Birding along The Gambia River

Birding along the river gambia

Bird-watching in The Gambia is an unforgettable experience, with a huge variety of habitats and species crammed into a small area. Birding on the River Gambia with FairPlay offers a unique chance to experience the full range of what can be found in the inland areas, both on and off the River.

Below is the full itinerary for Upriver Gambia, a six day, Bintang to Bansang Birding Bonanza trip to give you an idea of what we can offer. Contact us to discuss alternative options.

  • Private charter. Max 4 guests
  • Wake up in nature. Beautiful, unique accommodation onboard for up to 4 people
  • Top birding guide (or bring your guide)
  • Visit the best up-country birding sites both on the river & off
  • Friendly, professional, trained and licensed crew
  • Flexible trips depending on your available time and budget
  • Come with us as we explore new places that no one visits
  • Environmentally and socially conscious company
  • A river cruise through the best of Gambia’s nature. Chimps, hippos, baboons and much more
  • Birding along the river Gambia
  • Western Reef Heron
  • Green-backed Heron
  • African Spoonbill and Sacred Ibis Gambia River
  • African Green Pigeon Gambia River
  • African Finfoot Gambia river
  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill River Gambia
  • Blue-breasted kingfisher
  • Yellow Throated Leaf-Love
  • Red Throated Bee-eaters at Bansang beautiful pair of Red Throated Bee-eaters | photo by Jan Erik Roer
  • Birding on The Gambia River

Experienced bird guides

Our Guide (If you know a birding guide from previous visits, we are happy to work with him or her if you prefer!)

Bax Birdguide
Bakary ( Bax ) Manneh

.. has 20 years of experience at the top level of birding in The Gambia, having trained and worked at the Department of Parks and Wildlife. He is a senior guide and committee member of the Gambia Birdwatchers Association. Born and raised in the Central River Region, he has extensive knowledge of inland birding sites

Bintang to Bansang Birding Bonanza

Long-tailed Nightjar

Pick up from your hotel at 6.30 and drive to Pirang for birding at the shrimp farm and Pirang Forest. From there continue on to nearby Bonto Forest and Farasutu. Drive on to the village of Bintang, where you will have lunch on board the Fula Princess before evening birding around Bintang. Sleep on board around Bintang.

Target Species at Pirang Shrimp Farm: African Sacred Ibis, Wooley-necked Stork, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Brown Snake Eagle, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-breasted Swallow, African Quailfinch, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.

Target Species at Pirang Forest: Brown-necked Parrot, Collared Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Little Weaver, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Guinea Turaco, Ahanta Francolin, Green Hylia, Yellowbill, Green Crombec, White-spotted Flufftail, Orange-cheeked Waxbill.

Target Species at Bonto Forest:  Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, White-faced Scops Owl, African Paradise Flycatcher, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Common Wattle-eye, Senegal Batis, Grey-headed Bristle-bill, Green Turaco, Bruce’s Green Pigeon.

Target Species at Farasutu: Violet Turaco, Western Bluebill, Woodchat Shrike, African Wood Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Buff-spotted Woodpecker, Green-headed Sunbird, Red-billed Quelea, Spotted Honeyguide, Pin-tailed Whydah, Black-rumped Waxbill.

Target species Bintang: Grey Kestrel, Blue Bellied Roller, Rufous-crowned Roller, Swallow Tailed Bee Eater, Little Bee Eater, white-throated bee-eater, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Black Crake, Little Bittern.

Giant Kingfisher

Depart Bintang early and cruise to Tendaba, looking for dolphins along the way. From there you will take a small boat into the Bao Bolong Wetlands, home to more than 100 bird species and with the chance of spotting saltwater crocodiles. Evening birding around Tendaba and sleeping on board near Tendaba Lodge.

Target species at Bao Bolong Wetlands: Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle, African Hobby, African Finfoot, Blue Breasted Kingfisher, Abyssinia Ground Hornbill, Mouse Brown Sunbird, Mangrove Sunbird, African Blue Flycatcher, Goliath Heron, White Back Night-heron, Western Reef Heron, Black-crowned Night  Heron, Malachite Kingfisher,  Pel's Fishing Owl, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, European Bee-eater, Giant Kingfisher, Reed Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant.

