Djoudj Bird National Park
Travel to Djoudj Bird National Park – Internationally Renowned Bird Sanctuary
Situated in the Senegal River delta, only 1 hour (60 km) from Saint-Louis, the Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj is a wetland of 16,000 hectares, comprising a large lake surrounded by streams, ponds and backwaters.
It forms a living but fragile sanctuary for some 1.5 million birds, such as the white pelican, the purple heron, the African spoonbill, the great egret and the cormorant. It is also one of the first spots with permanent water south of the Sahara.
The National Park of Djoudj was included on the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1981 and is reputed to be the third-most important bird sanctuary in the world. These remarkable wetlands have also been listed as a Ramsar site (international wetland conservation convention).
Even for travellers who are not avid birdwatchers, a visit to Djoudj is a must-do – if only to experience the enormous pelican colony on a Senegal River safari by pirogue motorboat.
The park is open from 1st November to 30 April, though December and January are the best months for bird-watching. The enormous pelican colony is the main attraction for most visitors – a quite memorable experience. Normally visited as a day trip from Saint-Louis, the typical itinerary includes a morning boat safari (approx. 1.5 hours) and afternoon drive to see flocks of flamingoes.
As well as Djoudj boat safaris and game drives in the park, bicycles can also be hired at the main office at the park’s entrance next to the Hotel du Djoudj.
An ideal place for lunch, the Hotel du Djoudj has a refreshing swimming pool open to non-guests who eat at the hotel.
Djoudj is only accessible by private transport (ideally 4WD) or on an organised tour. The 60 km drive north from Saint-Louis takes around 1 hour, first on a good paved road, then on reasonable quality dirt road.