nyangabantang with birding on our way. We might see interesting species like Paradise Whydah, Red-necked Buzzard, Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle and others. This area consists of open woodland and savannas, as the north of the Gambia is near to Senegal, which is closer to the Sahara. In November to February the temperature is pleasant at the degree of 25°C up to 28°C, and in March to April it rises to 30°C up to 32°C. Arriving at Wassu Stone Circle you will have the first chance of seeing the Carmine Bee-Eaters, Temminck's Coursers and more raptors. From there we drive towards the river Gambia at the crossing point to main island of Georgetown. The ferry takes five minutes to cross, and during waiting time for the ferry you can be seen the swamp flycatchers, Gabar Goshawk in the Melanistic form, Short Toed Eagle, Little Green Bee Eater, etc. We will reach the camp or lodge at round 5 to 6 pm, where you can go to yours rooms to fresh up, before we take an evening walk to the rice fields to see Sand Grouse, Nightjars, Bitterns, and most exciting of all: the Verreaux Eagle Owl doing his way of hunting at dusk.
We will then go back to lodge or camp, which serves a European favourite Gambian standard dinner and offers good accommodation.
Day 2: The following morning after breakfast we do the boat trip for at least 4 hours, during which you may expect to see many bird species like the famous Finfoot, the African Fish Eagle, the Long Crested Eagle, the shining Blue Kingfisher, etc. At the River Gambia National Park the hippos and the chimps will be the entertainers of your voyage. We will go back to the camp for lunch, after which we will start the journey back to the south bank, this time not by ferry, but over a bridge at the south crossing point of the main island. We will visit the Jahali rice fields for the Black Coucal, the Pygmy Goose and many other warblers, and we will pass by a place called Nyamina for the Crowned Cranes, and we might be lucky to see the Saddle Billed Storks. We will make another stop near a village called Fulla Bantang for the Marabou Storks at their rusting and breeding place. From there we will leisurely drive towards the coast, and we will be birding along the way. You have a choice to either stop at Tendaba for a night if you feel tired or go right away to the coastal hotel where you will arrive late in the evening.
Tendaba river camp.
Tendaba camp is located at approximately 150 km from your hotels up the river. It is a bungalow-village down by the riverside, close to the bush. They have 150 beds in the African bungalows, many with toilets and showers, which makes the stop-over comfortable. Going to Tendaba there are bars, restaurants and swimming pools, which means that there is no need to drive straight to our destination after the early morning take off from your coastal hotel. Heading to Tendaba, there are many birding points before you arrive.
The first stop is at Bam-Makuno Forest. Well after Faraba Bush Track, this place is a forest with tall trees and scrubby bushes surrounding the forest. It is a good place for most of the raptors and some of the woodland birds, e.g. martial eagles, snake eagle, goshawks, bustards, finches and more flycatchers, especially the black face fire finch, the Senegal batis and others..
As we proceed towards our destination the other stop is at Campanti for the Coursers (Temminck's Courser), Bustards like the black bellied bustard and the Senegal bustard, white Rumped seed-eater, Abyssinian ground hornbill, and brown necked parrots.
We carry on to Brumen Bridge where the highway crosses the first tributary to the main river Gambia. There is a good camp there, and I always arrange our lunch there in advance. While taking your time for lunch beside the river, you keep enjoying common Inland Terns, Kingfishers, White-back Vultures. You can be assured that you will see at least one rarity passing. After the break you proceed towards your final point for the night. On arrival, depending on the tide, you either do the boat trip or I take you for a walk around the camp. During the boat trip you may expect to see species like the blue flycatcher, the white throated bee-eater, the grey headed kingfisher, Pel's fishing owl, the woolly necked stork, the goliath heron, the short-toed eagle, the glossy and hadada ibis, the reed warbler, etc. Walking around the camp you will see Bruce's green pigeons, sandgrouses, red shouldered cuckoo shrikes, white shouldered black tits, etc.
In the late afternoon it is always good to make a visit to the Tendaba airport, as you can there enjoy the standard winged nightjar after having enjoyed pipits, larks, brown backed woodpeckers, fish eagles and ground hornbills, but you will also see animals like bush pigs, marsh mongooses and others.
Dinner at the camp in Tendaba is European standard.
The next day you will have a chance to visit the Kiang West National Park, which is one of the biggest among the seven parks of the Gambia. There you can see species like brown rumped buntings, siffling cisticolas, spotted thick knees, bateleurs, cream-coloured coursers, falcons, to name just a few.
From there we drive back to the camp for lunch and back to the coast.
Fathala Game Park
This park is situated on the northern coastal line, right on the edge of the Gambia and Senegal. It covers 200 hectares of land area, the habitats being coastal maritime forest, part of which is woodland and gallery forest. Early in the morning, many animals can be seen in this area: giraffes, five different kinds of monkeys (including the rare Mourner Monkey), giant antelopes, zebras, rhinos, buffaloes, as well as some rare birds species like the Chestnut Billied Starlings, the Western Blue Throat, the giant Bira, the Ostrich, and others.
We suggest that you spend a night at a standard hotel in the area. This will give you the opportunity to take a boat trip to the Sippoe Island. At this place you can meet typical local people who have been living there for many centuries and who still live with their own customary laws and ways of making life of their own. Their way of life is very different from the western neo-colonialist way of life.
But you can also make the trip in just one day by only visiting the game park. I pick you up at your coastal hotel at 7:00 am, crossing with the ferry from Banjul to Barra, from where it is a 35 minutes drive to a village called Karang, where we cross the border without any paper problems. Lunch is arranged at the camp after visiting the park. I can offer you a five to six hours day trip, from your coastal hotel and back.