Gambia boat trips

Cruises on The River Gambia

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

FairPlay Gambia is a social enterprise 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.

  • The River Gambia
  • Sleep under a Gambian night sky
  • Sleep on The Gambia River
  • The Fula Princess galley
  • Breakfast
  • Exclusive river experiences
  • Photography on The River Gambia
  • The hidden beauty of Gambia

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, small sit-down shower, 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 will be able to 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.

Our Gambia boat trips

Our three river cruise itineraries each offer guests a distinctly different experience, but all with the same beautiful accommodation, great food, and a friendly, professional crew.

Janjanbureh to The River Gambia National Park:

Dip your feet into an overnight boat trip with all the best of the wildlife and some local experiences on Janjanbureh Island.

Janjanbureh to Bintang:

This section of the river offers a chance to see all of Gambia’s best wildlife and unbeatable birdwatching. It takes in the River Gambia National Park, Wassu Stone Circles, and Bao Bolong Wetlands. Add a speedboat ride and an extra day to include James Island and Albreda / Juffereh.

Janjanbureh to Basse Santa Su:

Follow in the footsteps of explorer Mungo Park for a truly off-the-beaten-track experience. Only FairPlay visit the riverside communities of Sami Karantaba (from where Mungo started his expeditions) and Diabugu Tendala – a two-compound village at a riverside crossing point. Guaranteed to be a truly authentic experience!

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.

Ecotourism

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

Read our reviews for TripAdvisor and Facebook

  • in 14 years of visiting Gambia, our trip was the best we have ever done. Lovely journey up river, staff were brilliant and tiger fishing a big bonus for hubby.

    Maria Lavender Avatar Maria Lavender
    January 9, 2020

    Daves very knowledgeable and vast experience accommodating bespoke trips/ travellors in Gambia. He sources local Gambians setting up their own tourism initiatives -a highly ethical Eco tourism ethos. His staff... read more

    Angela Clare Bush Avatar Angela Clare Bush
    February 17, 2018
  • For those looking to minimise their negative impacts on the environment of pur beloved Gambia the Fula Princess is a better choice for you. I know the guys working... read more

    Mustapha Debbal Bah Avatar Mustapha Debbal Bah
    April 3, 2017

    I had the pleasure of training this social enterprise in First Aid, they must be one of the top companies for following Health & Safety, I had 3 nights on... read more

    George Carruthers Avatar George Carruthers
    December 31, 2020
  • My wife and I had a memorable and pleasant experience on the Gambia River on boat the Fula Prince. We do recommend it.

    Vincent Gauci Avatar Vincent Gauci
    June 19, 2019

    awesome with faith play .

    Modou Mbarody Sanyany Avatar Modou Mbarody Sanyany
    December 3, 2021
  • The best experience we have had since we arrived in Gambia! Great team and great company! Feel free!!

    Sergi Avila Juan Avatar Sergi Avila Juan
    November 8, 2018

    FairPlay organized for us the most amazing 2,5 week itinerary in Gambia! Highly recommended if you want a tailor-made authentic Gambian experience! Below are some of our many highlights of our adventure... read more

    Andrew Stevens Avatar Andrew Stevens
    February 20, 2022
  • The 4 Days River cruise on the Fulla Princess was a beautiful experience. I did quite some traveling in my lifetime but this amazing trip with Fair play was surely... read more

    Amadou Bah Avatar Amadou Bah
    January 11, 2021

    Great experience and a nice time

    Mike de Keyser Avatar Mike de Keyser
    February 9, 2019
  • If you want to go see the real Gambia this is the trip for you,the lads on the boat look after you all the time and are a great bunch,I'm... read more

    Matthew Cheshire Avatar Matthew Cheshire
    February 20, 2017

    An experience every Gambia visitor should do. This adventure will provide you with memories to last a life time and will having you wanting to return time and time again

    Kim Bowskill Avatar Kim Bowskill
    January 4, 2021
  • I checked out the Fula Princess on the water while at Janjanbureh and spoke to Dave a couple of times although I didn't end up travelling on this occasion due... read more

    Ashwin Raghu Avatar Ashwin Raghu
    May 29, 2018

  • 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

    gambia3
    May 1, 2021

    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

    B4452BNmeganw
    April 28, 2022
  • 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

    OspreyWatcher25
    June 29, 2019

    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

    djiggler
    June 28, 2019
  • 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

    browmark
    February 9, 2020

    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

    MinxyJo
    April 20, 2022

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