Africa’s longest running chimp rehabilitation centre located in the River Gambia National Park.
The Gambia River Boat Trips
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One of the major rivers in Africa, The Gambia River runs the length of the smallest country in Africa, the Gambia. The river is over 1000 km long with it's source at the Fouta Djallon plateau in Guinea where it meanders west and pours out into the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul in the West African country of The Gambia.
Most visitors to The Gambia tend to stick pretty close to the costal resorts, which is a shame considering that there is so much more to The Gambia than just beaches. The best way to travel inland is to take a boat trip up the Gambia river which for about half it's length is navigable.
|Hidden Gambia Holidays
Having been on a holiday with Hidden Gambia, I can highly recommend one of their adventure holidays.
Why not spend a few days as I did relaxing on one of Gambia's best beaches and then go off the beaten track to explore up-river Gambia by boat and road. Here you will discover the rich variety of birds, wildlife and people that live along the river banks of this peaceful West African country. More information & To Book
Gambia River Boat Trip Options:
Hidden Gambia Holidays
Hidden Gambia Holidays specialise in holidays taking you up the river, off the beaten track by boat and road and offer 7 and 14 night trips that will take you 200 miles (320km) inland to their base at the Bird Safari Camp from here you can explore the freshwater habitat of the Gambia River National Park and hopefully see hippos, Nile crocodile, monkeys, baboons and chimps. You can also arrange to stay at Badi Mayo and visit the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project.
This is also an ideal location for bird watching as well as fishing, where you will have the opportunity to fish for one of the worlds most ferocious fresh water fish, the Tigerfish!
The great best thing about Hidden gambia holidays is that they will pick you up and drop you off at the airport, and almost everything is included in the price, so they take away a lot of the hastle and worries about traveling in Africa, especially if this is your first visit.
Example of a 7 day Hidden Gambia Holiday itinerary:
Day 1 - You are picked up from Banjul International Airport and taken to your accommodation on the coast, you get to choose between a selection of great small hotels / guesthouses on the coast including the Safari Garden bed and breakfast in Fajara, Paradise Inn Lodge, Tanji or Footsteps Lodge in Gunjur.
Day 2 - An early start as you are picked up from you accommodation on the Gambian coast at around 8am and travel by car to Bintang which takes around 2 hours. From here you aboard the Safari Queen which takes you through the creek and onto the main Gambia river to Tendaba Camp. The boat trip on the river Gambia takes around 2 hours and you are provided with a packed lunch. Look out for osprey and bottlenose dolphins along the way. You will stay overnight at the Tendaba Camp, where you can go birdwatching or just relax by the pool.
Day 3 - You can decide to take a short boat trip to the Bao Bolong Wetland reserve, The Gambia's largest protected area and home to the rare West African manatees, Sitatunga (antelope that lives in the marshes), crocodiles as well as hippo. You will also see some of the best birdlife that the Gambia has to offer including the African Fish eagle with the "call of Africa", wooly necked stork, goliath heron, brown necked parrot, and the fairy blue flycatcher.
Later on you will climb back aboard the Safari Queen and continue further upstream to Farafenni. Waving goodbye to the Safari Queen, you then travel along the new north bank road to Kuntaur (via Kau-ur and Panchang Wetlands). From here it is back onto the Gambia river where you will travel aboard the the Lady Hippo, a traditional Gambian pirogue. You get a cooked lunch onboard the 4 hour long Gambia river cruise, during which time you pass through the fresh-water habitat of the River Gambia National Park and the Baboon Islands, which is home to the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project.
Whilst you may have a chance to spot some chimps from the boat, the best way is to spend a night or two at the chimpanzee visitor camp called Badi Mayo at the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project. Also look out for hippos, baboons, Red Colobus and Green Vervet monkeys and the Nile crocodile. Birds may include Hadada Ibis, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Grey-headed Kingfishers and African Fish Eagle. You will then arrive at MacCarthy Island also known as Janjanbureh Island before sunset, and spend the night at the Bird Safari Camp before dusk.
Day 4 - Today you have the choice of traveling further inland to Basse which is a small trading town and enjoy lunch overlooking the river. Birds to look out for here include Carmine bee-eaters and Egyptian Plovers (between June and February) You could also visit the the breeding colony of Red-throated Bee-Eaters at Bansang quarry. At dinner, join in the drums & dance by the camp fire at the Bird Safari Camp.
Other choices for the day include:
- At sunrise go for a guided bird walk in the wooded area behind the camp
- Take the small boat into Georgetown to buy some ingredients at the local market with a guide and than cook a typical Gambian lunch in the open air.
- Fish from the jetty (no charge) or hire their boat and try to catch a Tiger Fish.
- Walk, cycle or take a boat into Georgetown
- See the palm wine tappers at work and have a taste!
- Canoe across to the other side of the river Gambia and visit a typical rural village and then return to the Bird Safari camp on a donkey & cart.
- Learn to play the Djembe with Sam. A djembe which is pronounced jen bay is a skin covered drum.
- Learn about Georgetown’s colonial past with Mr. Manka who is the former primary school headmaster.
- Or just relax by the pool and watch the varied birdlife.
Days 5 and 6 - You stay both nights at the Bird Safari Camp, but you have the choice of sleeping on the Lady Hippo, near the end of the island or you can stay at the camp in either your safari tent or round hut. During the day you can go birdwatching or take part in some of the ideas mentioned on day 4.
Day 7 - You leave the Bird Safari Camp at 9am and arrives in Kuntaur at approx 10am. You will then meet up with anyone who decided to sleep on the the lady Hippo or who stayed at the Chimpanzee Project.
About a 30 minute drive from Kuntar is Wasu, you can visit the ancient stone circles. The Drive then takes you back to Farafenni which takes about 2 hours where you then climb back onto the Safari Queen which takes you on to Bintang where you are then met and driven to the coastal accommodation of your choice in time for dinner. ( Safari Garden bed and breakfast in Fajara, Paradise Inn Lodge, Tanji or Footsteps Lodge in Gunjur.
Day 8 - You are collected from your beach lodge accommodation and taken to Banjul International Airport.
The prices include everything except for flights, drinks and tips.
From: £759 for the 14 night trip
From: £525 for the 7 night trip
Hidden Gambia Ltd. is a UK registered company.
For bookings and enquiries
Hidden Gambia Holidays
Skype tel. number +44 (0)121 288 4100
email: info at hiddengambia dot com
Shorter boat trips on the river Gambia
If you have already booked a package holiday and are staying at a resort on the coast, you can still organise shorter trips on the Gambia river.
Sunset Cruise or Bird and Breakfast river cruise.
Enjoy an early morning or late afternoon boat trip on a dugout canoe or larger boat, exploring the mangrove creeks of the Tanbi Wetlands not far from Banjul. You will probably make a stop at Lamin Lodge, a popular triple story bar / restaurant which from the top level offers incredible views of the area. Whilst for most people this excursion is well worth trying, but is probably not recommended for the more serious wildlife enthusiasts as you may feel that there are just too many people making too much noise.
A trip like this is easy enough to make and you can probably do so through your hotel. For more independent travelers, you can arrange a private boat trip from one of the smaller operators at Dento Bridge and will probably cost around D1000 for a half day trip.
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Cheap Airfares Gambia
With many flights to the Gambia from all over the UK and Europe, I have found the best way to check for the cheap deals is to search on websites that compare many different airlines.
Lastminute.com has some of the cheapest flights to the Gambia as well as some great deals on Gambia Holidays: (Links open new window)
> Cheap Flights to Gambia
> Holidays to the Gambia and Late deals
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