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Package holidays to The Gambia (flight + hotel) are typically based at a large mass-market beach hotel which means you'll miss out on much of the wildlife that is waiting for you to discover up-river. The freshwater parts of the Gambia river are especially interesting, but you won't reach here on a 'day trip' away from your hotel! Far better to split your time between the coast and up-country more equally, travel by boat and see some of the river wildlife en-route.

Here are some pictures that give an impression of the birds, wildlife and river landscapes you are likely to see when you join us on one of our Discover the River trips to The Gambia. Photographic opportunites abound - you can find more Gambia photos on our Flickr pages.

N.B. Please note that some of these photos are copyrighted - please ask for our permission if you wish to use any of these pictures.

Abyssinian Roller Giant Kingfisher Northern Carmine Bee-Eater Egyptian Plover (Crocodile bird) Woodland Kingfisher
Northern Red Bishop Termite Hill Callithrix monkey
Palm tree river island, near Bird Safari Camp Village kids near Bird Safari Camp
Birdwatching at Bird Safari Camp Palm tree river island, Gambia River National Park
Cruise the Gambia river River cruises onboard the Lady Hippo Hippos in the Gambia river Watch the wildlife as you cruise up-river The Safari Queen
The relaxed pace of life, tropical climate, easy accessibility (only 6 hours flight from Europe - no jet lag) and some of the friendliest people on earth make The Gambia an ideal holiday destination. Cruise up the Gambia River onboard the Solar Queen (Africa's first solar powered boat!) and Lady Hippo (our traditional Gambia pirogue) and see chimpanzees, monkeys, hippos and the rich variety of colourful birdlife.
Little Bee-Eaters Malachite Kingfisher Verreaux's Eagle Owl (a.k.a Milky Eagle Owl) Palm-nut Vulture Shikra
Chimpanzee picture Baby chimpanzee West African river landscape, near Bird Safari Camp Chimpanzee photo Chimpanzee safari
Fishing on the Gambia river Tiger fishing in The Gambia A tiddler! African tiger fish Tiger fish mouth
Stay at a peaceful riverside lodge; try your luck at fishing, go birdwatching or simply relax in the warm tropical climate well away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
River tent Safari tent view from inside River safari tent Bird Safari Camp tents African mud hut (with some creature comforts!)
Safari tent by boat River fishing Fishing the river African music Tiger fish - 3 lb off the world record!
River sunset Hibiscus by BSC pool Bird Safari Camp swimming pool Refreshing swim at Bird Safari Camp Bird Safari Camp restaurant
At Bird Safari Camp (300km inland) the river is fresh water and the vegetation and wildlife is very different to that at the coast. There are plenty of opportunities for meeting the locals: learn to play the Djembe; visit a typical rural village and see how life here has remained unchanged by the passing of time; go shopping in the local market and try your hand at cooking a traditional Gambian meal.
Bird Safari Camp buffet table Cool verandah at Bird Safari Camp Play the Djembe! Preparing dinner Dug out canoe
Fibreglass boat River sunset Boats at Kudang, The Gambia Fibreglass boat at Tendaba Fibreglass boat (6 people max)
Explore the river Boat coming from Georgetown Learn to play the drums with Freddie & Musa Go shopping at the market Sleepy Georgetown high street
At Tendaba Camp (155km inland) the river is still partially saline and it is here that you will find some of the tallest mangroves in West Africa. The Baobolong Wetland Reserve is of particular interest to birdwatchers although the outstanding wealth of birdlife here will enthrall anyone with an interest in nature and wildlife.
Baobab tree Baobolong Wetland Reserve (opposite Tendaba Camp) Tendaba Camp accommodation Tendaba Camp view from restaurant Swimming pool at Tendaba
The fearsome nightwatchman at Bird Safari Camp! Planting trees at Bird Safari Camp Sifting through the locally grown rice Marrakissa (near the coast) River trees
Tendaba Camp restaurant Gambia Beach Bird Safari Camp family Shopping and cooking trip River at Marrakissa
The Gambia's coastal area also has lots to offer: Visit the nature reserve at Abuko; discover some of The Gambia's unspoilt beaches in the south of the country; visit Tanji Village Museum; see the sacred crocodile pool at Kachikally or spend a relaxing day at Makasutu Culture Forest.

Important! You do not need to stay at one of the big, impersonal hotels on the Gambian coast. If you book with us, you can choose between any of the following small, friendly hotels or ecolodges - Lemon Creek Hotel in Fajara, Hibiscus House in Brufut, Farakunku Lodges near Tujereng, Footsteps Ecolodge in Gunjur, or Boboi Beach Lodge or Sandele Eco-Retreat in Kartong in the south of The Gambia. Getting to The Gambia is easy and to save you money, we've made it very simple for you to find the best deal on your Gambia flight.

Paradise Inn Lodge, The Gambia Paradise Inn Lodge hammock Paradise Inn Lodge hut Safari Garden Hotel bar Safari Garden Hotel entrance
Tanji Village Museum weaver Fish smoking at Tanji Djembe lessons at Safari Garden Batik making Dancing at Makasutu
Safari Garden Hotel pool Turtle shells at Tanji Village Museum Musical intruments at Tanji Village Museum Tanji beach Marrakissa
For more information on visiting The Gambia, please visit our Plan your holiday section now or Contact us. We hope you enjoyed these Gambia photos!

