SENEGAL

BOAT RIDE AND THE SAHEL

Dates

November 13th to 24th 2018

Tour Cost

€ 2.600.-

Single room supplement

420.

Group size

12 with two guides

Tour leader

Maybe Josele J Saiz or Abdou Lo

Airport

Dakar - Dakar

What´s included

All ground transport, boat rides, all meals, services of guides and reserve entrance fees. Accommodation & Transport: Very good hotels in Toubacouta, Kaolak and Sant Louis, with excellent food, but French style breakfasts.  The hotel in Wassadow is ‘lodge like’, without hot water, but the food is good. The accommodations are clean and some provide mosquito nets. Transport in a mini bus, but perhaps 4x4 vehicles in Sant Louis.

What´s not included

Transport to / from UK and any overnight stay that may be involved, visa cost, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

VISA - Visas are required for UK citizens aprox. cost 50€


Tour code

Senegal is one of the most fantastic birdwatching countries of West Africa. Birdwatching through beaches, rivers, swamps, rice fields, riverine forest, rolling sandy Sahel plains in a great introduction to the African birdlife. Four boat ride trips are waiting for you.

Selected species list

Black Bush Chat, Black-crowned Crane, Arabian Bustard, Cricket Warbler, Pygmy Goose, Black Crake, Greater Painted Snipe, Malachite Kingfisher, Winding Cisticola, Kittlitz's Plovers, African Stonechat, Greater Swamp Warbler, Savile´s and Denhams Bustards, Temminck's Coursers, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Bronze-winged Courser, Egyptian Plovers, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, White-crowned Robin Chat, Red-throated and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Senegal Batis Pel´s Fishing Owl, Denham's Bustard, Violet Turaco, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Beaudouin's Snake Eagle, Stone Partridge, African Finfoot, Standard-winged Nightjar, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Fine Spotted Woodpecker, Senegal Eremomela.

More information

Introduction

Senegal is a new tour, not yet in the birdwatching market, but now organised by BOLETAS. There are lots of reasons why birdwatchers should visit this area - we'll visit the southern limit of the huge Sahel rolling desert plains and the north of the western tropical forest, including the Gambia River. Senegal is one of the most interesting countries for birding in West Africa, being recognised as an ideal country in which to gain an introduction to the diverse and colourful birdlife of the African continent, offering great wildlife opportunities. The range of potential species on this tour includes Arabian Bustard, Finfoot and Pink-backed Pelicans among other waterbirds, a splendid variety of raptors and owls complemented by an incredible number of typically African beauties, such as Red-throated, Little and Carmine Bee-Eaters, with several species of rollers and woodpeckers. One of the highlights of the tour is the spectacular Egyptian Plover. In our tour you will enjoy a unique insight into the fascinating African culture which is deeply influenced by the Gambia River. We know how much birders enjoy boat rides, and there are a minimum of four such excursions included in this holiday.

Itinerary

Day 1 – From UK to Senegal. Birding near Dakar depending the time of your flight. Overnight Dakar - Hotel Chez Salim.   

Day 2 – Sant Louis. Early in the morning we will drive to Sant Louis, our base for the next four days. The Acacia forest north of Sant Louis produces interesting Sahelian  birds  such Black Bush Chat, Rufous-tailed Bush Chat and Yellow-billed Shrikes, which share the habitat with numerous  palearctic migrants including Northern Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike and Bonelli´s Warbler. Near Sant Louis is the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar Site. It is a wetland of 16,000ha situated in the Senegal River Delta and comprises of a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters which form a sanctuary for large numbers of water birds including Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, African Spoonbill, Great Cormorant, Great White Pelican, Black-crowned Crane, both Lesser and Greater Flamingo, plus a wide range of ducks and waders, some in very high concentrations, including White-faced Whistling Duck, Garganey and Ruff. Arabian Bustard may also be seen at Djoudj on occasions. Overnight in  Sant Louis - Hotel Djoudj.

Day 3 – Djoud National Bird Sanctuary. After breakfast we will head to the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary. Ospreys are common in this 'wintering headquarters' for the species. We'll take a boat trip along the Senegal River with abundant birdlife, terns, gulls, egrets and kingfishers accompanying us, before arriving at a pelican colony where White-backed and Pink-backed are both represented. After lunch in the Biological Research Centre, we will visit different hides from where waders, ducks in huge numbers and passerines are in endless activity; flying up and down or feeding close to the shores. Here we will search for one of the most attractive Sahelian birds, the smart little Cricket Warbler and we have an excellent chance of finding this charming species in this austere landscape. Overnight in Sant Louis - Hotel Djoudj.

Day 4 – Djoud National Bird Sanctuary. After breakfast, we'll visit Ross Betio, a marshy area good for Pygmy Goose, Black Crake, Greater Painted Snipe, Malachite Kingfisher and Winding Cisticola. Great numbers of cormorants, herons, egrets, waders, gulls, terns and other waterbirds add to the avian riches of one of the most important wetlands in Africa. Visiting different hides we will see Glossy and Sacred Ibises, Eurasian and African Spoonbills, Black, White and Yellow-billed Storks, Knob-billed Duck, African Fish Eagle, African Swamphen (split from Purple), Common Moorhen, the exciting Black-crowned Crane, African Jacana, Greater Painted-snipe, Collared Pratincole, Kittlitz's Plovers, African Stonechat, Greater Swamp Warbler and Black-headed Weaver. Other birds we may encounter include Montagu's and Western Marsh Harriers, Tawny Pipit, African Scrub Winding Cisticola, Black-faced Quailfinch, Zebra Waxbill and Red-billed Quelea. Overnight in Richard Toll - Hotel Gite d'Etape.

Day 5 – The Three Marigots. After Breaksfast we will drive with our 4x4 vehicles to the Three Marigots; a semi desert area connected with the Sahel where we will work hard to find difficult birds such as Savile´s and Denhams Bustards, Spotted Thick-Knee, Cream-coloured and Temminck's Coursers, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and the rare Bronze-winged Courser. Raptors are abundant with Pallid Harrier, Wahlberg's, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, plus other birds including Rufous-crowned Roller, Grey and Chestnut-backed Sparrow Lark. Overnight in Sant Louis - Hotel Ranch Di Bango.

Days 6 – From Sant Louis heading to Niokolo. Transitional day birding on route with several stops including good opportunities for bee-eaters, raptors and egrets. After lunch we will head for Kaolak. Overnight in Kaolak - Hotel Relais de Kaolack.

Days 7 – Wassadou. Early in the morning we will head east to Wassadow where we will spend the next three nights. Depending on water levels we will stop near a drinking pool that attracts vultures, with  chances for close views  of White-Backed, Hooded and Griffon Vultures, Marabou Stork. Black Kites are abundant here.   Birding on route with comfort stops before arriving at our hotel in  Wassadou, where Egyptian Plovers feed in the grounds of the hotel, while Green Monkeys fight in the nearest forest to find the best roosting branches. Other birds we can see before dusk include Palm Nut Vulture, Long-tailed and Purple Glossy Starling, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, White-crowned Robin Chat and Yellow-crowned Gonolek.  Overnight in Wassadow - Hotel Wassadou.

Day 8 – The Gambia River. After breakfast on this day and the next, we will organize the boat trips. At the hotel there is only one boat for 6 people. Half of the group will take the boat to the east of the Gambia River,  where the birdlife is spectacular. Finfoot is almost guaranteed, also five species of kingfishers, colonies of  Red-throated and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, numerous African Fish Eagles and raptors, such us Bateleur, African Cuckoo Hawk, African Harrier Hawk, African Hawk Eagle, lots of  herons and egrets, not forgetting passerines such as Black-headed Weaver, Red-billed Firefinch, Orange-cheeked Waxbill and African Silverbill.  The rest of the group will walk in a nearby Palm Forest searching for local specialities including Blue-bellied Roller, Senegal Coucal, Senegal Parrot, Jacobin Cuckoo, Little Bee-eater, and the rare Senegal Batis. After lunch people boating in the morning will do the walk and walkers will take the boat. We are working with one of the locals to give us the best chance to see Pel´s Fishing Owl. Overnight In Wassado - Hotel Wassadou.

Day 9 – Niokolo area. After breakfast we will  visit Goulombou, close to the Sementi  National Park where we will spend all morning looking for the specialities. The birdlife  here is interesting, but although there are fewer species they may include Bateleur,  Martial Eagle, Denham's Bustard, Violet Turaco and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. The immediate area around the upper reaches of the Gambia river offer species such as Woolly-necked Stork, Beaudouin's Snake Eagle, Stone Partridge, African Finfoot, Standard-winged Nightjar, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Oriole Warbler, Grey Tit-Flycatcher, Sulphur-breasted Bush-Shrike and Orange-cheeked Waxbill. Back to our hotel for lunch and after a short break we will go for our second boat trip in the area, navigating to the west of the Gambia River. African Wattled Lapwings,  Egyptian Plover,  Finfoot, Northern Carmine Bee-eater  in good numbers going to roost and the static Nile Crocodile will delight us on our last night in this fantastic place. Overnight In Wasssadow - Hotel Wassadou.

Day 10 – From Wassadou to the Atlantic coast. Transitional day birding en route with several stops including good opportunities for  Abyssinian Roller,  bee-eaters, raptors and egrets.  Lunch on the way before heading to Toubacouta, where we will be based for two nights. Overnight in Toubacouta - Hotel Keur Saloum.

Day 11 – Toubacouta. Full day  exploring the Sine Saloum River Delta and National Park. The park has large areas of mangroves, secondary forest and grasslands. There are many raptor species in the area including Dark Chanting Goshawk, Grasshopper Buzzard, African Hawk Eagle and Grey Kestrel. Other species found in the area include Black-headed Heron, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Pearl-spotted Owlet, White-crowned Robin-Chat, and Pygmy Sunbird. Two boat trips are planned, visiting a solitary island where Baboaks trees are so large we could park a vehicle inside the trunk. We will then visit the roosting areas of egrets in the mangrove, with hundreds ‘noising’ to find a good corner. A walk around the hotel and Toubacouta village is quite rewarding, with Shikra, Black-rumped Waxbill, African Cuckoo, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Red-tailed Lavender Waxbill,  Bearded Barbet, Fine Spotted Woodpecker, Grey–billed Shrike and Senegal Eremomela. Overnight in  Toubacouta - Hotel Keur Saloum.

Day 12 – From Toubakouta to Dakar. From Toubacouta to Dakar is an interesting and long journey full of birding oportunities with several stops including good opportunities for Bee-eaters , raptors and egrets. Drive to the airport for your flight back Home, or overnight in Dakar for a eraly morning departure.

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