Home to over 600 species of bird, The Gambia offers a fantastic experience for birding enthusiasts. To make it easier to see some of the wonderful birdlife that The Gambia has to offer, we have put together one of our favourite itineraries – Birdlife of The Gambia - which 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's an independent triple-centre holiday with transfers included. However, there are resident guides at both Mandina Lodges and the Chimpanzee Camp who'll enable you to appreciate the wide variety of birdlife in these areas.
Day 1 | Half Board
Arrive from the UK or resort hotel and transfer to the award-winning Mandina Lodges at Makasutu Forest
Days 2-4 | Half Board
Relax in stunning accommodation and wallow 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 | Full Board
Enjoy a leisurely four to five-hour drive upcountry along a tarmac road, absorbing the scenes of everyday Gambian village life as you pass by. Arrive at the clifftop Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project Camp, located in the River Gambia National Park (the final approach is along a sandy, unmade track) in time to embark on 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.
Day 6 | Full Board
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.
Days 7-10 | Bed & Breakfast
You now continue 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.
Day 8 | Bed & Breakfast
Embark on a half-day birdwatching tour with Malick Suso, Chris Packham's preferred guide when he's in The Gambia. Malick Suso has over 20 years' experience birdwatching in The Gambia, and knows the terrain and where to look for the rare species like no other.
Head back to the UK or perhaps you'll choose to stay on for a few more days of relaxation in Bakotu Hotel or one of the other hotels in the area.
Prices based on two sharing a standard room on board basis stated, direct flights and transfers. Transfers between centres will be by air-conditioned vehicle (maximum six passengers). Upgraded lodges at Mandina, upgraded rooms at Bakotu and Star Class or other flight upgrades may be available at a supplement.
NB - the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project Camp is a working project and is closed to visitors Monday – Friday inclusive, therefore this triple-centre holiday is based on a Tuesday arrival. Please note that a good level of fitness is required to ascend the many steps at the camp and no children under 13 are accepted.