We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Gambia with Hidden Gambia”
Review of Bird Safari Camp

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Janjanbureh
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Bird Safari Camp
Reviewed 29 January 2013

We have recently returned to England after a fabulous 2 week holiday in The Gambia thanks largely to the superb organisation offered By Mark Thompson of the company Hidden Gambia. We asked to stay near the coast for a few days and then up river for 5 days and then the rest of the time near the coast. We didn't want to stay in the large hotels on the coast and Mark arranged for us to stay in eco-lodges throughout. We stayed at Farakunku lodge for 3 nights which had just 4 really nicely appointed "bungalows" and then wemade the trek up river via a combination of 4x4 and river boat stopping on the way at Tendaba camp which to be fair was a bit basic but hey it adds to the adventure. WE then spent 4 nights at the old town of Georgetown, now renamed Janjanbureh where the staff and the food, freshly prepared were excellent and very welcoming. The last 4 nights were at Footsteps lodge 25mins walk from the deserted beach. We wanted this to be a wildlife adventure and we were supplied with a nature guide (sometimes 2!) every day as well as a driver. They were superb and every day was different. We managed to see all the monkey species, crocodiles, hippos, bats, mongoose as wel as over 270 species of birds. If you decide to visit the Gambia, please don,t just stick around the tourist hotels but get out and see the wonderful country with its really friendly people. I highly recommend Mark Thompson and Hidden Gambia to enable you to get the best out of your time there

Room Tip: Go for the eco lodges. In addition to the 2 above, try Nemasu or Sandele or Kartong
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Howie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (68)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

6 - 10 of 68 reviews

Reviewed 18 January 2013

My wife and I visited The Gambia over Christmas and New Year 2012/13. Our itinerary was arranged through Hidden Gambia Holidays which is owned and operated by Mark Thompson. We arrived in The Gambia on Christmas day and spent our first four days on the coast in Hisbisus House, a lovely boutique hotel in Brufut away from the main tourist areas. Our itinerary then took us on a journey up the river Gambia mainly by boat. This was a fantastic two day journey spent in the company of a small group of fellow travellers (9 of us in total) with an overnight stay at Tendaba camp. This was a very peaceful and relaxing way to see the real Gambia where very few tourists go. Our second night was due to be spent at Bird Safari camp but due to operationl resons we were redirected to Baolong Annexe in Georgetown. Here we were met in person by Mark Thompson and his wife who made us very welcome. The following day was New Year's eve. The morning was spent leisurely either exploring Georgetown and it's history with one of Mark's wonderful staff or going bird watching with one of his very knowledgable guides. Mid afternoon we were taken by Mark and his staff down by the river where they had set up a lounging and dining area by the water. We spent the rest of the day socialising with our fellow travellers, Mark, his wife and staff. As darkness decended, a bonfire was lit and later we had a sumptious BBQ and banquet befitting the occasion. We were entertained by African drumming provided by the staff and celebrated and danced our way to midnight and into 2013. What a fantastic way to celebrate New Year! The next day we travelled back to the coast arriving at Hibiscus House in time for dinner. We spent our last three days there exploring the coast from north to south. The whole trip was co-ordinated by Hidden Gambia from airport pick up to drop off and went without a hitch. We certainly had a fantastic holiday we shall remember for a long time to come. Thanks to Mark and all his team.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank TJPoole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2012

