The Gambian Reptiles Farm

My Magazine 2022/08
2 min
The Gambian Reptiles Farm is a sanctuary for Gambian Reptiles who have been displaced by human development.

The reptile farm is an institution privately owned but working with the government. The aims are to participate in research, collect data or samples, help preserve the natural fauna in the Gambia, and mainly to help Gambians live in peace with their wild population of reptiles in general and snakes in particular.

On the site, you can join a guided visit of a pretty complete collection of many Gambian reptiles. You will get information about the different animals, their biology but also their interaction with humans, and how they are perceived by the Gambians. You can even feel or hold some of the non-dangerous ones.

Most of the animals are brought in from the properties of Gambians that complain about their presence and would kill them otherwise. Most of them stay on the reptile farm for a few months and are after released in the wild, in places where they are not dangerous to humans and where humans are not harmful to them. You will also be able to see the results of the effort to reproduce endangered species of tortoises.

After the visit, you can relax and refresh with some cold beverages in their bar.

This institution operates solely on the visitors' entrance fees. By visiting, you also enable the reptile farm to allow 4000 or 5000 Gambian children to visit the farm at a given-away price. The primary mission of the farm is for the Gambians to have a more rational attitude towards their reptiles. They need to understand that most of them are entirely harmless and that even the dangerous ones can be helpful for the environment and easily avoided. If you are coming with a group, you can arrange to be a part of an expedition to make a crocodile population survey on the rivers.

The Gambian Reptiles Farm is located on the Coastal Road between Gunjur and Kartong. It is open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. The entrance fee is 300 Dalasis.

Photos by Kaja Horvat


Owner of Three Little Birds Bar and Restaurant and Co-founder of Santo Gambia Foundation
I am Elsemiek Franken, also known as Mam Jarra, a 23-year-old girl building her dream life in The Gambia. You could call me a happy girl! You can wake me up for Benechin chicken, improving lives, learning new things and adventures. My friends call me spontaneous, loyal, brave, a goal-getter and a little too much of a talker. I always need to be busy, maybe you can call it restless. I used to think that The Gambia and its 40 degrees would slow me a bit down. Not yet, hopefully, I will learn to do nothing (at least sometimes;) and enjoy it. Do you have a tip? As a child, they always called me messy; I call it creative. The Gambia brings out the best of me, for example, my creative mind. I cannot describe how this happens. Come to The Gambia, stay a bit longer and experience it yourself! I enjoy making food for everybody who walks in. You’re welcome to join! Do you want to know something or ask me a question? Please contact me on

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