Gambia boat trips

River adventures

Cruises on The River Gambia

Sleep onboard and cruise along The River Gambia with FairPlay Gambia boat trips.

FairPlay Gambia specialises in boat trips, we are a social enterprise Gambia river cruise business based in Janjanbureh, Central River Region. We operate one authentic Gambian pirogue (The Fula Princess) as a private charter providing exclusive Gambia boat trips & river tours around Janjanbureh and beyond. We also offer local kayaking and multi-day kayaking expeditions from Basse to Banjul using homestays, camping and lodges along the way.

Our unique River Gambia boat trips take guests off the beaten track, and deep into the heart of rural Gambia, giving a unique glimpse into the traditional lifestyles and cultures of this fascinating West African country. Because we are a private charter, our boat trips can move at your pace and because you are in a small group, you will meet the community in a way that is not possible on a typical package tour.

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  • The River Gambia
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  • Sleep on The Gambia River
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  • Photography on The River Gambia
  • Gambia boat trips

The Fula Princess

The Fula Princess is a traditional Gambian pirogue that sleeps four people in two full-sized double berths below, with the option of sleeping under the stars on the upper deck. 

She is equipped with a marine toilet, a small sit-down shower, a galley, solar lighting, charging and refrigeration and all the required safety equipment.

Packages include three delicious onboard meals per day, cooked by our own excellent chef. You can join him as he does his shopping at the local markets and even lend a hand in the kitchen if you’d like to learn more about Gambian cooking.

Meals will mostly be Gambian classic dishes, cooked to European tastes with the finest and freshest ingredients available.

Whenever possible we use locally grown organic produce and avoid chemicals and processed foods in our menu. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are available on request.

As a private charter, our trips are flexible around the time available and your interests. Click here to see some of our sample itineraries.

Gambia boat trips
A toast to a wonderful boat trip!
Gambia boat trips
This is Kumba Dinding ( our tender )

The River Gambia

The River Gambia runs from its source in the Fouta Jallon highlands, 1,120 km to the Atlantic Ocean at Banjul. The last approximately 420 km of which are in The Gambia. It contains or supports some of the most pristine environments in West Africa. These include The River Gambia National Park and the Bao Bolong Wetlands. 

The freshwater habitats of the River Gambia around Kuntaur and Eastwards are home to Hippos, Nile crocodiles, Turtles, Warthog, Hyenas, African clawless otters, monitor lizards and four species of primates including Guinea baboons. The saltwater habitats nearer to the coast have two species of dolphin, saltwater crocodiles and even manatees. The country as a whole boasts a huge diversity of bird species for its small size.

From pre-colonial days until recently, the river was the main route for people/goods travelling to and from the provinces. These days tarmac roads have replaced the bush tracks and the bus service has replaced the riverboats. Leaving the river unused apart from a few fishermen and the peanut barges that still carry the annual harvest downriver.

River Gambia National Park (RGNP)

Gambia boat trips
The chimpanzee rehabilitation project

The River Gambia National Park is situated to the West of Janjanbureh and was established in 1978.

It includes the five ‘Baboon Islands’, three of which are home to more than 80 chimpanzees.

The animals have been rescued from the illegal trade in exotic species as part of Stella Marsden’s Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project and now live undisturbed on the islands.

While it is not permitted (or safe!) to land on the islands, it is possible to walk on the mainland with the park rangers to look for the endangered Temminck’s red colobus monkeys and to learn more about the rehabilitation project.


As a social enterprise, FairPlay strives to ensure that our style of ecotourism brings benefits to the local community. And minimises damage to the environment and supports the development of The Gambia as a whole. We believe in people over profit. Employing local people as far as possible and always on fair terms. We try to use local, sustainable products whenever they are available and prioritise ethical suppliers in our purchasing decisions. 

We’ve been involved in supporting various projects in and around Janjanbureh. These include bee-keeping training, forestry projects, educational sponsorship, kayaking training for local youths, football academies and much more. Want to know more? Or would like to involve yourself with a community project in the area, we can also arrange volunteer placements.

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Read our reviews for TripAdvisor and Facebook

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    Kim Bowskill Avatar Kim Bowskill
    January 4, 2021

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    May 29, 2018
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    December 3, 2021

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    April 3, 2017
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    February 17, 2018

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    January 11, 2021
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    January 9, 2020

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    February 20, 2017
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    February 9, 2019

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    December 31, 2020
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    November 8, 2018

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    February 20, 2022
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    Vincent Gauci Avatar Vincent Gauci
    June 19, 2019

  • star rating  This january we did book the "Chimps & Hippos" rivertrip on the Fula Princess. It was absolutely a great experience! We did see both the Chimps and the Hippos,... read more

    avatar thumb SimoneZoom
    January 31, 2023

    star rating  Geweldige rivier cruise op de Gambia, niet te missen! - Fijne trip op The Gambia. Onze river-cruise op de Fula Princess met een overnachting was bijzonder de moeite waard!
    Mooie riviergezichten, met veel natuur en beesten (ja ze zijn... read more

    avatar thumb 783fransv
    February 3, 2023
  • star rating  What better way to birdwatch on the River Gambia than on board a traditional Gambian boat such as The Fula Princess? Six of us enjoyed this trip, with two sleeping... read more

    June 29, 2019

    star rating  Still looking for an extra wow experience for your Gambia trip; the RiverGambiaNationalPark trip last January with the Fula Princess was ours.

    Despite the disclaimer, we saw them all:... read more

    avatar thumb JosV-MarK
    February 6, 2023
  • star rating  I took a one-night cruise on the boat from Bintang to the Senegambia bridge at New Year's 2023. On the first afternoon we saw lots of dolphins. The dolphins were... read more

    avatar thumb brandonpsenegal
    February 8, 2023

    star rating  We joined the Fula Princess and crew at Janjanbureh and decided to head up stream as I had never been this far up The Gambia River.

    The river here... read more

    April 20, 2022
  • star rating  Had the trip of a lifetime up the River Gambia from Bintang to Janjanbureh. Starting early from Turntable in the camper van we reached Bintang and boarded the beautiful authentic... read more

    February 9, 2020

    star rating  We thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night stay aboard the Fula Princess on the river Gambia from Bintang to Janjanbureh. The very professional crew were excellent - nothing was too much... read more

    June 28, 2019
  • star rating  We have had 2 truly fantastic experiences with this brilliant team - our first being a kayaking trip down a stretch of the river Gambia seeing lots of wildlife and... read more

    April 28, 2022

    star rating  The Gambia was a gem among gems in my world travel, and finishing my trip with an overnight boat excursion with Fair Play was a great way to cap off... read more

    avatar thumb Kris3232
    December 27, 2022
  • star rating  I cannot express enough what a wonderful trip we had with Fair Play Gambia. Yousufa, our chef, Chris, our guide, and Ibrahima, our captain were all lovely people to spend... read more

    May 1, 2021

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