Extended Birdwatching, Butterflies and Dragonflies Tour in the Gambia
This 14-day Gambia Butterflies and Birds 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, 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.
The trip comprises six full days of birding arranged on alternate days, giving our guests free days to enjoy one of our butterfly and dragonfly day trips, visit further wildlife sites and places of interest, take part in arts and craft workshops or simply relax on the grounds. Our professional birdwatching guides are members of the Gambia Bird Watchers' Association and can advise on the ideal locations to observe and photograph rare species.
On this birds and butterflies Gambia tour, resident expert Allen Holmes is an ex-pat English lepidopterist with knowledge of the best local sites to find unusual butterflies, moths, dragonflies and other insects.
All of our day trips can be tailored to meet the specific needs of our guests whether they're professional photographers, listers or beginners, visiting a variety of different habitats including the Abuko Forest Reserve, Kotu ponds, Lamin rice fields, Darsilami wetlands and Marakissa forest. There are no big groups, only singles, couples or groups of friends or family in one vehicle. The Kartong river trip is one of the highlights and, again, there is no sharing of the boat space with other tour groups.
Each day can be amended with the help of our guides to take into account the weather, tides and other particular conditions. We make stops for lunch, either with a packed lunch or at a Gambian restaurant run by locals. We live on-site and are always ready to help with any problems.
"The lodges are beautiful and have a large, very comfortable bed and a small space for storage that can be locked separately. The food was well-prepared with fresh ingredients and interesting menus for the evening meal, which were different each time we went out to dinner. Everything was well-planned, from the transfers to the airport to the birding trips. Our guide had a lot of experience with the places and birds." - Mike L
On this birdwatching Gambia tour, your guide will be happy to stay for a little longer at the end of each day to check the species seen and discuss the region's wildlife. We like to make each day tour different, and we look forward to having guests back to tell us about their adventures before we serve them their evening meal. They can upload photos using our free WiFi while they are here.
In the grounds of Farakunku Lodges, we have a large purpose-built studio and art gallery where our guests can enjoy art and craft workshops. This varies from painting in watercolour, oils or acrylics on canvas, marbling techniques, card-making, mosaics, lino cuts, mono printing and acrylic pouring. Workshops normally last a full day with a lunch break. There are also optional local batik and tie-dye workshops that can be organised for guests.
Gambia Butterflies and Birds Tour highlights include:
- Six full days of birding activity in a variety of habitats with professional guides who are members of the Gambia Bird Watchers' Association
- Trips to observe butterflies, moths, dragonflies and other insects with expert resident lepidopterist Allen Holmes
- The chance to take part in local arts and crafts workshops and learn specific techniques
- Ample free time to relax on the grounds, lounge on the nearby beaches or visit other tourist sites
- All trips can be tailored to meet your specific needs or areas of particular interest
Please Note: The extra seven night’s accommodation on half-board is priced at £89 per night for two in a lodge and £76 per night for single occupancy. When added to the 6 day/7 night tour cost, this brings the total for the extended tour to £2043 for two or £1732 for single occupancy. Additional day trips, arts and craft workshops and butterfly/dragonfly tours are paid for separately when in the Gambia. Butterfly/dragonfly trips are £70 half-day and £100 full day for two people. Workshops from £25 to £28 per person.
If you’d prefer taking a longer tour, why not try our Bird Watching Gambia & Tendaba Camp Tour?
Alternative Tour Name: 14-day Birding and Butterflies Tour in Gambia
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.
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. 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.
The time before leaving and getting to the airport in Banjul.
Some of the Wildlife Species expected to see:
Birds: 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..
Butterflies and Insects: Azanus moriqua – Black bordered Babul Blue, Hypolimnas missippus missipus – Diadem male, Iolaus scintillan – Scintillating Sapphire , Junonia sophia sophia – Little Commodore, Brachythemis impartita – Banded Groundling, Chilades eleusis – Sky Blue Cupid, Hypolycaena philippus philippus – Common Hairstreak, Grammodes stolida – no common name, Ishnura senegalensis – Tropical Bluetail, Telchinia serena – Orange Acraea, Tramea limbata – Ferrugineous Glider, Trithemis annulata – Violet Dropwing
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
- 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
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.
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 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 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.
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 pin (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