Most seawatchers usually
have visited Senegal (Cap Vert peninsula) from the beginning of October
to mid November, except for a few visits during September in the early
90's. Late November and December are still basically unexplored periods,
but it would not come as a big surprise if this time of the year also
turned up to be productive. It would thus be possible to combine a tour
birding Gambia and Senegal with seawatching at N'Gor in December. It could
be a cost-efficient alternative to travel on a package holiday to Gambia
and then spend a few days birding in Senegal. In Scandinavia most travel
agencies offer one- or two-week package holidays to Gambia in early December
until late February.
Beach and the boat (Pirog) to Isle N'Gor.
Photo: Niklas Holmström, 2005
The peak season for tourists visiting Senegal is between
December and February, which make October a perfect and quiet time of
the year for the avid seawatcher. Besides the intensive movements of seabirds
along the coast, the atmosphere of N'Gor is soft, easy-going and friendly.
There are no problems at all to get to and from Isle N'Gor and
best of all plenty of vacant tables at Calao's terrace, which is
an excellent spot for seawatching!
You will probably arrive to Senegal by air. Today there are three airlines
that traffic Senegal (Dakar) daily: Air France (from Paris), Brussels
Airlines (from Brussels) and TAP (from Lisbon). A good advice for Scandinavian
birders (and in other countries too) is to book the flight from Paris
or Brussels and then find a cheap connecting flight. An example: A round
trip ticket Paris-Dakar with Air France costs around 547 Euro (somewhat
cheaper when booking via internet) and the connecting flight from Sweden
(Arlanda) to Paris is around 300 Euro for a return ticket. So, you can
save much money by using another airline to get to Paris or Brussels!
The flight to Dakar leaves Paris daily at 15:55 (and arrives at Dakar
19:45 local time). The return flight leaves Dakar daily at 23:05 and arrives
at Paris early next morning. Connecting flights leave Paris frequently
depending on your final destination.
Daily flights from Brussels to Dakar.
Daily flights from Lisbon to Dakar. However, their flights arrive and
depart just after midninght.
Note: To be on the safe side, do not forget to confirm your flight
Taxi between the
airport and N'Gor
Do not pay more than 10 Euro for a taxi from the airport. When leaving
Hotel N'Gor, Diarama or Calao ask the clerk to order a taxi and the price
will then be around 5-6 Euro to the airport. When arriving to Dakar, you'll
find the taxi's directly to the right when leaving the airport building.
There are three good places to stay in the N'Gor area, reachable within
10 minutes from the airport. These are:
Club le Calao (simply named Calao), rates quoted below during 2005:
Double room: 41.16 Euro (a few bungalows are connected with each other)
Triple room: 56.41 Euro
Continental breakfast: 4.57 Euro (usually served about 08:00, but you
can get it at 07:00)
Tourist tax: 0,91 Euro (per each and night)
Phone (most reliable booking communication in 2007): +221 33820 09 08
Fax (unreliable in 2006 and beginning of 2007): +221 33820 11 80
Calao is built to resemble an African village with charming individual
bungalows spread throughout a park. Painted with African designs, these
bungalows are spacious, airy and offer a complete escape from the bustling
surroundings. Every bungalow is air-conditioned and has its own bathroom.
The restaurant and the bar are located next to the swimming pool at the
Information about prices will soon be available!
If you chose this hotel instead of Calao's bungalows make sure to book
a room on third or fourth floor with balconies facing the sea (i. e. the
strait between N'Gor Beach and Isle N'Gor).
Double room: 53.00 Euro
Continental breakfast: 4.50 Euro
Touristic tax: 0,91 Euro (per each and night)
Fax: +221 820 27 23
Information will soon be available!
Note: All three hotels mentioned above is runned by one company/manager.
Unfortunately, they still don't are reachable by email, but phone and
connected double bungalow at Club le Calao, one minute walk to the
Mangsbo, October 2003.
highest building in the N'Gor area, Hotel N'Gor, seen from the restaurant
terrace at Calao.
Photo: Niklas Holmström, October 2003.
See the sections on 'Pelagic trips' and the brief descriptions in 'Seawatching'.
equipment and useful advice
There are a few items I recommend you to bring with you and some useful
advice to have before you arrive at the N'Gor hot spots for your seawatching
fiesta. Binoculars and a good telescope is, of course, the most important
equipment for birders in general and seawatchers in particular. For
the latter category there are a few more items not to be forgotten
when packing your bag before the flight to Senegal, as follows:
identification literature and ID articles.
and a notebook.
(3-4 counters are recommended) as it is impossible to write down every
single bird or flock that passes by. Ideally, each counter is designated
for a species (which may be different from day to day). To separate
the counters from one another, paint the display frames in different
Never underestimate the possibility to indulge in a nice cup of coffee
or tea, especially when seawatching at Isle N'Gor where there is no
restaurant in sight on the north side.
kit for your optics, which is necessary at Isle N'Gor as a thin salt
spray will cover the front lens of your scope in northerly winds.
You will have to clean lenses at least two or three times a day in
and a good map.
paper when seawatching from Isle N'Gor (you never know when
a sunhat, sun lotion and bottles of water are highly recommended!
Your digital camera
The Swedish team had minor problems with their digital cameras, especially
the small Nikon cameras widely used for digiscoping. The 995 model worked
well, but the 4500 model did not cope with the differing temperatures at
night in a cool, air-conditioned room and in the morning humidity and heat
when taken outdoors. It did, in fact, not work at all and the temperature
difference produced condensation on all optic lenses the first few minutes
outdoors in the morning! The solution was to put the camera in its case
or a bag and leave it in the bathroom during the night as the temperature
there was more or less the same as outside.
Senegal has six national parks and several other areas where natural habitats
are protected. For those who have visited the Gambia combined with a few
days birding in Senegal, the national park Niokolo-Kobo is the most famous
and largest of these. Delta du Saloum is also a well-visited area by birders.
The famous national park Djoudj is located north of Dakar (close to the
city St Louis) and is one of the most important wetland bird sanctuaries
in the world. Around three million birds, mostly European species, pass
through the park annually and there is even a ringing station there. Over
400 species have been recorded in the area. For further information please
have a look at the website of African Birding Club concerning hotspots
Most car-rental companies are located in Dakar and it is rather expensive
to hire a car. It is probably cheaper to hire a taxi for a day or more.
If you stay at Calao ask for a man named Abdouleye Faye as his brother
arranges two-day trips by car at a reasonable price and his speciality
is tours to the national park Delta du Saloum close to the northern border
This site provides information about Africa, each African country and
its birds. Users are expected to be birders planning a visit to a country,
tourists with an interest in birds, and people carrying out general research.
Brief facts about Senegal such as 'Where to stay', 'Where to go' etc but
not as informative as the site mentioned above.
An informative webpage about Senegal.
This text is compiled by Swedish National Television (SVT) and the programme
'Packat och Klart', which filmed during a visit to Senegal in April 1999.
The document contains general information written in Swedish. The file
is available in RTF-format (17 KB), download
or open it here.