|As far back as the time of Hannon the Carthaginian in 470 BC, The River Gambia has attracted visitors to its magnificent estuary, and its meandering waterways. It is no different today.
There are many different excursions designed to give the tourist a good feel of The Gambia. There are land-based tours, river trips and mixed excursions. Many of the excursions are conducted in the coastal area but others take place in rural Gambia. There are also round-trips to neighbouring Senegal. Check with your tour rep on how to join any of these trips.
Please remember to take plenty of camera film, sun tan lotion, insect repellent, and sunglasses. Bottled water and soft drinks are available on most organized tours.
Official Gambian Tour Guides
The Gambia Official Tourist Guides Scheme was established in 1997 in consultations with all tourism stakeholders. A group of young and talented youths were recruited and trained to be freelance tour guides with a strict code of conduct to show visitors around the and gives them a real feel of Gambian experience. The objectives of the scheme are to improve visitor experience by enhancing guest-host encounters, improve economic livelihood development and create jobs to reduce poverty and minimize hassling of tourists. Read More..
Find Your "Roots"
THE WEST COAST REGION
Coastal Excursions (Half-day Orientation Tours)
There are many variations of this trip but it is generally a half day tour of Banjul and surrounding area, covering visits to the National Museum, Banjul Market, Arch 22, Serrekunda Market, the batik and tie-and-dye factory in Serrekunda, Bakau Craft Markets and the legendary Katchikally Crocodile Pool.
The Abuko Nature Reserve & Brikama Wood Carving Centre
Walk through the jungle of Abuko Nature Reserve to see the hyenas and other animals in the nursery, crocodiles in the pond and the monkeys and birds in the trees. You will need at least two hours for a visit. Then proceed to the Brikama Wood Carving Centre to observe craftsmen at work. Lunch may be at the picturesque Lamin Lodge.
Creek Tours / River Trips / Fishing Trips
"Birds and Breakfast"
A peaceful and relaxing day out on the creeks or around bolongs (river tributaries) of the River Gambia is not to be missed. Most creek tours and fishing trips start off from Denton Bridge or Lamin Lodge, but local camps in the rural areas along the river also organize such tours. The sundeck of your pirogue will give you a good view of the mangrove swamps; the birds and the women who are often seen harvesting oyster from their dug out canoes. You may also catch fish large enough to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records! Enjoy the sun and the tranquil waters of this great and historic river.
This is a popular excursion, inspired by the historic epic, based on the classic novel of the tragedy of the slave trade and triumph of freedom, a full circle, inspired by Alex Haley’s bestseller and movie “Roots”.
The long and drawn out saga commenced in rural Gambia, in a village called Juffureh, and tracks almost five generations across the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the USA, and back. The Gambia’s little known continuation is steeped in this true story of survival, love of country, people and freedom immersed in strong linkages of tradition and culture still seen today. Although slavery has long been abolished, the ancestors and direct descendants of the hero and of many other extracted Africans in the Diaspora can be found today. Kunta Kinteh’s trail can still be followed from his birthplace in rural Gambia.
A converted yacht takes you on a three and a half hour journey to Albreda – a former French trading post. Then a 15 minute walk to the village of Juffureh – Haley’s ancestral home where you will meet a descendant of the Kinteh family. You will see a slavery exhibition in the museum before reboarding your boat and the continuing journey to the former slave fortress of James Island. On the return journey, you may be allowed to swim with the dolphins!
UP COUNTRY GAMBIA
There are safari style camps located up country throughout The Gambia, mostly along the river or one of its tributaries. These camps provide good, basic accomodation and an excellent base to explore the country.
This camp located nearly 165 kilometres from Banjul is one of the first tourist camps in rural Gambia. It is situated on the banks of the river that meanders in front of woodlands, which have plenty of birds, bush hogs and other wildlife. Tendaba offers bush safaris, river trips, village tours and entertainment. Rooms are comfortable with cooling fans, a generator, two bars and a restaurant. There is also a swimming pool within the camp, conference facilities for meetings. There is even a crocodile pit, where one can see these ancient animals in their slumber. Do not miss the Bamboo Bar at night.
Formerly called ‘Georgetown’, this is one of the oldest towns of The Gambia. The old ‘second’ city of colonial days is the administrative headquarters of the Central River Division.
It is situated on the island of Janjangbureh, which still has relics of The Gambia’s colonial past. There are a number of camps around the island and visits normally include a trip to the prehistoric Wassu Stone Circles – a megalithic site believed to be a burial ground thousands of years ago. The trip sometimes includes a journey by river from Sapu or Kudang to Janjangbureh where hippos can be seen wallowing in the river and on the muddy banks.
Basse and Bansang, two towns further up the River Gambia can also be visited.
Bush and Beach Safaris / South Gambia
Different operators have different names for this full day tour using 4-wheel drive land rovers or mini-trucks. You will visit small fishing villages and experience life in the rural areas. This is a good opportunity to see monkeys and the rich bird life of The Gambia. Several hours are spent on the beach where a picnic lunch is taken before returning to your hotel. Drive back tracking the stunning African sunset.