Coastal Sites

This page gives details of site that are on the coast of Gambia.

The first protected park in The Gambia, Abuko Nature Reserve was founded in 1968 by an English man called Edward Brower.  It is about 17 km away from the main tourist resort.  The habitat is now one of the rarest in The Gambia and is extremely rich in biodiversity, with many of species of fungi, plants, trees, insects and invertebrates recorded.  The park is an ideal habitat for birds and a guided tour can include either full or half day birdwatching.

Some of the species that can be seen include Western Bluebill, Giant Kingfisher, Common Wattle-eye, Violet Turaco, Green Turaco, Ahanta Francolin, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, Green Hylia, Green Crombec, Yellow-breasted Apalis,  Pygmy Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Pied Hornbill,  Collared Sunbird, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Little Greenbul, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Purple Heron, Striated Heron, African Goshawk, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Black Crake, Painted Snipe, African Harrier Hawk, Northern Puffback, Bearded Barbet, Grey Heron, Black-necked Weaver, Green Wood Hoopoe, Hamerkop, Squacco Heron, Palm-nut Vulture, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Oriole Warbler and many more .

Four species of primate occur in the reserve:  Red Colobus Monkey, Callithrex Monkey, Patas Monkey and Senegal Bushbaby. Other mammals present include Senegal and Blotched Genets, Bush Buck, Maxwell’s Duiker, Gambian Sun Squirrel, Striped Ground Squirrel, Crested Porcupine, bats and a variety of rodents. 

Reptiles present include Nile and Dwarf Crocodile, Nile and Boscs Monitor Lizard, Ngama Lizard, various skinks and geckos, African Rock Python, Royal Puff Adder, Black-necked Cobra and Green Mamba.

The best season for birds is from November to May, with visit early morning or late afternoon being most rewarding as birds and animals will tend to shelter from the heat of the day.

This area is best visited when travelling to ‘up river’.

It is situated on the Trans-Gambia highway and is between the villages of Kafuta and Block, and is a good habitat for birds. 

Some of the species that can be seen include Black-faced Firefinch, Red-winged Warbler, Shining Cisticola, Yellow White-eye, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Pin-tailed Whydah, Senegal Batis, Brubru, White-shouldered Black Tit, Lanner Falcon, Common Kestrel, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Gaba Goshawk and many more.

Bijilo Forest Park is a small, managed reserve just by the Kololi/Kairaba/Senegambia complex.  

Has good varied selection of birds including Stone Partridge and White-cheeked Bee-eaters.

Situated at the eastern end of the west coast region, located between the villages of Bonto and Pirang, and about 45 minutes drive from the main tourist areas.  Bonto Forest is protected by the communities of Pirang and Bonto, and a small entrance fee is required. 

Some of the species which can be seen include African Wood Owl, Green Crombec, Green Hylia, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Little Greenbul, White-spotted Flufftail, Ahanta Francolin, Stone Partridge, Western Bluebill, Leaflove, African Goshawk, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Violet Turaco, Common Wattle-eye, Black-rumped Waxbill, and many more

This has long been a favourite birdwatching destination along the coast.  It is about 25 kilometres away from the main tourist areas.  The area comprises forest and open woodland, which both attract a lot of bird life.  There is a woodland bar where you can have refreshments, with all types of soft drink. 

Some of the species which can been seen here include Long-tailed Nightjar, Klaas’s Cuckoo, Northern White-faced Owl, Red-winged Warbler, Yellowbill, Splendid Sunbird, Green Turaco, Yellow White-eye, Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike, Cardinal Woodpecker, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Black Scimitarbill,Yellowbill, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird.

Bund Road has long been known as a birding hot spot with ornithologists worldwide.  The road is adjacent to a large expanse of tidal mud that is exposed at low tide and alive with birds.  Species include Caspian Tern, African Skimmer, Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed Stork, Black Egret, African Reed Warbler, Little Ringed Plover, Pied Avocet, gulls and many more.
Situated at the eastern part of the west coast region. This site is about 1 hours drive from the main tourist resort.  The area is open woodland and is well known for raptors around the coast, and many small birds. 

Some of the species likely to see there include Brown Snake Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Bateleur, African Hawk Eagle, Greyish Eagle Owl, Spotted Thick-knee, Brubru, Pygmy Sunbird, Senegal Batis, Northern Crombec, Rufous Cisticola, Brown-backed Woodpecker and many more.

Situated at the eastern part of the west coast region, about 10 minutes drive from the town of Brikama.  The area is comprised of dry woodland and forest, and the site has a small pool which retains its water the all year round. 

Some of the species that can be seen include Green-headed Sunbird, White-backed Night Heron, Lesser Honeyguide, Greyish Eagle Owl, African Wood Owl, Greater Honeyguide, Herons, Plovers, Egrets, Storks and many more.

Gunjur is a small coastal town in south-western Gambia. It is located in Kombo South District in the Western Division. In 2009, it has an estimated population of 17,520.

A popular place for birdwatchers to stay, a little way from Gunjur village, is Footsteps Eco-Lodge, which offers excellent birdwatching around the lodge grounds and gardens.  There is also a raised viewing platform that gives good views of the surrounding area, and a fresh water pool which draws in many species of birds.  An excellent place to stay, or just drop in for lunch.  There are many walks in this area that are very good for a variety of bird species.

