Birding Tour in Gambia
This 8-day half-board Birdwatching Gambia Tour is moderately paced and available daily. Based at Farakunku Lodges near Tujereng on the unspoilt southern coast of Gambia, it includes six consecutive days of birding, airport transfers, half-board accommodation, guide fees, all transportation to and from the sites and all site fees. Guests only need to book their flight and pay for extra drinks and food.
It's possible to see 150-200 different species during this one-week tour which covers a variety of different habitats, including the Abuko Forest Reserve, Kotu ponds, Lamin rice fields, Darsilami wetlands and Marakissa forest. Our professional guides are all members of the Gambia Birdwatchers' Association and are experts on finding the best locations and opportunities to see rare species.
We like to make our day tours as varied as possible and our birdwatching Gambia trips are tailored to meet the needs of our guests, whether they are professional photographers, listers or just starting out. Guests can request stops where they want to spend a longer time for photography. For this tour, there will be no big groups, only single people, couples or groups of friends or family in one vehicle. The river trip at Kartong near the border with Senegal is one of the most memorable parts of the trip and, again, there is no sharing of space on the boat.
"This is now the second time we have been there. The lodges are clean, the staff is friendly and the food is great. The place is just so relaxing, and there is an art workshop if you want to give it a go. You can go anywhere you want if you ask. You can see real Africa outside the gates." - Dave
During this birdwatching Gambia tour, we make stops for lunch, either with a packed lunch or at a Gambian restaurant that is run by locals. All arrangements are confirmed by us with your guide. We live on the site, so we're always ready to help.
With the help of the guides, the itinerary of each day can be amended to take into account the weather, tides and other conditions to make it unique. Your personal guide will be happy to stay for a little longer at the end of each trip to verify species and share their expertise on the wildlife of the region.
We look forward to guests returning at the end of each day and telling us about their birding adventure before we serve them their evening meal. They can upload photos and record their trip while they are here, using our free WiFi.
Please note: All tours can be adapted to suit the needs of our guests. If you choose, at the time of booking, not to do all six days of birding, we reduce the cost accordingly. If you wish to stay at Farakunku on half-board accommodation only, you can book single days from the itinerary on an ad hoc basis for between £100 and £150 per trip, depending on the chosen site. New birdwatching locations are always being found and can be added to your itinerary by our guides.
Birdwatching Gambia Tour highlights include:
- Six consecutive days of birdwatching accompanied by expert guides from the Gambia Birdwatchers' Association
- Birding trips can be tailored to offer the best opportunities to see specific species
- Trips visit a wide variety of habitats, from ponds and wetlands to rice fields and forests
- Includes a river trip at Kartong on the border with Senegal
- Tour price includes airport transfers, half-board accommodation, guide fees, all transportation to and from the sites and all site fees
If you have a little more time to spend on your holiday, maybe you’d consider a longer trip like our Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour
Alternative Tour Name: Inclusive multi-day birdwatching tour of Gambia
Airport transportation when you arrive, and free time based on flight time.
In Abuko, you can see Palm Nut Vultures, Green and Violet Turaco, Western Bluebill and Grey Headed Bristlebill, as well as many other birds. Abuko Reserve makes for a good first day’s introduction to the country's birds.
Then we'll have lunch at Lamin Lodge, which is perched above the mangroves and right next to the River Gambia. Lavender Waxbills, Bronze Mannekin, Little Bee-eaters, Malachite Kingfishers, and Pearl Spotted Owlet are some of the birds you can see close up in the rice fields and vegetable gardens nearby.
Just 6 miles from Farakunku, the Tanje reserve is on the coast, next to a creek and in the savannah forest adjoining the coast. Species include Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, and Four banded Sandgrouse. There are many seabird species to see if you go further on to the beach.
After lunch and a rest back at Farakunku, it's only a short distance north to Brufut woods, where you can see the Long-tailed Nightjar hidden in the leaf litter. You should also see the Klass's cuckoo, the Greater and Lesser Honeyguide and Singing Cisticola.
