Kiang West National Park is situated on the south side of The Gambia river and is famed for its wildlife of the four-legged variety as much as its birds. It consists mainly of deciduous woodland and guinea savannah with grasses and trees becoming less dense away from the river. Fires are sometimes deliberately started, clearing areas to meet the increasing demand for agriculture. The grazing of animals, mainly cattle and goats, add to the pressure and together prevent the natural regeneration of trees and shrubs. That said, it is a wonderful place for mammals including Caracal, Serval, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Warthog, and Spotted Hyena though most are becoming increasing difficult to locate.

Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow

There are extensive areas of mangrove creeks and tidal flats where Sitatunga forage along the grassy edges. A viewing point at a water hole at Tubabkollon provides an opportunity to see many of these species as the dry season progresses. Nile Crocodiles are often seen and, rarely, African Clawless Otter, Marsh Mongoose and West African Manatee are spotted. Guinea Baboons and Western Colobus Monkeys move from the dryer areas to the mangroves for roosting during the evening.

 

White-fronted Blackchat
White-fronted Black Chat

Raptors lead the way on the birding scene with up to 21 species recorded. Martial Eagle and the Bateleur are more reliably seen here than anywhere else in Gambia. Vultures, Kites, Harriers, Hawks and Falcons are regularly seen and are supplemented with migratory birds of prey during the dry season. Brown-necked Parrot breeds in the mangrove forests whilst Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Brown-rumped Bunting, White-fronted Black Chat and Dorst`s Cisticola are found in dryer areas and Violet-backed Starling in wooded habitats. Small groups of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills can sometimes be seen searching for prey in the more open grassland.

Kiang West is accessed, once again on route toTendaba.