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  • Photograph of Blue-bellied Roller

    The brilliant Blue-bellied Roller by Martin Goodey.

    SENEGAL

    Best Wildlife in Senegal

    Mammals
    West African Manatee, Bottlenose Dolphin, Hippopotamus, Guinea Baboon and Warthog. Also a chance of Patas Monkey.

    Birds
    The lists below are relevant to the northern winter when numerous birds which nest in Europe are present in Senegal.

    Sahel Specialities
    African Swallow-tailed Kite, Arabian and Savile’s Bustards, Black Crowned Crane, Egyptian Plover, African Collared Dove, Abyssinian and Blue-bellied Rollers, Little Grey Woodpecker, Sennar Penduline Tit, Cricket Longtail, River Prinia, Black Scrub Robin, Chestnut-bellied Starling and Sudan Golden Sparrow. Also a chance of White-crested Bittern, White-backed Night Heron, Denham’s Bustard and African Finfoot.

    Others
    Red-billed Tropicbird, Greater Flamingo, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Black and Goliath Herons, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Storks, and African Fish Eagle, as well as Fulvous and White-faced Whistling Ducks, African Pygmy Goose, large numbers of other ducks, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Darter, Western Reef Egret, Purple and Squacco Herons, Hadada and Sacred Ibises, African and Eurasian Spoonbills, Hamerkop, White and Black Storks, Osprey, Hooded, Lappet-faced, Palm-nut, Ruppell’s Griffon and White-backed Vultures, Grasshopper and Lizard Buzzards, African Harrier Hawk, Beaudouin’s Snake, Booted, Short-toed, Wahlberg’s and Western Banded Snake Eagles, Barbary, Lanner and Red-necked Falcons, Grey Kestrel, Black Crake, Purple Swamphen, Spotted Thick-knee, Black-headed and Spur-winged Plovers, White-headed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacana, Cream-coloured and Temminck’s Coursers, Collared Pratincole and many other shorebirds, Audouin’s and Slender-billed Gulls, Black, Caspian, Royal, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Black-billed Wood Dove, Senegal Parrot, Green Turaco, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Senegal Coucal, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Long-tailed Nightjar, Blue-naped Mousebird, Grey-headed, Malachite, Pied and Striped Kingfishers, Blue-cheeked, European, Little and Red-throated Bee-eaters, Rufous-crowned Roller, Black and Green Woodhoopoes, African Grey and Red-billed Hornbills, Bearded and Vieillot’s Barbets, Greater Honeyguide, Common Wattle-eye, Senegal Batis, White Helmetshrike, Brubru, Black-crowned Tchagra, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Yellow-billed Shrike, African Paradise Flycatcher, Piapiac, Black-crowned and Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks, Senegal Eremomela, Northern Crombec, Melodious, (Western) Olivaceous and Subalpine Warblers, Northern Anteater Chat, Long-tailed Glossy and Purple Glossy Starlings, Beautiful, Pygmy and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Little, Village and Yellow-backed Weavers, Red-billed Firefinch and African Quailfinch. Also a chance of Lesser Flamingo, Tawny Eagle, Allen’s Gallinule, Greater Painted Snipe, Marsh Owl, Blue-breasted and Giant Kingfishers, Little Green, Northern Carmine and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, (Greater) Hoopoe Lark and Yellow-billed Oxpecker.

    Reptiles
    Nile Crocodile, Water Monitor and Adanson's Mud Turtle.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Senegal

    Best Times for Wildlife in Senegal

    The peak time for birds is November to March, during the dry season which usually lasts until May. Late November-early December is the most reliable time for Egyptian Plover, the presence of which is dependent on water levels. The temperature is usually high, especially in March-April, but a little lower during December and January.

    Recommended Books etc. for Senegal

    Helm Field Guide: Birds of Senegal and The Gambia by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2012.

    Birds of the Gambia and Senegal by C Barlow, T Wacher and T Disley. Pica Press, 2005 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Western Africa by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).


    Apps etc.

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Senegal

    Many trip reports, some for Senegal, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Senegal. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Senegal' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Senegal

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Senegal

    Some Organized Tours to Senegal

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Senegal include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.