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Published: March 25th 2018
On a bird watching trip
If you are a nature buff and want to see wildlife in Senegal your best bet would be to go for bird watching.
Senegalese wildlife - mainly birds and goats
If you are a nature buff and want to see wildlife in Senegal your best bet would be to go for bird watching. There are several national parks around famous for the abundant birdlife.
If you want to see other wildlife than birds in Senegal there is at least one wildlife park, Fathala Reserve, where you can see typical African animals such as elephants, giraffes, zebras and lions. When we read about that park we got the feeling that it is small park, so small that it might feel a bit like a zoo. Also the animals there have been relocated to Fathala Reserve from other parts of Africa because in West Africa they have not been roaming around in the wild for many decades. We have seen all those animals before in national parks in Kenya
(and one with a twist
from Tanzania) and Rwanda
so we felt that we didn't have any big need to see them again. The day we do we probably go back to Kenya or Tanzania again or we go to some other country well known for safaris such as Namibia or South Africa.
There are several national parks around famous for the abundant birdlife.
So in Senegal birds is the main nature attraction. Too bad for us that we are not much for bird watching. Therefore we can't really rate how good the bird watching really is. But we thought that now that we are here we don't have a choice, we have to watch at least some birds. Sometimes you have to think, "a tourist got to do what a tourist got to do".
We went on two bird watching trips, one in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary outside Saint-Louis and one in Saloum Delta National Park.
Most of the birds we saw in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary were water birds. The big attraction are the pelicans. There are thousands and thousands of pelicans in the park and the big highlight is a small island, at most 100 meters in diameter, where somewhere between 10-15,000 pelicans live. Even if birds is not your cup of tea the sight of that many pelicans is spectacular.
When we went to Saloum Delta National Park the guide brought us to see what we can describe as a night shelter for the birds on the river.
Pelican in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Most of the birds we saw in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary were water birds.
During the day the birds are spread out in the delta catching fish and other kinds of food and doing other things birds like to do. During the night when the birds sleep they prefer to do so close to each other. In the evenings hundreds of birds migrate to a sheltered cove and park themselves in a couple of trees there.
Other than the birds we saw very little other wildlife. We saw two snakes and one warthog. But we are not completely sure that the warthog was actually wild.
When it comes to domestic animals we saw some cows and in one village, Fadiouth, we even saw some pigs. Seeing pigs in a country where the dominating religion is Islam is a bit unusual. But we did see one other domestic animal which is even more uncommon - a pelican. It is possible that there is only one in entire Senegal.
By far the most common domestic animal we came across was goats. Many households had one or two goats in the backyard and more than once we saw goats in the streets.
Talking about goats
The big attraction in Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is the pelicans
we have to tell you about when we went with public transport from the city Kaolack towards Dakar. Public transport in Senegal is often a large station wagon with room for up to seven passengers and where the luggage is stored mainly on a roof rack. On this particular transport one of the other passengers decided to store a living goat on the roof. During the ride the goat had to do "number one" and when she had to go she had to go. The window in the door on the side where Emma sat didn't quite go all the way up and you can probably figure out the rest of the story yourself...
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