Tendaba

Tendaba is a tiny village on the southern bank of the Gambia River, approximately 100 miles (160km) from the nation's capital, Banjul. At the centre of the village is Tendaba Camp, originally established as a hunting lodge by a Swedish sea captain in the 1970s. Now Gambian owned and run, it provides a relaxing environment for tourists, offering beautiful scenery and affordable accommodation. Tendaba Camp provides boat trips into Kisi Bolon and through Tunku Creek, where the scenery and environment are sure to leave enduring memories.

Things To Do And See

The Tendaba area is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The two most notable nearby attractions are the Kiang West National Park (featured in a separate article), ideal for viewing amazing wildlife and the Baobolong Wetland Reserve.

Baobolong Wetland Reserve

The Baobolong Wetland Reserve, established in 1996 and occupying 220kmē, is a national park which is an internationally recognised Ramsar Convention (Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitats) site. The park features plentiful flora and fauna in a variety of habitats. Significant, protected tree species include the deciduous legume, Pterocarpus erinaceous, the ana tree and wild mangoes. Forests of red and black mangrove trees reach heights in excess of 70 feet. In the salt marshes, the succulent, shoreline purslane, along with dropseed grasses and Bahia grasses can be found, whilst the Savannah areas are home to rare shrubs and grasses.

Bird Life

The Baobolong Wetland Reserve is a premier destination for those seeking to explore the diverse avifauna of Gambia. Amongst the bird life of the Reserve are some 270 species from over 60 families. Characteristic of a wetland habitat, the Baobolong Reserve is home to many species of water birds, including ducks and geese. Notable duck species include the Comb Duck, Northern Pintail and White-faced Whistling Duck, whilst important species of geese include the African Pygmy Goose, Northern Shoveller and Spur-winged Goose. Also inexorably associated with water-based territory are darters and pelicans, with the African Darter and Pink-backed Pelican resident within the Baobolong Wetland Reserve. The long legs of bitterns, egrets, herons, storks and ibises make them ideally adapted for foraging for food on the banks of the river. This group of birds is well represented on the Reserve, with a diverse range of species, including the Little Bittern, Little and Cattle Egrets, Goliath, Grey, Night and Western Reef Herons, along with Marabou and the Sacred Ibis.

The areas of the Reserve with salty water feature the Common Sandpiper, Little Stint and Spur-winged Lapwing. A number of the colourful West African Kingfishers reside near areas of open water, with prominent species including the blue-breasted, giant, malachite, pied and woodland kingfishers. Multi-coloured species of parrots are found in the Reserve, amongst them the Senegal Parrot and the Rose-ringed Parakeet. Other vibrantly coloured Reserve inhabitants include the glossy and violet-backed Starlings. Birds of prey resident in the Baobolong Wetland Reserve include species such as the African Fish Eagle, Bataleur Eagle, Black Kite and Red-necked Buzzard.

Mammals

32 species of mammals are known to reside on the Baobolong Wetland Reserve, including the African clawless otter, which although rare outside protected areas, is abundant in this area. Several species of antelope are also present, including bushbuck, sitatunga and duikers, whilst the African warthog is also plentiful. Amongst predatory mammals, the spotted hyena is profuse, whilst the Reserve also houses elusive leopards. Resident primates include rare species such as green monkeys, the red colobus monkey and the Patas monkey, along with marmosets, the Guinea baboon and Senegal Bushbaby.

Aquatic Life

The Reserve's aquatic life includes fish such as the barracuda, giant African threadfin, cichlids and mullet, along with invertebrates such as the blue crab. Mammals, such as the endangered West African manatee are also found, whilst reptiles, such as the Nile crocodile, are common within the boundaries of the Baobolong Wetland Reserve.

Getting There And Travelling Around The Area

A limited amount of car hire is available in the Gambian capital, Banjul, along with a number of the resorts located on the Atlantic coast. However, although the roads in and around Banjul are tarred and reasonably well-maintained, away from the capital roadways tend to be of poor quality, mostly dirt roads. Furthermore, car hire is very expensive. Although the Gambia River is passable along its full length, there are no scheduled boat services. However, many companies offer river cruises or shorter trips on the river as part of a longer Gambia tour. Much of the scenery is superb and travel to Tendaba by boat is an ideal option for those wishing to see as much of the country as possible. "Bush taxis" are a good idea for local travel. These range from seven seater cars to minibuses, travelling along designated routes, with passengers able to embark/disembark where they like.


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