Birding Tour in the Gambia and Tendaba Camp
This 14-day Bird Watching Gambia and Tendaba Camp Tour is moderately paced and available daily. Based at Farakunku Lodges near Tujereng on the unspoilt southern coast of Gambia, it includes airport transfers, half-board accommodation at Farakunku, full board accommodation at Tendaba Camp, guide payments, transport to all sites, site fees and all boat trips. Guests only need to arrange their flight and pay for any additional drinks and food. Free days allow for other activities or pure relaxation.
On this bird watching Gambia tour, you can expect to see up to 250 bird species over a two-week stay, which covers a variety of different habitats, including the Abuko Forest Reserve, Kotu ponds, Lamin rice fields, Darsilami wetlands and Marakissa forest. Guests are driven to the best sites by professional guides, who are all members of the Gambia Bird Watcher Association and are experts on finding the best locations and opportunities to see rare species. This means no big groups, only singles, couples, or friends and family in one vehicle.
Birding trips can be tailored to meet your specific requirements, whether they are professional photographers, listers or simply beginners. New sites are constantly being discovered and added to out itinerary on the recommendation of our guides.
"The people at Farakunku work together to make sure you have a great time. They make sure that everything you need is met. Heather and Moses also made it possible for us to stay up river at Tendaba. We had so much fun on our trip that we're going back with a friend in January." - Jane S
With the help of your guide, each day trip can be amended to take account of weather, tides and any unique events. We build in lunch stops with a packed lunch or at locally run Gambian restaurants to support the local economy. Your guide will be happy to stay for a while at the end of each day to verify species and share their expertise on the local wildlife.
The river trips at Kartong and at Tendaba are highlights and, again, are unique to the guests with no sharing of boat space. Tendaba is a basic camp with few luxuries but is set in a wonderful riverside location close to Kiang West National Park. We place the two nights spent at Tendaba in the middle of your 14-day stay so that you can return to the comforts at Farakunku. Your lodge stays cleaned and locked awaiting your return so that you can leave most of your luggage there and only need to travel light.
We live on the site, so we're always ready to help. We look forward to welcoming guests back to hear about their adventures before personally serving your evening meal. You can upload photos and record your tour using our free WiFi during your stay.
Bird Watching Gambia and Tendaba Camp Tour highlights include:
- The opportunity to see up to 250 bird species accompanied by expert guides from the Gambia Birdwatchers' Association
- Two nights at the riverside Tendaba Camp close to Kiang West National Park
- Excursions to a wide variety of habitats, from ponds and wetlands to rice fields and forests
- A river trip at Kartong on the border with Senegal and boat trips at Tendaba Camp
- Tour price includes airport transfers, half-board accommodation at Farakunku, full board accommodation at Tendaba Camp, guide fees, all transportation to and from sites, all site fees and boat trips
Please Note: On the remaining free days at Farakunku, guests can book an extra single day’s birding on an ad hoc basis from £100-£150 per day depending on the chosen site. Prices for these are indicated in our handbook in each lodge or a price list can be sent for these short trips on request via our website www.farakunku.com once the tour has been booked.
If you’d like to try an alternative tour, look at what this Birdwatching Gambia Tour has to offer.
Alternative Tour Name: Multi-day Gambia Birdwatching Tour including Tendaba Camp
Airport transfer on arrival and free time depending on flight timing.
Relax, acclimatise and explore the ecolodge’s grounds and surrounding area, enjoying the beauty of nature.
Abuko is a small protected forest reserve where you will see Palm Nut Vultures, Green and Violet Turaco, Western Bluebill, Grey-headed Bristlebill amongst many others. Abuko is a good introduction to Gambia birds on the first day followed by lunch at the famous Lamin Lodge situated over the mangroves on the edge of the River Gambia.
The rice fields and vegetable gardens nearby provide close views including Lavender Waxbills, Bronze Mannikin, Little Bee-eaters, Malachite Kingfishers, and Pearl Spotted Owlet.
