Yusuf and Modou , both marvelous persons , full of details , delicious food and kindness.
The boat is the best and the river is just a dream , at night you can see all the constellation and millions of shining stars ,
One of the most beautiful trips I have done.
Thank you Dave , Yusuf and Modou.
David was very helpful in arranging everything and even showing me around the local spots (definitely go to Bendula’s bar!) on my rest day in between. Great chance to meet some real characters!
FairPlay Gambia also source everything from the local communities, providing employment to some great local guides, putting every much needed dalasi into local communities.
If you want a genuine, once-in-a-lifetime adventure with lots heart and soul, this is it!
A big thanks particularly to David and Che!
We also took a mangrove tour in the smaller boat. The upriver mangroves are very peaceful and clean, with lots of African darters as well as various types of cranes. I am not a birding person but even I enjoyed the opportunity to observe an unspoiled habitat like the mangroves.
The crew are consummate professionals. Special recognition goes to Mr Camara, the chef on the boat, who is an absolute wizard. I have no idea how he works his miracles with a shipboard kitchen, but I can say without a doubt that the meals he prepared were the best that I had in Gambia. Absolutely amazing!
Despite the disclaimer, we saw them all: crocs, hippos, chimps and baboons. Lots of chimpanzees and baboons.
The friendly crew will do everything they can to give you a fantastic trip. The captain brings you as close as possible to everything, the cook prepares delicious meals with fresh vegetables, fruit and in our case fish. And the guide helps you with everything and makes sure you don't miss anything.
Many thanks again to everyone at the Fula Princess and we hope to be back.
FairPlay Gambia has developed an exciting range of eco-tourism things to do upriver in Gambia for visitors to the Central and Upper River Regions.
Based in Janjanbureh, we specialise in providing tailor-made, authentically African experiences for solo travellers and small groups looking to get off the beaten track.
We visit areas where the traditional culture is still strong and modernisation has not changed lifestyles.
Our guides are from the local community and they are always happy to share their traditional knowledge of the river, the bush and the villages with you.
And because we are a social enterprise business, you can enjoy your trip safe in the knowledge that you’re making a valuable contribution to sustainable development.
A Gambia River Cruise
A residential Upriver Gambia cruise onboard the Fula Princess takes you deep into the heart of rural Gambia.
Falling asleep to the sounds of the nighttime river and waking up to the spectacular African sunrise is an experience that you will never forget. Along the way, you will have a unique glimpse into the traditional lifestyles, culture and nature of this fascinating country.
Because we are a private charter, we can design the trip around your particular interests and move at your pace. And because we specialise in small groups (maximum 6 guests), you will enjoy a rich and immersive experience of The Gambia.
The Fula Princess is a traditional wooden pirogue, with two full-size double berths downstairs and options for sleeping under the stars on the upper deck. She is equipped with a galley, marine toilet, sit-down shower, solar lighting and charging points and all the required safety equipment. Read more…
Local Boat Trips in our Small Boat
Round the Island – Two to three hours trips around the beautiful nature of Janjanbureh Island, looking for hippos, baboons and other primates.
1 – 4 People: £45and 5 – 10 People: £70
River Gambia National Park – Six-hour round trip to see the Chimpanzees at the River Gambia National Park and a chance to spot hippos, crocodiles, baboons and other primates. Depart Janjanbureh at around noon to see the chimpanzee feeding and return as the sun sets and the wildlife is most active.
1 – 4 People: £90 and 5 – 10 People: £120
Or travel in style onboard the Fula Princess and enjoy comfortable mattresses, cooked lunch and toilet facilities. Private charter day trips to the River Gambia National Park from £295 including lunch and entry fees
We have had 2 genuinely fantastic experiences with this brilliant team - our first being a kayaking trip down a stretch of the river Gambia seeing lots of wildlife and camping overnight. Today we returned from a 24-hour cruise on board the Fula Princess - 4 of us with the superb FairPlay Gambia team. Seeing hippos (including a whole family stretched out on the bank) was an experience of a lifetime as countless other wildlife along the way. The crew couldn't have been more hospitable - delicious food, a comfy bed with nets (on the top deck) and interesting conversations. Fairplay Gambia stood out to us as a social enterprise helping to support local communities which was wonderful to see.
I would thoroughly recommend this great organisation for individualised and exciting trips into the heart of Gambia!
Workshops in local arts and crafts
Traditional skills are still very much alive in rural Gambia. So whether you’re interested in learning about African music, cooking, pottery, silversmithing or traditional fabrics, FairPlay can organise single-day or multi-day workshops with local artists who are happy to share the secrets of their trade.
DRUMMING-COOKING-POTTERY MAKING-SILVERSMITHING-TIE N DYE/BATIK MAKING-LOCAL FISHING
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)
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.
Our latest blog posts
- Self-drive to JanjanburehThinking of hiring a self-drive car? Thanks everyone for the great response to the public transport …
- Public transportWe often get asked about public transport from the tourism enclaves at the coast to our …
- The story of the dead cowCows in Gambia, there’s no waste in nature! I apologise in advance if my story offends …