The village of Kartong is the last border village between The Gambia and Senegal, and is located at the southern part of the west coast region, about 1 hours drive from the main tourist area.  Birdlife International has designated the Kartong coast and the Hallahin river as an Important Bird Area.  The site consists of a Bird Observatory and a diversity of habitat, including open woodland and swamp scrub.  It is described as one of the best birding sites in The Gambia. 

Some of the species seen here include Spoonbill, Carmine Bee-eater, Black Crake, Purple Swamphen, White-fronted Plover, Greater Painted-snipe, Thick-knee, Bishops, Cuckoos, Wryneck, Redshank, Baillon’s Crake, Audouin's Gull.   Over 350 species have been recorded to date.

Close to the main tourist area, a number of excellent sites here provide opportunities to visit a wide range of habitats, where you can see a variety of species.  Kotu bridge, rice fields, cycle tack, sewage ponds and the golf course.

Kotu Bridge and ponds are good for Thick-knees, Hamerkop, waders such as Marsh Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilt, herons, egrets, Pied Kingfisher, Speckled Pigeon.  Kotu ponds additionally often have White-faced Whistling Ducks and Little Grebe, African Jacana.

The golf course often has Black-headed Plover, Wood Hoopoe, small raptors.… etc.

lamin lodge

General Information

Lamin Lodge is one of many places where you may stay to take full advantage of the birds. You can also hire a boat on the creek to see a variety of birds.  This is a popular place to stop and have lunch at the restaurant built on the edge of the mangroves, overlooking the water.

Birds

Some of the species you may see at this site include, kingfishers, herons, terns, sunbirds, finches, kites, bee-eaters, rollers, and egrets.

makasutu forest

General Information

Located at the end of the town of Brikama.  This area covers 1000 acres of reserve and is one of the finest eco tourism areas in The Gambia.  It consists of different eco systems and habitats.  The site is home to many species of birds, animals and butterflies. 

Birds and Animals

Some of the animals that can be seen include Monitor Lizard, Nile Crocodile, monkeys, Baboon.  Birds include: Kingfishers, Starlings, Herons, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Sunbirds Kestrel, Hoopoe and many more

General Information

A small village located 15 kilometres from town of Brikama, and 6 kilometres from the border village of Darsilami.  The area has different habitats: woodland, rice fields, swamp scrub and pond.  Marakissa is a well known birdwatching site in The Gambia.  Marakissa River Camp is a very comfortable place with accommodation and a restaurant where you can have your lunch, or stay overnight.  The restaurant area is an excellent place to spend a couple of hours, where many bird species can be seen coming to the drinking water bowls.

Birds

Species which can be seen around the area include Spotted Honeyguide, Giant Kingfisher, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, African Scops Owl, Gabar Goshawk, White Helmet Shrike, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Greater Painted-snipe, Long-crested Eagle, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Pearl-spotted Owlet, African Green Pigeon and many more.

General Information

The Niumi National Park occupies the coastal strip of The Gambia north of the river. The park is approximately 4,940 ha (49.4 square km) in extent.  It constitutes one of the last untouched mangrove stands on the West African Coast north of the equator. 

Areas of Interest

Niumi National Park encompasses the island of Jinack which is separated from the mainland by the narrow Niji Bolon.  The area consists of coastal dune, woodlands, salt water marsh dominated by tamarisk and mangrove fringing the bolon. The mainland section of the park incorporates dry woodland and grassland savannah. 

Birds

Typical bird species to be seen include:  Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Grey-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Pomarine Skua, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, White-fronted Plover, Goliath Heron, Black-headed Heron, Purple Heron, Western Reef Heron, Striated Heron, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Stork, Osprey, Palm Nut Vulture, Harrier Hawk, Grey Kestrel, Senegal Thick-knee, Whimbrel, African Darter, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Village Indigobird, Yellow-billed Shrike, Little Weaver, doves, rollers, bee-eaters.

The shrimp pool is located about half a kilometre to the north east of the village of Pirang.  There is also a rice field, oil palms and open areas with a variety of trees.  This diverse habitat makes it a worthwhile place to visit.  Some of the species which can be seen include Black-crowned Crane, African Spoonbill, White-faced Whistling Duck, Plain-backed Pipit, Crested Lark, Little Stint, Dunlin, Curlew, Quail Finch, White throated Bee-eater etc.
The village of Tanji is about 25 minutes drive from Kotu resort area, and is the main fishing village in the country.  The reserve, adjacent to the village, is an officially protected area, just 6 square kilometres and encompasses a wide range of different habitat types from the beach, tidal lagoons, mangrove swamp coastal scrub and dry woodland.  Some of the species that can be found include, Royal Tern, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Sanderling, White-fronted Plover, Lesser-crested Tern, Grey-headed Gull, Kelp Gull, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike, Oriole Warbler, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, Yellow-crowned Gonolec, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird,  Osprey, Shikra and many more.
Located at the southern part of the west coast region, about 45 minutes drive from the main tourist area in The Gambia.  This site is open woodland and very attractive for bird life.  Some of the species which can be seen at this site include Brown-backed Woodpecker, Lanner Falcon, Striped Kingfisher, White-shouldered Black Tit, White-fronted Black Chat, Black-headed Plover, Senegal Batis, Brubru, Whistling Cisticola, Violet-backed Starling, Common Rock Thrush, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Vieillot’s Barbet, and many more.