Areas we visit
Established in 1993, Tanji River Bird Reserve (in the
area known locally as Karinti), together with Bijol Islands is situated
along the Atlantic Coast, in the Western Division, Kombo North, about 30
minutes drive from the tourist development area. It encompasses the
Tanji River and its estuary, incorporating mangrove, dry woodland and
coastal dune scrub woodland. It has a total area of 612ha (6.12 square
km). Along the seashore there a series of lagoons, and offshore at the
Bijol Islands which are an important site for breeding turtles and
Areas of Interest
Bald Cape is formed from a shallow reef of laterite
rock which extends to the north west reappearing at the Bijol Islands
1.5km offshore. The Cape is backed by a lagoon which runs south into a
broken chain as far as the village of Tanji. The lagoon system has
developed from a combination of the outflow of the Tanji River and
longshore drift accumulating sand deposits. It is a dynamic system and
significant changes can result from a single flood or storm. The Cape
and lagoons serve as a feeding and roosting grounds for a large
diversity of gulls, terns and waders.
The Tanji River rises near
Yundum Airport 14km to the east of Tanji. It is tidal for about 3km
inland where the banks are lined mainly with the stilt-rooted red
mangrove (Rhizophora Racemosa)
and backed by the smaller white mangrove (Avicennia Ntida) where the
land is flooded only during spring tides. Behind the mangrove fringe
there are salt flats, where the salinity is too high to support
vegetation with the exception of a few hardy plants such as the
succulent Sesuvium Portulastrum.
As the land rises to the east the saline intrusion diminishes and the
river takes on freshwater characteristics with water lilies and other
aquatic herbs choking the water course during the rainy season.
Habitat Type - Coastal Dune Scrub Woodland
Within the Tanji River
Bird Reserve there is a wide variety of habitat types including marine,
estuarine, freshwater, coastal scrub woodland and dry woodland savannah.
Coastal dune scrub woodland extends along the seaward strip of the
reserve to the west of the main road. The diversity in structure
reflects the past use of the area. The northern strip is denser and of
lower canopy height due to previous clearance. The southern strip is
more open with isolated mature trees due to long term grazing patterns.
Dune scrub-woodland is limited to areas of sand accumulation, conditions
which pose problems for moisture and nutrient availability. The dominant
species found are the ginger bread plum (Parinari
Macrophylla), the rhun palm (Borassus
Aethiopum) and the Baobab
The understorey is generally grass dominated with the feathery flowered
, the stiff leafed Sporobulus Spicatus
and the spiny fruited Cenchrus Biflorus.
Tanji River Bird Reserve was established primarily
for its ornithological importance which is evident from its current
species list which totals 259 species from 61 different families, making
it a paradise for birdwatchers. This large diversity of birds results
from the range of habitats present combined with the location of Tanji
on the coast of West Africa. For European migrants, Tanji is one of the
first stop offs and offers both a safe haven as well as good feeding
opportunities. The offshore Bijol Islands are used as a roosting site by
large numbers of gulls, terns, waders and pelicans, and the shallow
surrounding reef offers good feeding opportunities also. Thirty four
species of Raptor (birds of prey) have been recorded from the reserve
which reflects the abundance and diversity of prey.
An impressive range of terrestrial mammals also
occupy the area. They include Western Red Colobus, Callithrix Monkey and
Patas Monkey, Genet, Civet, Hyena, Porcupine and Bushbuck. The
surrounding waters are imporant feeding grounds for green turtle which
breed on both the mainland and on the Bijol Islands. The internationally
rare monk seal has also been seen there occasionally.
MADIYANA WATER WAYS
A mixed habitat of salt marshes, woodland, grassland,
gardens and waterways. The area is good with Rollers, Kingfishers, owls.
Abuko Nature Reserve is situated outside
the village of Lamin in the Kombo North District, 25 km from Banjul. The
Reserve has been protected as a water catchment area since 1916. It was
officially declared a Nature Reserve in 1968. In 1978 a further 29 ha.
were added to the original 105 ha. bringing it up to its current size of
134 ha. The Reserve is rectangular in shape, centred on the Lamin stream
which surfaces within the lower half of the Reserve.
