Home to over 600 different species, bird life here is truly fascinating and guaranteed to stimulate both the expert and the amateur birdwatcher alike. Many of the hotels we work with offer day trips for keen ornithologists with experienced guides.
There have been fairly thorough surveys of most of the coastal areas and reserves of Senegal. However, some other parts of the country remain relatively unknown in ornithological terms, and there are good opportunities for the independently minded birder to explore this interesting country. The Sine Saloum Delta offers some excellent birding hot spots.
The Saloum Delta National Park
The Saloum Delta National Park is an area of mangroves, coastal lagoons and islands and an absolute haven for hundreds of species of birds.
The Sine Saloum River Delta is south of Dakar and the National Park can be accessed by road from Kaolack. 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. It should be noted that there are Tsetse fly in some of the central areas of the park.
Réserves de Popenguine & de la Somone
Just to the north of Saly are two tiny reserves, which are home to some 150 different species of birds. Following a sighting of a Blue Rock-thrush in 1986, the Réserve de Popenguine was declared a protected zone.
The Campement Keur Cupaam in Popenguine can arrange trips to see the various species with resident ornithological guides from the National Parks Authority. The neighbouring Réserve de la Somone was created by the local community in 1999 and is independently maintained. Combined birding tours can be arranged at Popenguine for both reserves.
La Somone is home to a magnificent lagoon where you can see Pelicans and Flamingos as well as other rarer species.
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Situated to the north of Dakar, near St 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 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.
Over 300 species have been recorded in total. The area is accessible by road from St Louis and it is open all year round, although many parts of the park are inaccessible during the rainy season, when the area is also popular with mosquitoes. Bicycles are available for hire in the park.
Senegal Birdwatching Hotspots
Find out more Senegal birding hotspots with the African Bird Club: