Welcome to the smiling coast of The Gambia

Hello! Welcome. Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Ansuman Drammeh, also known as Best Boy. I am a professional birdwatching guide. I grew up with binoculars hanging from my neck and I have been guiding birders since year 2000. I am a member of the Bird Guides Association of Gambia as well as the Gambia Birdwatching Association. You can find me at the Lemon Creek resort near Serrekunda. If you like to make a reservation you can reach me at +220 6809110 or ansudrammeh10@yahoo.com.
You may find more info about me at my website.
You may find me on facebook as well: Birding in The Gambia with Ansuman Drammeh and on TripAdvisor.

I can arrange tours to any bird site in The Gambia and help you to find all the birds you wish to see. All trips include transport, entrance fees to the protected areas and Best Boy services. I can pick you up from your hotel at any time you wish and return to the same place at the end of the day. I speak English and Mandinka, so I can help you also to discuss with local people.

But why should you travel to The Gambia for bird watching vacation?

The Gambia provides a first class destination for any birdwatcher. From the European point of view, it has the advantage of being only a short flight away (about 5 hours). It has a very large bird list with over 550 species recorded. It is situated close to the northern limit of the tropical rain Forests and The Gambia is right in the middle of the narrow transitional zone between semi-desert and tropical rainForest. Consequently, the country's bird list includes species from both of these areas with the species to be seen varying with the onset of the rainy and dry seasons. In addition to the African endemic species, many European migrants either pass through The Gambia or spend the winter here, so it is easy to see why the bird list is so large. Because of the proximity of the rain Forest in the south and the desert in the north, there is always the chance of spotting something unusual that has overshot on migration, or on a food-finding tour.

The climate is very pleasant, although it can be perhaps a little bit hot inland in the period just before and just after the annual summer rains. However, for many, the big attraction about birding in The Gambia is the attitude of the local population that is friendly and for the most part, very helpful.

Sure, you can go birding in The Gambia on your own. But a good guide will be always a great help, especially if you are looking for a particular bird and you spend your valuable time searching for the best sites instead of birdwatching, which is after all, what you are thinking of visiting The Gambia for, isn't it?

I can offer you a two days trip to the village of Tendaba, several seven days bird watching round trips, one nine days trip, even a fourteen days trip and, of course, the following one day trips:


The 10 km long sandy bush track, which connects the Banjul Bassett road at Faraba Banta with Madina Ba-Seleti road at Faraba Banta, runs through wide variety of habitats including cultivated parkland savannah wood-look of the Finto Manereg Forest Park . The track is used only by the occasional Ox-cart and passes through an impressive peaceful and unspoiled area country side. It is also a marvelous place to see raptor a martial Eagle and perhaps a Brown snake eagle or Gabar goshawk like Kabafita. The Finto Manereg Forest Park is not officially open to visitors, but the bush track runs along the very edge for some distance. We have some chances of seeing a few scarce residents such as yellow white eye and black-faced Firefinch especially from November onwards. The whole stretch between here and the beginning of the Forest park is especially good for raptors. There are shady intervals along the track where stops can be made.


The Kartong Sad Mine is located just to the south of Boboi Beach Lodge. The sand mines have great future potential to attract birdwatchers from all over the world. After the sand is excavated holes are left which are filled-up naturally with rain and ground water. Over time vegetation has established itself around the edges of these huge artificially formed pools. As they are some of the only fresh water pools in the area a very rich avi-fauna has grown up around them. Along with the coastal scrub, which is also very rich in bird life, this area is rapidly becoming important for birdwatchers who wish to add new species to their life lists. The growing bird lists for this area include Greater painted-snipe, Black-tailed godwit, Black-winged stilt, Purple swamp hen, Black crake, Super-winged goose, Eurasian spoonbill, Sacred ibis, Tree pipit, and the Northern carmine bee-eater.