The central portion of the reserve is composed of
ground-water or gallery forest which surrounds a chain of 3 pools. This
dense evergreen forest progressively gives way to Guinea Savannah the
further one moves away from the water course, which has a grass and herb
dominated understorey. Through the wet season (June to October) the
grass grows to almost 2m, but as the dry season progresses it dies back.
Within the extension to the reserve is grassland and orchard Savannah
much enjoyed by many Savannah bird species and mammals. Despite its
small area the reserve is also home to a wide diversity of mammals,
birds and invertebrates. This is due primarily to its variety of habitat
types coupled with the fact that the area was protected relatively
Areas of Interest
There is something to interest everyone in
Abuko Nature Reserve. It provides a good introduction to the flora,
fauna and avi-fauna of The Gambia. Its unique nature allows the visitor
to gain an insight into the biodiversity of The Gambia, both present and
past. The pools
in the Northeast end of the reserve hold a substantial population of
Nile crocodiles, and attract a wide variety of birds and mammals,
especially during the dry season. The pools also contain quite a variety
of fish species. The education centre
overlooks the crocodile pool and
offers a splendid view of the pool and its surroundings. The centre is a
two-storey structure which houses the environmental education programme.
Here school children are shown the importance of conserving their
environment through posters, displays and audio visual shows.
There are two
along the route which
overlook the upper section of the pools and provide excellent conditions
for photographing and observing the wide range of birds, mammals and
reptiles that utilise the pools and their surroundings. At the
the visitor gets the opportunity to view some
examples of Gambian wildlife up close (spotted hyena, bush buck,) as
well as lions, now extinct in The Gambia. The orphanage is also a
temporary home to animals and birds that had been held in captivity.
(The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management has an ongoing
programme of confiscating captive wild animals - the most common of
these are primates and parrots.) These animals are kept at the orphanage
until they are ready to be released back into their natural habitat.
Four species of primate occur in the
reserve; the red colobus, the green or vervet monkey, the red patas and
the bushbaby. Other mammals present include sitatunga, bush buck, Grimms
duiker, sun-squirrel, striped ground squirrel, crested and brush-tailed
porcupine, and a variety of rodents. Reptiles present include Nile and
dwarf Crocodile, Nile and Boscs monitor, agama lizard, various skinks
and geckos, python, puff adder, black-necked cobra and green mamba.
The best season for a visit is very much dependent
upon what aspect of nature the visitor is seeking. Vegetation in the
reserve is most lush in November/December, whereas fauna is better
viewed from February - May when vegetation is least concealing. The best
time of day to visit the reserve is either early morning or late
afternoon as animals tend to seek shelter from the midday sun.
Over 270 species of birds have been recorded from Abuko Nature Reserve
which reflects the value of this small area. The reserve contains an
intact pocket of gallery forest in which numerous forest dependent
species occur such as the green-crested touraco, little green bulbul and
the yellow-chested apalis. The milky (or Verreaux's) eagle-owl is also
resident and often heard calling in the late afternoon. The chain of
pools within the lower end of the reserve attract a tremendous variety
of bird life , from the white-spotted pygmy rail to African fish eagles.
An afternoon spent at the Education Centre or one of the photohides will
yield many good sightings.
At the south-western end of the reserve an extension
of 29 ha. added in 1978 has been appropriately labelled the extension
bird walk. The area is composed of Guinea savannah with open glades of
KOTU CREEK &
A mixed habitat of sewage ponds, Creeks, Grassland and
Swamps. The area is good for different species and it’s the area where
Little Grebe and different species of Waders do occur.
A mixed habitat of savanna, woodland, rice fields,
gardens, and waterways. The area is protected by West African Bird Study
Association (WABSA). The area is good for different species of birds and
it is the area where Red – Shouldered Cuckoo Shrike and White – breasted
Cuckoo Shrike is usually seen. The area has a river camp called
Marakissa River Camp where bird watchers often take their lunch and
enjoy the bird life over there.
This is a coastal forest which is protected by West
African Birds Study Association (WABSA). The area is good with Owls, and
other wood land species, the woodland has a bird hide where you can see
different species of birds.
Lots of wetland birds in the abandoned shrimp pondsThe
area comprises Ponds and is surrounded by Grassland, Swamps and
Mangroves. The area is good with different species of birds and it is
the area where Black Crowned Crane is usually seen.
This is a coastal forest and is protected by West
African Birds Study Association (WABSA). The area is good with Green
Crombec, Yellow – billed Coucal etc.
This is a habitat of wood lands and it is the famous
place for raptors in the Western region. It is the area where Martial
Eagle is usually seen.
This is a coastal forest which is protected by the
Forestry Department of the
and is very close to the Hotels. The area is really good for White –
throated Bee – eater, Cardinal Wood Pecker, Oriole Warbler etc.
This is a mixed habitat of Scattered Woods, Grassland
and Gardens. It is good for different wood land species. It is the area
you can usually see Pied – Winged Swallow, Striped Kingfisher etc.
This area is part of our capital city Banjul. The area comprises of Creeks and the
mouth of the Gambia River. During the
low tide of the river this is a very good habitat for Waders, Storks,
Pelicans etc. It is the area where Blue – cheeked Bee – eater, Great
Cormorant etc are usually seen.
This area is part of Bakau and the habitat comprises of
Creeks, Salt Marshes and the Rice fields. The area is good with Giant
Kingfisher, Blue–cheeked Bee–eater, Yellow Crowned Bishop etc.
This is a mixed habitat of woodland and coastal forest.
It is really good for certain woodland species in the Western region
such as Northern Brubru Shrike, White–shouldered Black Tit,
White–fronted Black Chat, Yellow Penduline tit, Grey–backed woodpecker
It is a mixed habitat of farmlands and coastal forest.
The area is good for Whinchat, Northern Wheatear and some times
Temminck’s Courser etc.
Is a Forest
Park which is good for certain woodland species
and sunbirds. It is the area where you normally see Senegal Batis,
Violet–backed sunbird, Scarlet–chested sunbird, Beautiful sunbirds etc.
FIELD & SALT MARSHES
It is a habitat of Rice Fields, Salt Marshes and Fresh
Water lakes. The area is good with raptors and it is one of the good
areas where you can see Bar–breasted Fire Finch.
WUROKANG CLEARED AGRICULTURAL LAND
This area consists of farmlands bordered by woodland on
the East. It is one of the good places for Temminck’s courser in the Gambia.
This is within the area of Tendaba and
the area comprises of Swamps, an open Salt Marshes, Rice fields and
woodland. The area is good with different species and Four–banded
Sandgrouse is usually seen at the area during the dusk if there is water
at the waterholes of the area.
TUNKU & KISI CREEKS
These are Creeks of Tendaba which are
really famous and good with birds in the Gambia. Almost all the birdwatchers
who visit Tendaba go to these Creeks. Different species of birds do
occur in these areas and there are the areas where Goliath Heron,
African Blue Flycatcher, Pell’s Fishing Owl, White–backed Night Heron,
Finfoot etc are usually seen.
The area of Kiang West National Park (KWNP) is approximately 11,000 ha.
(110 km2 ) and one of the most important reservoirs of wildlife in The
Gambia. KWNP is situated in Lower River Division in the Kiang West
District, 145 kms drive from Banjul. It was established as a national
park in 1987. Although the major part of the National Park is dry
deciduous woodland and guinea savannah, there are extensive stretches of
mangrove creeks and tidal flats. In the mangrove creeks, the West
African manatee and the Nile crocodile occur. In the mangrove fringes
and tidal flats the tracks of various animals such as the clawless
otter, marsh mongoose and Sitatunga are to be found. Kiang West National
Park has become a park of regional distinction possessing a most
impressive range of fauna and avifauna (about 300 bird species
checklisted to date) as well as a number of distinct biotopes. Kiang
West National Park is bounded to the north by the River Gambia and is
dissected into three areas by the Jarin, Jali and Nganingkoi Bolons.