You can choose from the following small hotels/lodges at the coast:

Each of these accommodation options has its own special charm and none features in any mainstream package holiday brochures. They attract an interesting mix of travellers with an independent spirit who seek a "friendly, clean and comfortable" base in a pleasant location with good company.

Click on the logos for more information.

Swimming pool Distance from beach Board basis Supplement (pppn)
Single Double
Lemon Creek Hotel, Bijilo Tick Directly on the beach B&B £15 £0
Half board option: £10 pppn
Footsteps Eco-lodge, Gunjur Tick 30 mins walk B&B £15 £0
Half board option: £10 pppn
Nemasu Eco-lodge, Madina Salaam Directly on the beach B&B £15 £0
Half board option: £10 pppn
Farakunku Lodges, Tujereng Tick 45 mins walk; free transfer by car B&B £20 £5
HB (recommended) £30 £15
Hibiscus House, Brufut Tick 15 mins walk B&B Garden room £35 £15
Cassurina £40 £20
Hibiscus Suite £50 £30
Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong Tick Directly on the beach Guest rooms HB £40 £30
FB £50 £40
Lodges HB £55 £45
FB £65 £55
Jinack Lodge, Jinack Island Directly on the beach FB £12 pppn
+ boat & vehicle transfers £55 pp

Jinack Lodge, Jinack Island

Jinack Lodge, Jinack Island - View details

Jinack Lodge - beach Jinack Lodge - rooms Jinack Lodge - Amadou
Lemon Creek Hotel, Bijilo

Lemon Creek Hotel - View details

Lemon Creek Hotel, The Gambia Lemon Creek Hotel - swimming pool Lemon Creek Hotel - room
Hibiscus House, Brufut

Hibiscus House, Brufut - View details

Hibiscus House - swimming pool Hibiscus House - restaurant Hibiscus House - room
Farakunku Lodges, Tujereng

Farakunku Lodges, Tujereng - View details

Farakunku Lodges - restaurant Farakunku Lodges - accommodation Farakunku Lodges - plunge pool
Footsteps Eco-lodge, Gunjur

Footsteps Eco-lodge, Gunjur - View details

Footsteps Eco-lodge - fresh water pool Footsteps Eco-lodge - restaurant Footsteps Eco-lodge - accommodation
Footsteps Eco-lodge, Gunjur

Nemasu Eco-lodge, Madina Salaam - View details

Nemasu Eco-lodge - beach Nemasu Eco-lodge - accommodation Nemasu Eco-lodge - bicycles
Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong

Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong - View details

Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - plunge pool Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - lodge interior Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - Kartong beach
Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong

Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong - guest rooms

Compare these with the more upmarket lodges.

Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - guest room lounge Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - guest room bed
Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong

Sandele Eco-retreat, Kartong - lodges

Compare these with the more modest guest rooms.

Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - lodge exterior Sandele Bay Eco-retreat - lodge interior
Tendaba Camp, Kwinella

Tendaba Camp (155km inland) - View details

Tendaba Camp - Jetty Tendaba Camp - African huts Tendaba Camp - Restaurant
Bird Safari Camp, Janjanbureh

Bird Safari Camp (300km inland) - View details

Bird Safari Camp - Riverside tents Bird Safari Camp - Swimming pool Looking downstream from the Bird Safari Camp jetty
Click here for a map of the island...

Bird Safari Camp, Janjangbureh

MacCarthy Island

Bird Safari Camp - MacCarthy Island
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Chimpanzee Project, River Gambia National Park

Chimpanzee Project - View details

(180 miles inland)
Chimpanzee sanctuary Chimpanzee Chimpanzee tent
Solar Queen boat, The Gambia

Bintang Creek (80km inland)

The Solar Queen Bintang Lodge Bottlenose dolphins, The Gambia
Tendaba Creek

BaoBolong Wetland Reserve (155km inland)


Kau-ur Wetlands (160km inland)


Kaur swamp Malachite Kingfisher Egyptian Plover
Lady Hippo

Kuntaur Jetty (260km inland)


Baboon Islands

Baboon Islands (River Gambia National Park)


Chimpanzee Pied Kingfisher
Red-Throated Bee-Eaters

Bansang Quarry (310km inland)


Basse (360km inland)

Women washing clothes View of river from Traditions Northern Carmine Bee-Eater
Gambia map

Lemon Creek Hotel Hibiscus House Farakunku Lodges Footsteps Eco-lodge Nemasu Eco-lodge Sandele Eco-Retreat Boboi Beach Lodge Bird Safari Camp Tendaba Camp BaoBolong Wetland Reserve Bintang Bolong Lodge Jinack Lodge Kuntaur Jetty Kau-ur Wetlands Baboon Islands Bansang Quarry Basse Lemon Creek Hotel Nemasu Eco-Lodge Farakunku Lodges Sandele Eco-retreat Chimpanzee Project Bird Safari Camp Footsteps Eco-Lodge Hibiscus House Boboi Beach Lodge Bintang Bolong Lodge Tendaba Camp Jinack Lodge