THE ABUKO FOREST RESERVE
25–35 minutes from the coast.
This is a beautiful dry forest reserve with a central oasis, pool, and a network of paths to ensure optimal bird spotting. You can expect to find Turacos, Greenbuls, Paradise Flycatchers, Wattle-Eyes, and Kingfishers in abundance, and for those of you interested in animals other than birds, this is one of the only places in Gambia where Red Colobus Monkeys are common rather than rare.
45 minutes from the coast.
This is a dense yet dry forest made up of scrub. Here you can find the famous Dr. Owl, a local ornithologist who seeks out nesting and roosting Verrauxs Eagle Owls, White-Faced Scops Owls, and Long-tailed Nightjars. You can watch the Nightjars from only 3 meters away — simply incredible!
30–40 minutes from the coast.
This is dry scrubland and forest with sandy paths that wind their way to a beachside lagoon. It has become a mecca for sunbirds and other species, including migratory warblers and game birds. Its coast has also become a prime spot to see waders, terns, gulls, and Ospreys. A “must visit” spot for any season.
DENTON BRIDGE/LAMIN LODGE
30 minutes from the coast.
This is a great spot to take a mangrove cruise and see some Ospreys, pelicans, herons, egrets, Caspian Terns, and Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eaters. Put aside two to three hours so you can enjoy a leisurely and safe journey to the creeks where Spoonbills and Yellow-Billed Storks make their homes. The type of craft you’ll journey in depends on the size of your party — one or two people can fit in a dug-out canoe, while five or more might be more comfortable in a large cruiser with all the amenities, including lunch and a rooftop viewing platform.
2 hours from the coast.
This location is the furthest from the coastal hotels, but it is well worth the trip. The Tendaba Camp is a famous up-river lodge perfect for dedicated bird watchers. Its facilities are clean and the staff hospitable — they are adept at caring for bird watchers. You can expect to find Egrets and Kite Roosters, herons, African Darters, and Pels Fishing Owls, a rare bird. After a journey into the mangrove creek, enjoy an excellent meal and a pint of the fine Kingfisher Beer. You can also take a walk through the local woodland to see some fantastic general birds. Malick considers Tendaba a home away from home and his rapport with the locals will result in a safe and friendly experience for you, the guest. Even he can’t promise you’ll see an owl, though!