Areas of Interest
in the extreme north-east of the park offers good access to the river
and is a convenient location from which to explore the escarpment to the
west. This laterite escarpment runs close to the river bank and marks
the extent of the river during past pluvial periods. Good viewing
conditions are to be had from this high ground, with opportunities to
observe warthog, bushbuck and occasionally sitatunga which forage along
the grassland fringing the saltpan below. A viewing shelter has been
erected overlooking a waterhole about 2 km to the west of Tubabkollon
Point, which attracts a wide diversity of animals as the dry season
progresses. Troops of baboons and colobus monkeys also move from the dry
woodland into the mangrove for roosting late in the evening. The upper
reaches of the Nganingkoi Bolon
on the eastern edge of the
park provide rich feeding for a variety of waders, and the opportunity
to see marsh mongoose as they pursue crabs and other invertebrates along
the mangrove fringe, at this point delineated by a belt of
This area is where most sightings of Roan antelope have been made in
recent years. Humpbacked dolphins are occasionally seen on the
and a patient observer at the junction of the bolons may be rewarded
with a sighting of a manatee or sitatunga crossing the bolon to Jali
All the major wild mammals known to be permanently resident in the
Gambia at the present time have been recorded in Kiang West National
Park, making it the foremost wildlife reserve in the country. The park
offers a significant national refuge for species such as caracal, serval,
bushbuck and common duiker which are all fairly widespread in The Gambia
but in low density. Roan antelope are not currently resident in the area,
though small groups visit the park from the Cassemance area of Senegal
during the end of the rainy season. As their home range is typically
80-100 km2 the park is probably inadequate to support this species year
round. Warthogs are abundant in the park and surrounding woodlands.
Spotted hyena are common; their tracks are found regularly throughout
the area but they are shy and rarely seen during daytime. There have
been occasional sightings of leopards in the area, though being shy and
elusive they are unlikely to be encountered.
Reptiles that occur include the Nile crocodile and
the African python, royal python, Nile monitor, sandsnake, spitting
cobra and puffadder. Chelonians are represented by the interesting
hinge-back tortoise found in the savannah woodlands, and the hinged or
mud terrapin which occur in the bolons (tributaries or creeks).
A survey carried out in July 1990 identified a total of 158 species from
48 different families occurring within the park. This number when
combined with 3 years of dry season observations has resulted in a total
bird count for the park of more than 250 species. The park area contains
12 species with a very local distribution and which are difficult to
observe elsewhere in The Gambia. The brown-necked parrot present in the
mangrove forests of the park where it breeds is an IUCN threatened
21 raptor species including vultures, harrier eagles,
hawks and falcons have been observed within the park boundaries. This
number increases during the dry season when migratory birds of prey
visit the country. Two eagle species, the martial eagle and the bataleur
are the West African avian equivalents of some of East Africa's big game
species. The Bataleur is more regularly and reliably seen, and is the
official symbol of Kiang West National Park. All ten species of
kingfisher found in the Gambia occur within the park boundaries.
This area comprises of Swamps and Rice
fields. It is really a good area for different species of birds
especially water birds. The area is good for Collared Pratincole,
African Pygmy Goose, Crakes, Raptors, Bar–breasted Fire Finch, Plovers
and Warblers etc.
FULLA – BANTANG
Is a village on the highway to Georgetown which is a breeding place for Marabout Storks in
This is a famous Wetland for different
species of water birds. It is the area where Black Egret is usually
NYANGA BANTANG WETLANDS
These are famous wetlands where you
can see different species of waterbirds. It is really good for lesser
and common Moorhen and it is the most popular place for Egyptian Plover
in the Gambia
Is also a very famous and good wetland
where you can see different species of water birds. It is one of the
best places for Purple Swamp Hen in the Gambia.
Is also a very famous wetland and
really good with birds especially in the month of October, November and
December. It is also good with Egyptian Plover if there is enough water
but they move if the water starts to reduce.
Is the breeding ground for the
Red–throated Bee–eaters in the
Gambia. It is also a good place for
Cinnamon – breasted Bunting and other species as well.
Basse comprises of different areas of
Bird watching such as Basse Rice Fields and Swamps, Basse Quarry and Chanmoi Bridge. These areas are good with
different species of birds. The areas are some times good with
Red–Throated Bee–eater, Cinnamon breasted Bunting, Brown-rumped Bunting,
Carmine Bee–eaters, Larks and Pipits etc.
Northern Carmine bee-eater