SPOTTING AND PHOTOGRAPHING IN GAMBIA ..... WHICH PERIOD DO YOU CHOOSE BEST
Is there a bad period to go to The Gambia or Senegal? Actually no, because every period has its charms.
From the green grass in the rainy season to the arid fields in the dry season? You can photograph all year round, and yet every month is different.
Whatever month you go in, it is our job to make sure that all opportunities for a successful trip are maximized.
Below we briefly describe what it's like and each month of the year.
The rainy season is coming to an end and The Gambia is becoming drier and less humid. Due to the still high humidity averaging 50% to 65% it can be very hot at times but many of the species are still in breeding plumage and many young have recently fledged which is a big plus in terms of numbers and species. Nature in The Gambia at its most beautiful and very green in October. During this period there are also many butterflies, insects and more chances of chameleons.
Rainfall: Nil I Temperature during the day: between 26° and 31° I Temperature at night: between 20° and 23°
November is less humid and the temperature is more comfortable than in October. The migratory birds from the north and south are gradually arriving in The Gambia, so the number of species is large and varied. Until mid-November, you can still see birds in breeding plumage. The grasses are still green and the flowers still attract many butterflies.
Rain: None I Temperature during the day: between 26° and 31° I Temperature at night: between 19° and 22°
The dry season is underway, and the temperature is very pleasant. Cool in the morning, warm during the day and cool in the evening. There are many migratory birds from the north and south present during this time along with the resident birds so there are many species to spot and photograph.
The grasses turn yellow due to the drought, which makes for beautiful backgrounds when you photograph.
Rain: None I Temperature during the day: between 25° and 30° I Temperature at night: between 17° and 19°
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY
The climate is becoming drier, which means that more birds of prey can be seen. Migratory birds are still present in January, but they begin to migrate away around early to mid-February. During the dry period, more birds migrate to the water holes. The grasses are colored yellow, which provides beautiful backgrounds when you photograph. The water in the Gambia River is low, which is ideal for photographing the hippos inland.
Rainfall: None I Temperature during the day: between 26° and 31° I Temperature at night: between 16° and 18°
MARCH, APRIL AND MAY
March, April and May is the dry season, it is hot and dry but pleasant in the morning and evening. The dry season means that the birds seek the remaining water holes and there are more birds of prey present. Many birds migrate towards the coast where it is slightly cooler. During this period we do not go too far inland so that we can take advantage of every opportunity for success. The water in the Gambia River is low, which is ideal for photographing the hippos inland. Let us know if you are interested in spotting hippos.
Rainfall: None I Temperature during the day: between 27° and 32° I Temperature at night: between 19° and 21°
Officially in the rainy season but in recent years there has been hardly any rain in June. The birds get ready for the breeding season, and June is thus a transitional period when birds are a little harder to spot. Staying near the cooler coastal areas is more likely to be successful.
Rain: 8 days on average I Temperature during the day: between 28° and 32° I Temperature at night: between 21° and 23°
JULY AND AUGUST
In July, the breeding season really gets going and Gambia turns beautifully green after a few rains. The birds sing and display themselves in their full splendor. Insects and butterflies abound and chameleons show up more often. Despite the rain in July and early August, this is our favorite time. Mainly because you see many species you rarely encounter in the other months. Sometimes it can rain solidly for several days, with dry periods in between. Sometimes it doesn't rain for more than a week ... as we know, the weather is unpredictable! Keep this in mind if you are a photographer deciding to come to The Gambia during the beautiful rainy season.
Photo left: Red-troated Bee-eater in march/april I Photo center: Abyssinian roller in December/January I Photo right: Little bee-eater in May/June