The main claim to fame of Pirang Forest National Park must be its flock of black crowned-cranes which regularly rest in mangroves beyond the village. Brown-necked parrots nest here about the nearest point to the coast where they are likely to be seen. The area also attracts a good variety of raptors. The scan-Gambia shrimp-farm occupies large area to the north-east the of the village. Up until now it has attracted a good number of birds. Apart from the extensive area of mangroves bordering the creek, there are rice fields, oil palms, and open areas with scattered acacias and other trees.
The variety of habitats makes as extended visit worthwhile. This are is especially good for Hirundines, with Red-remped swallow, Pied-winged swallow, Red-chested swallow, Mosque swallow, Wire-tailed swallow, all being regular visitors while Gull-billed and Terns often circle over the shrimp ponds. On the skyline beyond the shrimp farm, tall trees on the edge of a wooded area provide perches for raptors such as Osprey and Palm-nut vulture, while Flocks pink-back pelicans often circle in the sky overhead. The prominent tree which often provides a good view of Black crowned-cranes should be clearly visible from here and usually provides a roost for Black-headed herons as well while the fields to the right may reveal Chestnut-backed sparrow-lark, Crested lark, Plain-backed pipit, Cut-throat and Quail finch, especially after the crops have been cleared in December. The surrounding trees several species of species raptor including Stort-toed eagle, Dark chanting goshawk, Long-chested eagle, Lizard, Buzzard and Shikra, and many more to see.


Kiang West National Park is the foremost wildlife reserve in the Gambia. It is composed mainly of Guinea savannah and woodland and is an excellent place for hiking. The escarpment running through the park provides beautiful views. Kiang West boasts over 300 species of bird. Warthog, Bushbuck Guninea nation, Senegal bushbaby marsh mongoose roan antelope and manatees also Reid in the park. tour and available can stay at nearby. One outstanding feature is close to and overlooking the park is rich and varied but it takes some effort to see it. The most easily seen species are of course the birds.
In Total over 300 species Bird have been recorded within the area which is a pretty impressive total and Gambia Bird lest. Twenty two species of raptor here are few examples of the birds you many hope fully see Bateleur eagle, Brown snake Eagle, western banded snake, scimtabill, Red-winged pytiia, White-shouldered back tut, martial Eagle, Geen-winged pytilia, Wahiberg's eagle, Tawny eagle, and many more to see.


Kotu Creek is in reality a series of open sewage pits. The pits are separated from the road by about 50 meters of open woodland and can be reached along a sandy track. The range of birds seen at the pond is amazing and they will all allow you to get fairly close to them. Some of the species that can be seen here are Ruddy turnstone, Common redshank, Common ringed plover, Senegal thick-knee, Black-winged still, Whimbrel, Common greenshank, Marsh sandpiper spotted redshank, Common sandpiper, Wood sandpiper, Wire-tailed swallow, Pied-winged swallow, and many more to see.


Janjanbureh was formerly known as GeorgeTown and is located on a large island in the River Gambia. The island and surrounding area is perhaps the most popular place for birdwatchers to stay when they are travelling up country. Some of the species which may be encountered include Verreaux's eagle owl, Shining-blue kingfisher, White-faced scops owl, Spotted thick-knee, African scops owl, Western marsh harrier, African white-backed vulture, African fish eagle, Knob-billed duck, Haddada ibis, and Spur-winged goose.


Brufut Woodland has long been a favorite place for birdwatchers though it does tend to be ignored in a lot of birding literature. It is quite an open area of woodland where it is easy to observe birds and holds a good selection of birds including Verreaux' s eagle owl, African golden Oriole, Fanti saw-wing swallow, Cardinal woodpecker, Bearded barbet, Swallow-tailed bee-eater, Violet turaco, Klaas's cuckoo, Northern white-faced owl, Long-tailed nightjar, Yellow-throated leaflove, Yellow white-eye, Copper sunbird and many more to see.


Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve is the largest of the six protected areas in The Gambia covering approximately 220 square kilometres. Just west of Illiasa the Bao Bolong itself passes under the road. Here you can see a vast valley filled with salt marsh which is a haven for water and other birds. In Boa Bolong Wetland birds can see including Egyptian goose, African spoobill, Glossy ibis, Yellow-billed stork, Super-winged goose, Sacred ibis, African pygmy goose, African fish eagle, White-headed vulture, Mottled spinetail and Sahel paradise whydah and many more to see.


The Fajara golf course occupies an elevated position with a steep bank on the Bungalow Beat hotel. It is an area of well-established Gingered plums and taller trees which are particularly good for birds, including Pearl-spotted owlet, Green wood-hoopoe, Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Northern black flycatcher, African paradise flycatcher, Scarlet-chested sunbird, Yellow-crowned gonolek, Variable sunbird, Tawny-flanked prinia, Splendid sunbird as well as a variety of bee-eaters, Cattle egrets and Black-headed plovers as common on the fairways, and there are clumps and Rews of mixture of trees including palms which attract Hornbill, Woodpecker, Purple glossy starling while Palm swifts and Swallow-tailed bee-eaters many often be see circling above. There are good views of Kotu Creek from the South side, and the two areas can be combined in one birdwatching trip.


