Best Bird Watching Sites In Gambia

Whether you want to target an iconic species like the Egyptian Plover or achieve a long bird list during your bird watching holiday, Gambia has lots to offer.  With a wide range of habitats, such as forest, wetlands, mangrove swamps and bush, Gambia offers birdwatchers a a staggering variety of African species augmented by Palearctic migrants visiting their winter home.

The Swiss Boutique Hotel is the ideal base for your bird watching holiday in the Gambia and below is a brief outline of the best birdwatching sites to visit for an amazingly rewarding Gambia bird watching experience.

Abuko Nature Reserve: A national park and reserve of remnant rain forest around a small pond that has good water levels all year. This is Gambia’s most visited tourist site and gives a feel of what much of the Gambia would have looked like before much of the forest was removed.

Bijilo Forest Park: A small reserve (also known as ‘the monkey park’) just by the Senegambia tourist area. The park has a varied selection of birds and is a great place for vervet and colobus monkeys.

Tanbi wetland complex: A coastal area on the Banjul peninsula, with mudflats, mangroves and scrub. A wide variety of water birds including herons, storks, gulls and terns can be seen from various vantage points.

Kotu: Kotu Bridge, Kotu Ponds and the Golf Course are all situated in the popular tourist area of Kotu. The area has a wide range of coastal habitats with subsequent wide variety of birds.

Tanji Bird Reserve: A narrow strip of land between the sea and the main southbound coastal road. Although small, around 300 species of birds have been recorded here in the coastal lagoons and wooded scrubland.

Kartong: Old sand mines at Kartong have provided a wildlife spectacular with a huge range of birds and other wildlife. At the southern end of the Gambian coast near the southern border with Senegal, this site is one of the best in the Gambia for variety.

Pirang Forest Park: An isolated remnant forest patch with many forest specialist birds to see. There are also nearby sites that add variety to a trip here with wetlands and river front habitats.

Niumi National Park /Jinack Island: The Park (including Jinack Island) is in the north-west corner of Gambia on the north bank and is contiguous with the Delta du Saloum National Park in Senegal. Sandy beaches, dunes, mangroves and savannah provide a wealth of wildlife.

Kiang West National Park: On the south bank about 100 km from the coast, this site is a substantial area of relatively unpopulated scrub, saltmarsh and mudflats, which are seasonally inundated by the river.

Bao Bolon Wetland Reserve: Lying on the north bank, this wetland provides spectacular views of wildlife and birds from boat trips along the bolongs (creeks) that feed into the Gambia River through mangrove and salt marshes.

Kaur wetlands: An area of shallow  freshwater  and  brackish  lakes bordered  with  extensive  swamp,  mudflats  and  rice cultivation. The lakes are on the north bank of the Gambia River, 150 km from the coast.

Islands in the Gambia River: The site consists of a number of small islands in the Gambia River, between Kaur and Janjanbureh, where the river is fresh water.  Riverine forest, thickets, and reedbeds provide great birds and hippos can be seen in the river.

Bansang quarry: Far up country, this old quarry provides a surprising variety of birds and wildlife as well as the red throated bee-eater colony it is renowned for.