Go Birdwatching in The Gambia with Chris Packham

May 17, 2018

The Ultimate Birdwatching Trip to
The Gambia with Chris Packham in February 2019

Chris Packham has been leading birdwatching tours to The Gambia for The Gambia Experience for many years now, along with his preferred local guide, Malick Suso, and is a massive advocate for this small, welcoming country, both as a holiday destination in its own right and as a supreme birdwatcher’s paradise.

In Chris’s own words:

“The Gambia remains a top birding destination with 170 species regularly seen in three leisurely days birding on the coast alone, and four hundred more waiting to be discovered further afield. Exotic species such as Rollers, Kingfishers and Bee eaters are spangled spectacles whilst the dynamic array of raptors is truly impressive. Easily accessible, affordable and packed with such a range of exciting species, The Gambia’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. That’s why I go back for more every year!

Bakotu Hotel – the base for my first tour – is my second home. Small, quiet, friendly, with good restaurants in and around, it also has lovely gardens which are full of bird and mammal life so it’s the perfect place to stay and connect with The Gambia’s wonderful wildlife.

Then onto Mandina which offers something completely different – it is simply beautiful, a patch of heaven on earth, tranquil, lush, peaceful and full of fabulous wildlife, and the stunning lodges are just perfect. Watching the egrets and herons arrive back at their roost as the sun sets serenely over the mangroves whilst sipping a cold beer is the best evening of my year – this place is simply awesome.

I hope you will choose to join me in The Gambia.”

Excellent opportunities for bird sightings

With the option of a 3-day trip in the coastal resort of Kotu, you will visit various habitats for the best chance of seeing the widest range of birds. The options for excellent bird sightings are endless, there are far too many species to mention but include, for example, walking tours of Kotu stream where you’ll see all kinds of waders and kingfishers and, if you’re lucky, the elusive bittern; Lamin Rice Fields for the Pearl Spotted Owlet and the Black Crake; Brufut Forest for the Verraux’s Eagle Owl and the Long-tailed Nightjar; Tujereng for the Dark Chanting Goshawk and the Yellow-billed Oxpecker. You’ll also enjoy a boat trip, enabling you to see water birds such as the Goliath Heron, Osprey and Sandpiper as well as the added bonus of an occasional dolphin. This tour departs on 15th February 2019 and can be combined with a stay at the Bakotu Hotel in Kotu.

Chris then moves on to the magnificent Mandina Lodges at Makasutu Forest, offering barefoot luxury and the opportunity to explore the forest and river in order to discover the abundance of birdlife and wildlife that they harbour. A 3-night stay on half board with birding activities both on foot and by boat in and around Mandina Lodges is available to book from 19th February 2019. A 4-night stay and tour, including 3 full days of birding with excursions outside of Mandina for a further opportunity to spot differing species, commences on 22nd February 2019.

With a maximum of 17 people on each trip there will be plenty of opportunity to learn from Chris’s extensive knowledge of wildlife as well as photography. It is possible to book any of these tours as a stand-alone option or they can be combined for a chance to witness a wider range of species.

For more details and to book, contact The Gambia Experience on 01489 866 939 or visit Gambia.co.uk/ChrisPackham