SENEGAL: Scissor-tailed Kites, Tropicbirds & Quail Plovers

DATES & PRICES
Tour Dates: Saturday 11th – Saturday 18th January 2020  (Dakar/ Blaise Diagne to Dakar/Blaise Diagne)
Tour Price:
£1,999 
per person plus flight

Estimated Flight Price:
London to Dakar approx. £400 return

Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: Approx. £150 – £240
Deposit: £400 per person
Minimum Number required for trip to run: 5 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people
Accommodation: 
7 nights in good quality hotels


Key Birds:
Scissor-tailed Kite, Red-billed Tropicbird, Quail Plover, White-crested Tiger Heron, White-backed Night Heron, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Egyptian Plover and much more!

Key Mammals:
African Manatee, Western Red Colobus, Marsh Mongoose and Common Genet.

Conservation work that you will directly contribute to by joining this holiday:
Donations from this tour will go to our central conservation fund. More details on the projects we support can be found on our Conservation Projects page.

TOUR SUMMARY & FULL ITINERARY
This new tour to Senegal makes for a great winter week in the sun packed full of great birds and some pretty special mammals too. Senegal is an interesting country with some great birding habitat with some world class birds and birding spectacles,  yet it is still relatively unvisited by birding tour groups! For a number of years now, it has been known that Scissor-tailed Kites and Lesser Kestrels roost in huge numbers in Senegal and it is with this in mind that we created our itinerary. The sight of several hundred and even thousands of raptors at one roost site is surely, a must see spectacle. Other quality birds that are difficult to find elsewhere in the world are also on our hit list and include the rarely seen Quail Plover. Thanks to our local guide’s knowledge, we have an excellent chance of finding this tiny camouflaged wader. Other quality species such as Egyptian Plover, Red-throated Bee-Eater and Red-billed Tropicbird are also high on the target species list. We will spend a day on the Gambia River birding the Niokolo-Koba National Park by boat where we will experience some great birding. Our hotel on the banks of the Saloum Delta will also be a highlight with views out across the mangroves. Finally, for those interested in mammals, there will be an optional boat trip to search for the African Manatee! Come and join us on this great African adventure.

Day 1
SOMONE
After arriving into Dakar international airport, we will take a journey of around 1.5hours along the coast to the town of Somone where we will spend the night. Overnight near Africa Queen Hotel.

Day 2
SOMONE AREA
This morning we will be looking for a very special species, the Quail Plover. It is a highly sought after species due to its skulking nature and impressive camouflage. Similar in appearance to a miniature Courser, we hope to find this special bird with our local guide. Of course we will also see plenty of other more common species during the morning associated with the dry grassland and thorn scrub.
The afternoon will be spent hopefully witnessing a raptor spectacle! The beautiful Scissor-tailed Kite is an impressive raptor to see and even more so when in large numbers. At this time of year, a communal roost of several thousand birds has remained faithful to this area and we will arrive in good time as the sky swarms with birds heading into roost! Equally impressive numbers of Lesser Kestrels are also likely to be seen roosting in the area. Overnight Relais de Kaolack Hotel.

Days 3 – 5
NIOKOLO-KOBA NATIONAL PARK
Located in a well-watered area along the banks of the Gambia river, we will spend the next 3 days exploring the gallery forests and savannahs of Niokolo-Koba National Park. The birding here is excellent with many great species of birds. On one day we will spend a day on the Gambia River exploring the wetland areas and on another we will explore the Gallery Forest.

Some of the key species we will be searching for include: Stone Partridge, Double-spurred Francolin, Hamerkop, Grey Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Beaudouin’s Snake Eagle, Grasshopper Buzzard, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Martial Eagle, African Finfoot, White-headed Lapwing, Egyptian Plover Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Senegal Parrot, Rufous-crowned Roller,  Blue-bellied Roller, Broad-billed Roller, Giant Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Senegal Batis, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Blackcap Babbler, Brown Babbler, Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Northern Red Bishop and Red-billed Firefinch. Mammals may include Gambian Sun Squirrel, Western Red Colobus, Guinea Baboon and Vervet Monkey. Overnight Wassadou Hotel.

Day 6
SALOUM DELTA NP & TOUBAKOUTA
The huge mangrove of the Saloum Delta National Park, just north of the Gambian border, is a World Heritage Site and home to many great birds. Our hotel is positioned on the outskirts of Toubakouta and has wonderful views of the impressive mangrove habit. Species we will be looking for include specialities such as Goliath Heron, White-backed Night Heron and Brown Sunbird. This is also a good site for the often difficult to find White-crested Tiger Heron and we shall try hard to find this special species.

Other birds we hope to find in this region include Four-banded Sandgrouse, African Golden Oriole, Fanti Saw-wing, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Yellow-throated Greenbul, African Quailfinch, Pin-tailed Whydah and other common species. Mammal interest is also high with good chances of finding Marsh Mongoose and Common Genet. However, the real mammal prize is the African Manatee which is also seen from time to time in this area. For those iinterested we can organise a special optional boat trip to look for this special mammal. Overnight at Keur Saloum Hotel.

Day 7
SALOUM DELTA

Morning birding at the Saloum Delta or take an optional boat trip to search for African Manatee. During the afternoon we will travel to Dakar. Overnight at Calao Hotel.

Day 8
ILES DE MADELEINE

This morning we will take a boat excursion to Madeleine Island specifically to see the beautiful Red billed Tropicbirds which usually allow fabulous views. Other birds that we are likely to see include: Brown Booby, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Grey-headed Gull, Lesser Crested Tern and Royal Tern.
After our boat trip we will return to our hotel and then transfer to the airport for our return flight home. 

IMPORTANT HOLIDAY DETAILS
Leaders: Local guide Carlos Abdou Lo & Wise Birding leader
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all meals, water, ground transport, boat trips (except for optional Manatee boat trip) and services of leaders
NOT Included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water, optional Manatee boat trip on day 7, any airport/visa fees and items of a personal nature
Accommodation: Good quality hotels
Single Supplement: £150
Max. Group Size: 8
Transport: Minibus
Difficulty: Moderate with walking on open areas and paths for up to 3-4Km per day with the majority of birding done in close proximity to our vehicle and/or by boat.
Climate: Generally hot and dry with temperature in the mid 20s degrees celsius.
Meeting Point: Blaise Diagne International airport, Senegal
Tour End: Blaise Diagne International airport on day 8
Suggested Airlines: Air France or Royal Air Maroc
Note: This is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted in relation to arrival and departure times, weather conditions and other related factors.