Bao Bolon Wetland Reserve
The Bao Balon is the Gambia's largest national park. It is a site of world importance recognised as such by UNESCO.
Flora and fauna
Birdwatchers from all over the world visit and over 400 different species have been recorded. look out for the magnificent Kingfishers and the imperious fish eagle.
Travel by boat from Tendaba on the southern bank. Trips can be organised from Tendaba camp or for a cheaper deal wander around to the village pier and ask for Faye who besides having is own boat is an expert birdwatcher.
Foot Safari of Kiang West National Park Although you may be able to catch a truck safari tour from the Tendaba Camp, it may not be available or perhaps too pricey for your budget. If you are healthy, and not afraid of a hearty walk, do not miss an independent safari by foot. A private boat can be hired for as little as 300 dalasis from the Tendaba dock, which will take you in 35 minutes to a point which can be seen from the dock.
From that point, you can walk within 30 minutes to the Batteling Water Hole which is the closest to the point. It is slightly tricky to get to because there is no clear trail, only footprints, so be sure and get the boatman to direct you toward it. It is just to the west of a slight ridge across some salty looking flats. The Batteling Water Hole is not like a pond or lake, but more like small marshy ponds where the water table is at the earth's surface. There is a fairly new little viewing house that is painted a green color that does not necessarily blend in. This is a good thing because it will help you find it. In Jan 2014, a couple was rewarded with the sight of pretty birds, an antelope, and a very large troop of baboons. From this viewing house you can walk on a well-worn road eastward around to the Jalanding Water Hole within 15 minutes. Please note that the Jalanding Water Hole is actually the closer hole to Batteling Village.
Jalanding Water Hole is more like a large pond or small lake. It also has a small viewing house on a rise overlooking the hole. Unfortunately, the view is somewhat obstructed with vegetation which needs to be cleared by the park rangers.
If going without a guide, it is highly recommended to make this safari as early as possible in the morning in order to catch wildlife at their most active, avoid heat, and prevent being caught out after sundown. After noon, you must pay strict attention to the clock or you can risk being caught out at night. You should leave Jalanding Water Hole NO LATER THAN two hours before sundown headed southeast for Batteling Village on the well-worn road. It is very important that you leave Batteling village NO LATER THAN one hour before sundown. The trail northeast to Tendaba Camp is well-worn, but it can be easily lost in darkness. It is highly recommended to take a flashlight just in case you need it to maintain the trail if caught out after dark.
A good hat is a must because the sun is brutal. Take plenty of drinking water and binoculars if you have them. Carry MATCHES just in case you are forced to stay out overnight. It can get quite chilly, and a camp fire could make the hours until daylight warm and friendly.
Please note that you could make this safari without using a boat ride drop off at the point. This will of course require more time and of course a lot of back tracking. The advantage is that it will make you familiar with the way back, whereas the boat drop off will not.
This is arguably a better option than the truck safari tour in that you are probably less likely to scare the wildlife, it can be cheaper, and you will get good exercise. In any event, it is a way to get a safari even if there is no truck safari option.