About an hour away by car. Verreaux Eagle Owl, White-faced Scops Owl, African Paradise Flycatcher, and Green Turaco are just four of the more than 40 species of birds that can be found in Bonto Forest every day.
On to Farasutu Forest, which is owned and run by the people of Kuloro village. The habitats are made up of open savannah and dense coastal forest. Hammerkop, Wood Owl, Giant Kingfisher, and Buff Spotted Woodpecker are some of the many species that have been seen there. The Faraba Banta bush trail is a lot more open, and there are many raptors, like the Long-crested Eagle as well as Rollers, Stone partridges, White-spotted Flufftails, and Brown-necked parrots.
There are woods near Farakunku where you can see Hoopoe, Rose-ringed parakeet, Vieillots Barbet , Whinchat, Temminck's Courser, White-fronted Black chat, and many more. At Kotu Bridge, bird guides and birders gather to overlook the creek and the creek is filtered to make sure it's safe for fish and birds. The filtered sewage ponds are home to Greater Painted Snipes, Senegal Thick-knees, Common Redshanks, Black-winged Stilts delete 2nd name and Black-winged Stilts.
About an hour's drive from the market town of Brikama, you'll find the Wetlands. Birds you'll see there include the Marsh Harrier, the Black Crake, Beaudouin's Snake Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Rufus Crowned Roller, Western Reef Heron, Painted Snipe and Giant Kingfisher.
Many types of woodland birds can be seen while having lunch at Marakissa Forest Lodge. These include Northern Red Bishops, Shikras, Yellow-Throated Leafloves, Woodland Kingfishers, and Bearded Barbets, to name a few.
Kartong is a small town. You will be driven down the coast road to the far south of Gambia and the River Allehein border with Senegal. Abandoned and now flooded sand quarries make a home for a lot of different birds like Grey Kestrel, White-fronted Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits, and Caspian Terns.
A boat trip up the river, after lunch at a remote lodge, will pass by an island home for a pelican colony. You will also see African fish eagle, Goliath Heron, and a number of Kingfisher species.
Before you leave for the airport in Banjul, there is free time to enjoy the grounds and perhaps a local walk.
Some of the Wildlife Species expected to see:
Lavender Waxbills, Bronze Mannikin, Little Bee-eaters, Malachite Kingfishers, Pearl Spotted Owlet, Long-tailed Nightjar camouflaged, Klass’s cuckoo, Greater Lesser Honeyguides, Singing Cisticola, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Hammerkop, Wood Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Buff Spotted Woodpecker, Long-crested eagle, Rollers, Stone Partridge, White-spotted Flufftail, Brown-necked parrot, Greater Painted Snipe, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Kingfisher, Shikra, Lizard Buzzard, Grey Plover, Broad-billed Roller, Marsh Harrier, Black Crake, Osprey, Beaudouin’s Snake eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Lanner Falcon, Rufus Crowned Roller, Western Reef Heron, Painted Snipe, Giant Kingfisher, Northern Red Bishop, Shikra, Yellow Throated Leaflove, Bearded Barbet, Grey Kestrel, White-fronted Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Caspian tern, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Crested lark, Grey Headed Kingfisher, Crested Lark, African fish eagle, Goliath Heron, Cormorant, many types of Kingfishers and more..
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 tour
- Entrance fees to all National Parks, Nature Reserves, and/or use of Hides where applicable
- All meals on Half Board
- Use of wifi
- All activities as specified within the tour itinerary
- Lunch at a 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 trip/tour extensions where applicable
- 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
We 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.
14 and over.
Good free wifi at the lodges
Our staff is all local, we use local guides and we take guests to local restaurants, markets, and off-the-beaten-track places of interest.
Yes, we book it as an inclusive package.
Yes if you are reasonably fit and enjoy a small non-touristy environment.
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 sunscreen, 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.
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 Dave Gosney’s “Finding Birds in The Gambia” Birds of the Gambia and Senegal (Helm Field Guides) by Tim Wacher and Clive Barlow Bradt guide to The Gambia 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 hairdryers 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