Langue de Barbarie National Park
Travel to Langue de Barbarie National Park – Sea Birds & Sand Peninsula on the Senegal River
To the south of Saint-Louis is the Langue de Barbarie National Park, an Atlantic refuge for birds and sea turtles, which gather here to breed.
The Langue de Barbarie National Park lies south-west of the Guembeul Avifaunal Reserve, about 25 km from Saint-Louis.
It consists of a 20-km length of intertidal flats and sand-dunes on a spit formed across the mouth of the Senegal river. It includes both marine and riverine (brackish) waters. The terrestrial part of the park is formed by three main islands, the Ile de Gandiole being the largest. The vegetation on the infertile sandy soils is Sahelian in composition and provides a habitat for numerous bird species.
The 2000-hectare National Park is zoned and managed by a conservator and staff, and access is restricted to prevent disturbance to breeding birds. As with many West African parks, conservation management efforts are limited by a lack of funds. The site is close to the town of Saint-Louis and as a result of this it attracts significant numbers of tourists and birdwatchers.
Attractions in Langue de Barbarie National Park
The park is a delight for birdwatchers when from November to April migrant species arrive from Europe, swelling resident numbers. Sea birds are numerous and include Grey-headed and Slender-billed gulls. Other commonly seen species include pelicans, herons, egrets, terns, ducks and flamingoes. The sandy peninsular can be explored on foot, but the best way to experience the park is on a local motor boat pirogue safari.
Chill out at Campement Ocean and Savane, a simple lodge-style place to stay with its own beach and pretty log cabins that sit on stilts over the River Senegal. The food here is reputed to be excellent!
Private transfers can be arranged to various locations in the park by motorised pirogue or other small boats. The park lies due south of Saint-Louis, some 25-km away.