Target species at Tendaba: Great White Egret, Pink Back Pelican, Royal Tern, Caspian Tern, Little Bee Eater, Swallow Tailed Bee Eater,  Spotted Honey Guide, Senegal Parrot, Rose Ringed Parakeet, Long Crested Eagle, Grass Hopper Buzzard, White-throated Bee-eater, Great White Pelican, White Headed Stork, Mouse Brown Sunbird, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.

Little Bee-eater

After early morning birding at Tendaba, you will drive to the ‘North Bank Watering Holes’ looking for species including the iconic Egyptian Plover. After that, you will visit Kaur Ricefields and the hill known as Kauren Camp for great views over the river and floodplain below. 

The Fula Princess will meet you at Kaur wharf after your birding. Non-birding guests are welcome to stay with the boat and enjoy the river. Sleep on board around Kaur.

Target species at North Bank sites: Egyptian Plover, Great Painted Snipe, Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen.

Target species at Kaur Wetlands: Kentish Sand Plover, Kittlitz Plover, Egyptian Plover, White-crowned Plover, Marabout Stork, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Western Reef Heron, White-throated Bee-eater, Egyptian Plover, White-headed Stork.

Target Species at Kauren Camp: Black-crowned Cranes, Long-crested Hawk Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Red-necked Falcon, African Hobby, White-throated Bee-eater, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Collared Pratincole, Swamp Flycatcher, Red-billed Paradise Flycatcher.

Birding in Gambia

Travel by land to visit the North Bank sites of Nyanga Bantang and Njau before continuing to Wassu and Kuntaur Sandpit, home to a variety of bee-eaters including the Red-throated and Carmine. The day’s birding will finish at Kuntaur Ricefields.

The Fula Princess will meet you at Kuntaur after your birding. Non-birding guests are welcome to stay with the boat and enjoy the river. Sleep on board around Kuntaur.

Target Species at Nyanga Bantang: Egyptian Plover, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, Martial Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Red-necked Buzzard, Black-bellied Bustard, White-bellied Bustard, Four-banded Sand Grouse. 

Target Species at Njau: Sudan Golden Sparrow, Green-winged Pytilia, Red-winged Pytilia.

Target Species at Wassu and Kuntaur Sandpit: Carmine Bee-eater, Brown Snake Eagle, Short Throated Eagle, Long Crested Hawk Eagle, Ant-eater Chat, Montague’s Harrier.

Target Species at Kuntaur Ricefields: African Jacana, Jack Snipe, Dwarf Bittern, African Water Rail.

Red-throated Bee-eater

Cruise slowly through the RGNP expecting to see chimpanzees and hippos on the way. You will call into Kunkiling Forest Park and enjoy lunch as you pass Janjanbureh, McCarthy Island en route to Bansang and the colony of red-throated Bee-eaters at Bansang Quarry.  Cruise back to McCarthy Island in time to visit 'Dumas' for some evening/night birding.

Target Species at Kunkiling: Adamawa Turtle Dove, White-backed Vulture, European Griffons Vulture, Ruple’s Griffon Vulture, African Finfoot, Shining Blue Kingfisher.

Target species at Bansang: Red-throated Bee-eater, Little Green Bee-eater, Garber Goshawk, Gosling’s Bunting, Black Schimitarbill, Pygmy Sunbird, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Cut-throat Finch, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark.

Target species at Dumas: Long-tailed Nightjar, Standard-winged Nightjar, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Hadada Ibis, Pearl-spotted Owlet.

African Fish Eagle Gambia River

Return to the Gambian coast by road, calling in at some of our favourite birding sites on the way. Likely stops include Sankulay Kunda Hill (Yellow-bellied Hyliata, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Giant Eagle Owl, Grasshopper Buzzard, Baboon, Warthog), Fula Bantang (Marabout Stork), Jakhaly Ricefields (African Fish Eagle, Red-throated Giant Eagle, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Long-crested Hawk Eagle, Martial Eagle), Jarreng, Kampanti and the Raptor Track (Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bedouine Snake Eagle, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Senegal Batis, Violet Turaco, Black-faced Firefinch, Mottled Spinetail).


This birdwatching Gambia River Cruise is the trip of a lifetime and is based on 4 birders and includes all the above days for a total package price of £5,880.00, that’s just £245 per person per day!

Excluded are bar purchases

Join us for these incredible birding days along The Gambia River trips or if you would like to create a trip tailor-made to your requirements, we can do that too!

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