Baobolong Wetland Reserve
Travel to Baobolong Wetland Reserve – Gambia’s Largest Nature Reserve
Baobolong Wetland Reserve is located on the north bank of the Gambia River, opposite the Kiang West National Park, and is Gambia’s largest nature reserve. There are various types of wetland habitats for birds including tall swamp mangroves, scrub, creeks, salt and tidal mudflats, freshwater and brackish marshland, estuary as well as savannah forest.
The area is also an important breeding ground for fish due to its patchwork of waterways. Rice farming by the local inhabitants of nearby villages also takes place here. The fauna of Baobolong includes Clawless otter, Nile crocodile, West African Manatee, hippopotamus and Sitatunga.
Covering an area of 85 square miles, the reserve is of international importance as the government signed the Ramsar International Wetlands Convention in 1996, which re-enforced it as an important birdwatching spot.
Baobolong Reserve consists of six major bolons between Salikeni and Katchang. It is a valley which stretches over a length of more than 140 kilometres from the border south of Ferlo towards the River Gambia. The valley crosses the Senegalese territory at Marlene and penetrates the Gambian territory through Illiassa.
The significance of Bao Baobolong lies in its distinct ecosystems – mangrove forest, salt marsh and savannah woodland. The three occur in very close proximity at several locations. Baobolong’s mangrove ecosystem provides an important fish breeding ground and its tributaries are important sources of fish. Local communities also obtain fencing and roofing materials from the area
Birds are a major attraction for visitors of Baobolong Wetland Reserve.
The best way to explore the reserve is from the River Gambia by boat, and to wind slowly up the bolons through the mangrove until the surrounding land rises and the mangrove gives way to a mosaic of marsh, salt-flats and dry woodland. The drier areas can then be accessed by foot. On the journey up through the bolons, travellers may see crocodile basking on the muddy banks, or the slide-marks from where they re-enter the water. Clawless otters occur throughout the reserve and can prove quite inquisitive when encountered.
Further upstream, warthog, hyena and jackal may be seen in the drier areas. Access by road is available from Konti Kunda Niji where a laterite track leads south along the base of the escarpment to the west of the bolon. From the escarpment edge excellent views are to be had and it is a good location from which to scan for wildlife. Other access points by road include Katchang to the east, Njaba Kunda to the north and Salikene to the west..
The best way to experience this wonderful maze is by boat arranged at Tendaba Camp.
- Navigate the waterways of Baobolong Wetland Reserve, a notable bird sanctuary
- Discover protected aquatic mammal species
- Explore one of the most important nature reserves in the country