The Tanje reserve is just 6 miles from Farakunku on the coast with a creek and savannah forest. Guests have recorded Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Scarlet-chested, Beautiful and Variable sunbirds, Four -banded Sand grouse, and Common Greenshank, as well as many seabirds if they opt to venture to the beach.
Brufut woods, just a short distance further north, will give the chance to see the Long-tailed Nightjar camouflaged in the leaf litter, as well as Klass’s cuckoo, Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, Singing Cisticola, and Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike.
Located at the eastern part of the West Coast region, approximately 1-hour drive from Farakunku. Verreaux Eagle Owl, White-faced Scops Owl, African Paradise Flycatcher, and Green Turaco are just 4 of 40+ species regularly seen at Bonto Forest. Onwards to Farasutu Forest, this is owned and managed by the community of Kuloro village.
The habitats comprise open savannah and dense coastal forest. Of the 40+ species seen there, Hammerkop, Wood Owl, Giant Kingfisher, and Buff Spotted Woodpecker are seen. The Faraba Banta bush track is more open with many raptors such as the Long-crested eagle as well as Rollers, Stone partridge, White-spotted Flufftail, and Brown-necked parrot.
With birding at 3 new sites en route, an evening boat cruise into the mangrove creeks followed by the evening meal.
Early Morning Boat Cruise and Birding in National Park. Lunch and evening meals included. Spend 2nd night at Tendaba.
Morning’s Birding on Foot, lunch, then depart from Tendaba stopping at more birding sites en-route. Arrive Farakunku late afternoon.
Tujereng woods are a walk away from Farakunku where you will see Hoopoe, Rose-ringed parakeet, Vieillots Barbet, Whinchat, Temminck’s Courser, White-fronted Black chat, and many more. A drive to Kotu takes you to the creek and bridge were many guides gather to meet birders.
The ponds are filtered sewage ponds attracting Greater Painted Snipe, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, and the creek will profer Pied Kingfisher, Shikra, Lizard Buzzard, Grey Plover, and Broad-billed Roller.
The Wetlands are approximately an hour’s drive via the market town of Brikama, birds are seen include Marsh Harrier, Black Crake, Osprey, Beaudouin’s Snake eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Lanner Falcon, Rufus Crowned Roller, Western Reef Heron, Painted Snipe, and Giant Kingfisher.
Lunch at Marakissa Forest Lodge allows guests to enjoy watching birds drinking from the pools in front of the restaurant and then to wander to see many species of woodland birds including Northern Red Bishop, Shikra, Yellow Throated Leaflove, Woodland Kingfisher, and Bearded Barbet.
A rural drive down the coast road to the far South of the Gambia and the River Allehein border with S Senegal takes you to Kartong. The abandoned sand mines have created a habitat for, Grey Kestrel, White-fronted Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Caspian tern, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Crested lark, Grey Headed Kingfisher, Crested Lark, and many more.
After lunch beside the river at a remote lodge, the boat trip upriver will take you past an island inhabited by a colony of Pelicans, and you will see African fish eagle, Goliath Heron and Cormorant as well as a variety of Kingfishers.
Free time prior to departure and transfer to Banjul airport (transfers included).
Some of the wildlife species expected to see:
This gives guests the opportunity to see many more bird species in new habitats as well as the chance to spot crocodiles, bush pigs, monkeys, baboons, bush buck, snakes, and other small mammals.
On this tour, a further 50 new bird species could be added to your list, including Pel’s Fishing Owl, Tiger Heron, Little Bittern, African Blue Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher, Lead coloured flycatcher, White-shouldered Black-tit (uncommon and difficult to see), Brown-backed, Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Black Scimitarbill, Rufous Rumped Swallow (rainy season only), Great-spotted Cuckoo, African hobby, Eurasian Hobby, Fox kestrel, Eurasian Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Red-necked Buzzard
These are rarely observed species in the Tendaba area: Sea cow, Sitantunjan, Red-flanked Duiker, Banded mongoose, Marsh mongoose, African clawless Otter
What is included?
- All accommodation or lodgings based on double occupancy
- Single occupancy available for a lower sum
- Professional Gambian English-speaking guide and support staff
- Local transfers and all ground transport throughout the trip/tour
- Entrance fees to all National Parks, Nature Reserves and/or use of Hides where applicable
- All meals on Half Board at Farakunku, Full board at Tendaba
- Use of free Wifi
- All activities as specified within the tour itinerary
- Lunch at riverside restaurant in Kartong
- All Applicable Taxes
What is not included?
- All flights
- Visa Fees (if applicable)
- Travel & medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation)
- Airport entry/departure taxes or visa fees
- Items of personal nature (incl. binoculars and telescopes)
- Excess baggage charges
- Laundry & telephone Charges
- Optional additional day trips
- Tips & gratuities
- Alcoholic beverages, water and bottled drinks
- Snacks throughout the trip/tour (except Kartong trip)
- Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"
At Farakunku, we are fully operational and look forward to seeing you this winter/spring. Our rustic eco-lodges with four-poster beds are spacious, airy, and well-ventilated, with seating both inside and on private terraces. We provide an all-inclusive birding package as well as wonderful guided birding holidays. Our exclusive tree and bird sanctuary is ideal for a rural birding retreat. We can provide a terrific Gambian holiday experience with our friendly personal service and excellent meals in our outside, open-sided restaurant.
Deluxe ecolodge with 100% solar, Vehicles 4x4 for rough tracks
Vehicle and boat
Minimum of 1 max 4
W charge less for a single occupant
No..any more than 2 people need to book a separate lodge
Breakfast and Evening meal for this half board package
Between Mid November (after the rainy season) up to the end of March when it is dry.
Able to walk all day (with rest stops) and in the heat.
Good free Wifi at the lodges
Our staff are all local, we use local guides and we take guests to local restaurants, markets and off the beaten track places of interest. We have a children’s charity Farakunku Foundation, which sponsors school age children helping them with school fees, uniform, shoes and books
Yes, we book it as an inclusive package.
Yes if you are reasonably fit, enjoy a small non-touristy environment and can cope with lower accommodation standards when staying upriver.
No, unless over 14 and interested in birding/wildlife
50% deposit at the time of booking and the balance 2 weeks prior to arrival
Let us know and we will do our best to rearrange at no extra cost.
We will refund the deposit only if you cancel due to proven medical reasons and before 2 weeks before your planned arrival but we will not refund due to a change of mind. In this case it would be non-refundable The balance is due 2 weeks before arrival and will also be refunded only if due to proven medical reasons.
If the client is paying through Blue Sky Wildlife we can offer this benefit Alternative method of payment and customer protection subject to agreement with Blue Sky Wildlife
Strong shoes/walking boots, long trousers to avoid tics and scratches when walking in long grass, hat/cap, light walking sandals around the accommodation. Insect repellent and sun screen, your own malaria tablets, a light backpack. Cool cotton casual clothes
Only water, you will be eating at local restaurants or provided with a packed lunch on the Bonto, Faraba Banta day trip and on the way to Tendaba.
Yes … we need advance notice and can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets as well as allergy foods which will be avoided.
Please bring sterling in cash which we can change into local currency for you to use when out and about. We are not able to take credit cards but a final bar bill can be settled by BACS payment if cash is a problem.
Bradt guide to The Gambia and Senegal Birds of the Gambia and Senegal by Tim Wacher and Clive Barlow (Helm books) -Dave Gosney’s “Finding Birds in The Gambia”
There are charging points in the restaurant for 3 pins (English style) plugs. There are no sockets in the lodges so no hair-driers or straighteners please as any item using heat will drain the solar supply to your lodge. Some guests bring a short extension lead in order to charge multiple items For further FAQs please see www.farakunku.com website