Gambia boat trips

Cruises on The River Gambia

Please note our trip prices include all meals and entrance fees, however, alcoholic and soft drinks are not included.

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.

  • Boat trips on The Gambia River
  • The River Gambia
  • Gambia boat trips
  • 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 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.

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    February 20, 2022

  • 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

    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  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  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  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  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

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