Spent 8 days in The Gambia in May and am only now getting around to submitting this review... better late than never! Mark Thompson, the owner/operator of Hidden Gambia Holidays and Bird Safari Camp, arranged our trip from start to finish and on very short notice. We could not have asked for better service or a better host. We began our stay with a couple of days at the Lemon Creek Hotel Resort in Bijilo and used that as a base for trips to Serekunda, Banjul, and Tanjir. The resort is a pretty little place with nice clean rooms and a terrific staff who go out of their way to be friendly and welcoming. We made part of the journey up river by boat (with one stretch on the Solar Queen and one on the Lady Hippo), and the other part by road (one stretch on the South Bank and one on the North Bank). We stayed at Tendaba Lodge on the way up river. This accommodation is VERY basic, but we enjoyed a great boat trip into the Baobalong wetlands and a bird-watching hike with Ebrima, as well as having the chance to watch the Euro Champions league final with folks from the village (Chelsea has some BIG fans in The Gambia). As we traveled up river we saw chimps, hippos, and lots and lots of birds, of course. We then spent a couple of nights at Bird Safari Camp with just two other guests (a big advantage of traveling at low season) and had a wonderful stay. We went fishing for tiger fish (but didn't catch any), visited Janjanbureh town, went to Basse Quarry to see the bee-eaters, and spent half a day in a small village across the river. Anything we were interested in doing, the staff was there to help us. The tent-style accommodation was great (we can vouch for the fact that it holds up well in a thunderstorm) as was the food. But most of our good memories of out time in The Gambia revolve around the people we met there. We are already looking at plans to return and visiting BSC again.

Room Tip: The tents by the river are great.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Brenda K K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2012

This is a great place to stay. I came here in late February for 3 nights, mainly for bird photography, after spending 6 nights at the coast. It's a long but interesting journey by minibus (2) and boats(2) and we arrived on the Lady Hippo after dark to a warm welcome and some great Gambian cooking by Binta. We were lucky to arrive 2 weeks before Mark, the owner's, wedding, and , along with his Mum and other guests, we helped him celebrate in advance. The wine and beer never ran out and the drumming and dancing lit up one of the evenings.

We met some wonderful people, the tents beside the Gambia River were great, the composting toilets were pretty much odourless and the beds very comfortable. Apart from a few sandflies, the insects were almost non-existent too - the NE breeze and dry atmosphere no doubt keeping them away. The swimming pool, filled with river water, which we thought might be a bit 'iffy' was in fact very pleasant indeed and well used whilst we were there. My Dutch neighbours had a small shock when returning to their tent one evening, to find a rather large Monitor Lizard lounging outside - all part of the rich scenery here! We watched Hippos from the boat, found an Eagle Owl roosting near the Camp and spent two hours getting very close to over 100 pairs of Red Thoated Bee-eaters at Bansang Quarry - all feeding young. For keen birdwatchers, Wassu turned up a Light Bellied Bustard on our return trip - a bit of a rarity in Gambia; worth searching for instead of looking at the stone circles.

Hard to think how the camp could be improved - it is certainly a cut above Tendaba down the river which, although great for birds too, looks rather depressing when approached by boat! I hear it's not that bad, but first impressions can be important. It could do with a major refurbishment.

Mark runs a logistically difficult operation at Hidden Gambia, but it seems to work well. We did suffer from a 1 hour late pick up on returning to the airport which left everyone a bit breathless and one of the mini-buses we were provided with at the coast was a bit of a wreck (dodgy brakes, crunching gear box, dented side, bald tyres, no seat belts, completely ineffective headlights etc etc) but the standard of driving was pretty good and it didn't break down! A slightly more modern vehicle would certainly increase the confidence levels of European travellers.

Other than that - I have nothing but praise for Bird Safari Camp and Hidden Gambia. I expect to return quite soon!

Room Tip: Go for the tents rather than the huts
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank PeteD012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2012

I can't really add much more to the 2 reviews before this one. Bird Safari Camp is a lovely experience, the river trip to get to the camp, the o/n in Tendaba camp and the people at the camp itself. I agree that the tents, half canvas and half brick with a royal throne room! are fantastic to stay in. Ours had local women outside most days, sitting by the river washing clothes and drying them on the bushes outside our tent.
We enjoyed the bird watching trips and the boat trips up river.

Room Tip: The tents are best and take 'mossie' stuff.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank boxtree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Been to Bird Safari Camp? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Bird Safari Camp

Address: MacCarthy Island | Central River Region, Janjanbureh, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Central River Division > Janjanbureh
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Janjanbureh
Number of rooms: 10

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing