The Gambia

Birdlife of The Gambia

10 nights from £2,199pp

Includes; accommodation, direct flights, transfers, most meals

Birdwatching in The Gambia

The Gambia provides some amazing opportunities for birdwatching. With over 600 species and everything in relatively close proximity, you don’t have to travel far to see some fascinating birdlife. This is one of the best birdwatching destinations in all of Africa!

Wherever you stay you will see an abundance of birdlife in and around the hotels. Below is a multi-centre holiday itinerary, featuring three of the best locations for birdwatching; Mandina Lodges, the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project Camp and Bakotu Hotel.

Jules Croucher

“As a keen birdwatcher myself and taught by the best … (my Dad!), I loved The Gambia. Everywhere you are surrounded by plentiful birdlife, from sea birds and waders of the estuaries to the colourful birds of the forests and river banks. The Gambia is also the perfect wintersun destination”

BBC presenter Chris Packham has long been a massive advocate for The Gambia, both as a holiday destination in its own right and a supreme birdwatcher’s paradise.

“The Gambia remains a top birding destination. Easily accessible, affordable and packed with a range of exciting species. It’s a great place to get an introduction to African birds or snap some super photographs. The guides are brilliant, the people are friendly, the hotels and food are good and the sun shines”

This itineary is available to book as a stand alone package or can be extended by adding a few days at either end in a hotel of your choice.

Please note that this is not a guided tour – it is an independent three centre holiday with transfers included. However, there are resident guides at both Mandina Lodges and the Chimpanzee Camp to enable you to appreciate the wide variety of birdlife in these areas.

This tour operates from the end of October to end of April.

  • Day 1: Fly from the UK and transfer to the award winning Mandina Lodges at Makasutu Forest. Half board.
  • Days 2-4: Relax in stunning accommodation and dip in the enormous pool as well as spending time exploring the forest and waterways with the help of your personal guide on included canoe/walking tours. There’s plenty of birdlife to enjoy and you’re sure to spot the troops of baboons who parade through the surrounding forest. You may choose to take an optional sunset cruise to fully appreciate the birdlife on offer, before dining al fresco.
  • Day 5: Enjoy a leisurely four to five-hour drive upcountry along a tarmac road, taking in the scenes of everyday Gambian village life. Arrive at the clifftop Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project Camp, located in the River Gambia National Park in time to enjoy a two hour boat trip to view the chimps who reside on Baboon Islands. The resident guides also have expert birding knowledge and sightings are plentiful. Dine in the riverside Waterhouse with fellow guests, listening to the sounds of nature. Full board
  • Day 6 : Take an early guided birdwatching walk or spend the day relaxing in the Waterhouse before a second afternoon river trip. As well as learning about the work that the project undertakes with the chimps, you’re likely to see hippos wallowing in the river, so binoculars are highly recommended.
  • Day 7: Transfer back to the coastal area to the resort of Kotu where you’ll be staying at the small and friendly Bakotu Hotel. Here you can enjoy some of the wonderful birdlife in and around the tropical gardens and nature walk beside Kotu stream, taking advantage of the hotel’s own birdwatching platform. B&B
  • Day 8: Embark on a half-day birdwatching tour with specialist bird guide Malick Suso or one of his personally trained team. Malick has over 20 years’ experience birdwatching in The Gambia and knows the terrain and where to look for the rarer species like no other.
  • Days 9-10: At leisure Bakotu Hotel to explore the area
  • Day 11: Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay in The Gambia.

Join Megan McCubbin on a guided birding tour – departures 21st and 24th January 2025

Following excellent feedback in January 2024, we’re delighted that celebrity wildlife TV presenter and photographer Megan McCubbin will once more be leading a small group of bird enthusiasts in 2025 for an exclusive tour of The Gambia’s birding hotspots. She grew up learning about wildlife and conservation, being taught by the best – her stepdad Chris Packham!

She will be assisted once more by our recommended guide Malick Suso who has accompanied Chris Packham previously and is an expert at spotting and identifying the wide variety of colourful bird life for which the destination is renowned. Visits to spots such as Lamin rice fields, Brufut Forest and Tanji creek will allow sitings of a wide variety of birdlife in their different natural habitats, and a river trip to visit the mangrove creeks is also included.

Based at the small and friendly Bakotu Hotel, with its bird deck overlooking Kotu Creek, we are offering a three-night and a four-night tour, each visiting different areas, which can be booked as part of a longer holiday. It is possible to combine these tours for a full week of birding with Megan.

Pink flamingo flying

“Huge thanks Jules for organising a wonderful trip, everything worked brilliantly. I have huge numbers of bird photos – 204 species is not bad for a week! Malik was amazing – it seems that everyone in The Gambia knows, likes and respects him!

Nick M

Let us begin the journey that will create memories to last a lifetime.