The Abuko Nature Reserve was established in 1968 as the Gambia first protected area to the country's plants and animals. The pools in the reserve hold a substantial population of Nile crocodiles and attract a wide variety of birds mammals and reptiles. The education center overlooks the pool and gives an interpretation of the ecology and natural history of the park.
Abuko is home to more than 270 species of birds, including the Green turaco, Kingfisher, Little greenbul and Red-belled paradise flycatcher. Mammals in the reserve include bushbuck Maxwells duiker, Gambian red legged sun squirrel and Crested porcupine. The park and sever species of snakes and visitors will also encounter colorful Butterflies and Dragonflies. The animal orphanage hosts spotted Hyenas, Baboons, Parrots turtles and three species of Monkeys.
There are also several photo hides along the trail which provide excellent conditions for spotting wildlife. However not all of the Reserve is gallery Forest and as you travel away from the banks of the stream the Forest gradually thins out as the ground becomes much drier eventually changing into Guinea savannah. Changing this habitat is not as rare as the gallery Forest it is still and excellent habitat for birds and other wildlife. Birds to be found here include Western bluebill, Giant kingfisher, Blue-spotted wood dove, Pygmy kingfisher, Yellowbill, Violet turaco, Green turaco, Ahanta francolin, Green hylia, Yellow breasted apalis, Green combec, Collared sunbird, Green-headed sunbird, Bristlebill, Buff-spotted woodpecker, Kaas's cuckoo, African cuckoo, African Goshawk and many more to see.


This is another famous birding site which has an amazing array of birds along its length and has provided many thousands of birders with new species for their life lest. These include African silverbill, Woodland kingfisher, Northern puffback, Northern black flycatcher, and Copper sunbird. Round to the left and soon joins another track which runs alongside a wet depression fringed by swamp date Palms and couple of fair-sized Acacias. A narrow path leads to the other side where an area of raised ground provides a convenient viewpoint. The depression and the scrub around provide an interesting and productive birding area with regular appearances of Bearded barbet, Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Grey woodpecker, Nightingale, Singing cisticola, Oriole warbler, Orange cheeked waxbill and Black-necked weaver. The site borders are an extensive area of Gingerbread Plum which lies between the cycle track and the sea and which is crossed by a network of paths which eventually lead to the back of the Palma Rima. The Woodland kingfisher and Little bee-eat Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Yellow-crowned gonolek, Black-crowned tchagra, Northern crombec, Northern black flycatcher and African silverbill are all commonly seen here while African Harrier-hawk and Lizard buzzard are the most likely raptors. Dusk brings a good chance of both especially near the dunes which fringe the shore.


The Tanji Bird Reserve is made up of the Tanji rivers tarry and the Bijilo islands. It is located a short dive away from the tourist development area making it a perfect day trip for nature important bird esting site for terns and gulls amd is home to more 250 species of birds including several European migrants and 34 types of raprors. Vistors to Tanji may also see the Western red colobus callithrix and Patas monkeys as well as Budhbuck porcupines and the rare Mediterranean monk seal.
On moonless nights from May to July Green sea turtles come to the island to dig nests for their eggs. The Tanji bird reserve established by professional ornithologist Clive Barlow consists largely of fairly open areas with stands of Gingerbread plum and other small trees and a wide variety of other habitats including Acacia, an area of young Rhun palms a shallow laker (which dries up rapidly after the end of the rainy season) and a sizable wooded area containing mature trees which harbor Violet turacos and other species. The Green Crombec is a species only recently added the to the Gambia list. At the main access point ignore the wide track off the right and follow a narrower path which leads down a steep slope between dense bushes and trees where African pygmg kingfisher, Sulphur- breasted bush shrikes and African, Golden oriole many sometimes be seen.
The path leads down to an area dotted with widely separated clumps of Ginger bresd plums and other small trees, where Swallow-tailed bee-eaters, Northern black-flycatchers and several species of Sunbird occur with the Kingfisher or a Black scimitarbill. A well-defined track edge of the mature wooded area which occupies a low ridge and is a haunt of Osprey and palm-nut vulture as well the magnificent Violet turaco with the bushes below may provide a Northern puffback or in the track continues through a small group of oil palms and winds its way toward a large and pictures qure boobob tree from which point it runs downhill towards sizeable opern.

