Tucked away on Africa’s west coast, the unassuming and tiny nation of the Gambia is one of the continent’s best-kept secrets. Flanking both banks of its mighty namesake river, it is located in a transition zone between the dry north and the humid south and hosts a surprising and wonderful array of bird life. It is ironically the rarity of large and dangerous mammals that make this a fantastic location for an immersion in Africa’s tropical bird life, for it is possible to walk along trails through various habitats in safety: farm fields and rice paddies; nut groves and woodland; and along sandy shorelines and marshes. One can also course along the ubiquitous mangroves that line the omnipresent River Gambia itself. The rewards are numerous in the fine assortment of birds, including various stunning kingfishers, herons, rollers, glossy starlings, sunbirds, and more – “eye candy” that speaks to the variety and beauty of African birdlife!
We’ll be visiting following the rainy season when the countryside is lush and resident bird breeding activities are at their peak. Starting in the Lower Country nearer the coast, we’ll progressively move upriver into the Middle Country and Upper Country. As we travel the length of the country, we’ll observe transitions in the habitats and watch for other wildlife from tiny mudskippers to various primates and huge Hippopotamus. Among many highlights will be opportunities to see and photograph the beautiful Egyptian Plover – nicknamed the “Crocodile Bird” from its supposed habit of cleaning out food morsels from crocodiles’ gums – in addition to a breeding colony of stunning Red-throated Bee-eaters.
This is an exploratory tour. Accommodations away from the coast will be more basic, but we are well-taken care of and the spirit of discovery prevails.
This tour covers a fantastic and easygoing introduction to African birds and this delightful country. Join Justin for a holiday that you won’t soon forget. We are also offering a post-tour extension to the neighbouring Senegal. Please enquire for more information.
Justin Peter is Quest Nature Tours' Director of Programs and senior naturalist. Justin was most recently the senior naturalist at Ontario’s world-renowned Algonquin Park, where he coordinated the park’s interpretive program and acted as lead howler for the celebrated Public Wolf Howl events.