TENDABA (2 days)

The village of Tendaba lies just about the border between the lower middle River regions. The surrounding area offers opportunity to see several species not found near to the coastal. The rice fields bordering the Gambia River west of the village usually have a good variety of water birds particularly early in the season while the area around the airfield holds Bruce's Green pigeon, Abyssionian Ground Hornbill and Yellow crowned bishop with African fish eagle possible anywhere in the area. The creeks on the opposite bank of the river are particularly interesting. Goiliath heroin is common and there are regular sightings of Blue flycatcher mouse, Brown sunbird and the Skulking and elusive African finfoot , while African swallow-tailed kit may sometimes be seen. The village is styled on the South bank of the river Gambia about 135 km from Serekunda, it lies at the end of a laterite road about 6km from the junction with the main highway at Kwinella.
This trip takes two days staying overnight at the Tendaba Bush Camp. If this is all the time you want to spend there, such trips are a convenient alternative to independent travel although several good birding sites on the way will be missed in places and restricts visibility, but after December the grass has open. At a fork in the path bear right towards the mangroves to reach the edge of the mud, which is much more open. At a fork in the mangroves, to reach the edge of mud, which is dry and firm even in October. There are good views across the river field to the high mangroves Forest beyond with good of Wolly-necked stork, Sacred ibis and Blue-breasted kingfisher as well as the Commoner and usually has several species of Sunbird, Warblers and Estrildine weavers, including Black-rumped waxbill, Bateleur eagle, Red-winged pytilia, Long-crested eagle, western marsh Harrier, Yellow-billed stork, Sarcred ibis, and many to more to see.
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One of this most expansive and accurate testimonies on the huge variety of birds that flock to the Gambia was authored by Clive Barlow and Tim Wacher, placing the country on the world map, but also earning the author and award for "the British book of the year" from British field Guide to Birds of the numbers and types the Gambia's abundance and diversity of bird life is ranked as one of coupled with the fact the country is one of the most accessible destinations on the continent, making it favorite for bird watchers.


I can offer you several seven days bird watching round trip as well. Here are the programs:

Trip #1: A seven days trip

Trip #2: A seven days itinerary for inland The Gambia
This itinerary has been designed to visit most of the key sites in Gambia with 3 overnights in coastal hotels and 3 overnights at inland lodges.

Trip #3: Staying in coastal hotels with one day trips
This itinerary has been designed for those who wish primarily to stay in coastal hotels and travel to sites that are accessible in a day trip. I have identified a number of well known birding locations which will give you access to a large species list. In addition we will visit other sites, that I have not named , which I have identified through my own research where birds more commonly seen farther inland may often be found.


Trip #4: A nine days roundtrip with overnights in camps


Trip #5: A fourteen days roundtrip with overnights in camps


This subject may be the ignition spark for a lively debate, but let's be honest: there really is no "best season for birds", it's good throughout the year. What varies between months, is where the birds are, what they are doing and what the weather is like to be and how this may impact on your ability to see birds. Bird guide, Ansuman Drammeh, will help you to get the most of your tour, year round.
Most people come to The Gambia to see birds between November and March, which may be more comfortable but offers only some of The Gambia’s potential ornithological experiences. Imagine only knowing Europe's birds between November and March? Plenty of Waterfowl, maybe some Waxwings and Starlings roosts, but no Warblers, no Swallows, no Nightingales, nor Cuckoos, no Dawn chorus. To best experience to see The Gambia's wonderful birdlife would require a series of trips during different seasons.
Below is a rough analysis of what The Gambia is like during a year.
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January to February
In the beginning of the year it starts to get much drier and there is an influx of Raptors. It's hot around midday, but very pleasant in the mornings and evenings when the birding is at its best.

The dry season has started, it's hotter and the best time to see Sandgrouse and Coursers. There are still plenty of Raptors and The Gambia River keeps things fresh along its banks.

April to mid-May
It's now very hot and dry, perhaps tough for us birders, but the 'water shortage' means that the birds are easy to find as they head for the diminishing water sources.

End-of-May to September
These are the months of the rainy season which equals the breeding season for many bird species. So they are singing, displaying in their full finery but it can be a bit tricky to find them. But don't worry, Ansuman Drammeh will show them to you!

This is already the post rainy season and it's becoming drier and less humid, but many of the bird species are still in their breeding plumage. Species such as the Weavers, Whydahs and Bishops can be spectacular.

End-of-October and November
Now it's getting drier and more comfortable. Good time for general birding and for the first of the migrants which have begun to arrive.

Good time for general birding and plenty of migrants around. And not just those from Europe, but from other parts of The Gambia and the African continent as well.