See the trail route:
In the early morning hours, we set off on a long journey towards the country's interior. The pleasant route offers us many opportunities to observe the countryside. Local villages, thatched roofs and fences made of stakes or reeds near the mosque and, in some places, schools and authentic sub-savanna vegetation conjure up an image of authentic Africa.
We stop in Jarra Soma for a short coffee/tea break at the local restaurant before we continue our journey across a new bridge that brings us to the northern bank of The Gambia.
Our lunch will be at the beautiful Kaur with the view over the valley.
Our next stop is in Njau, where we will learn about the amazing women's initiative for recycling and a wonderful project of tree replanting.
Next, will stop at the village of Wassu, where we will see the Gambian Stonehenge, 11 megalithic circular stone structures. The city became a national monument in 1995, and in 2006 it was added to the UNESCO list of natural and cultural heritage.
Our last stop for the day is in the village of Kuntaur. From here, we take a boat trip on the Gambia River to spot the mysterious Ninki Nanka. Apart from the dragon-like creature, this is the natural environment of the hippopotamus; the most dangerous African animal, many species of colourful birds and different types of monkeys. With a bit of luck, we will also be able to observe chimpanzees, which are part of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project, living on one of the three islands on the river.
After dinner, we spend the night in a tranquil environment just next to the river.
After breakfast, we head to Jamali Village, which boasts a strong tradition of cultural preservation. A charming reception with an invitation to exchange knowledge of dance steps will take us to another era.
Villagers from the Fula tribe will invite us to learn about their way of life. They will show us how they prepare their most popular breakfast, rice and peanut pudding. We will visit the head of the village, the woodcarver, and the local garden, where you can try out your skills in agricultural work. Before leaving, we will taste delicious porridge served in traditional dishes.
We cross the river with a ferry that takes us to the historic village of Janjabureh, where we check in to our accommodation place for the night.
After lunch, we go for a 2 hours exploration around the island by kayak.
The late afternoon is dedicated to exploring the culture and history of Janjanburreh. With a local guide, we will visit the Kankurang Center and learn about the famous masks of the local tribes. We will visit the holy place with a strong spiritual meaning for the local population; the sacred baobab. We will learn about the history of the Liberation Tree and be present for the process of making silver jewellery at the silversmith's workshop.
After dinner, you are in for a cultural blast with the performance of the famous Kankurang, the masquerade of the Mandinka tribe with spiritual powers.
After breakfast, we will visit the rice fields of Kerewan Samba Sira, meet the alkalo and learn about the project of the solar lights installation.
After a brief village visit, we will head back and stop for a delicious traditional home-cooked lunch at Ndemban, a Jola village on the river's south bank.
It's time for some skill learning!
We will join the tie&dye workshop, where we will create our personalized souvenirs while learning about traditional skills.
We will also participate in and learn about the process of salt production by a traditional method.
We take a stroll to the river, where we will see the process of cleaning and preparing oysters for sale at the market.
Before leaving, we stop under a very low bantaba, where we will instantly sense the scent of smoke. In the shade provided by a cabana made of wooden stakes covered with fan palm leaves, we will learn about the importance, work and life of the blacksmith.
We return home in the evening hours.
Ninki Nanka trail offers many variations and combinations of activities. Check other options under Trips and activities. You can always send us your suggestions of which activities you would like to do, and we will create a completely customized tour for you.
The trip is easy to moderate. The most activity expected from you is when you have to board a boat. It will include some walking, but there will be no serious activity. The most demanding part is the long drive and the heat, which intensifies as you move deeper inland.
We recommend bringing sun protection (headwear, long, lightweight clothes, sunglasses, sun cream) and mosquito repellents. Make sure you bring enough water (you can also buy it on the way) and some snacks if you get hungry quickly. Pack everything you need for a two nights stay. We recommend comfortable wear.
The trip is organised by the Insitute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia (ITTOG) in collaboration with Ninki Nanka Encounters (NNE).
ITTOG specialises in hands-on training mainly in the Travel and Tourism sectors with special emphasis on travel agency, tour operations, tour guiding, ground operations, events management, entrepreneurship/business skills development, responsible/sustainable tourism, community-based tourism, and general tourism business management.
NNE Foundation is a small, new Gambian charity and UK community interest company (CIC) working towards the responsible development of the Ninki Nanka Trail as a community-based tourist destination.
They work on projects with communities, tourism businesses and local government to develop experiences, products and community-based tourism designed to create inspiring, cultural interaction between travellers and local people and use tourism to create livelihood opportunities for host communities along The River Gambia.
We do believe it's time for another adventure. Don't spend all of your time in The Gambia in one place. Go out and explore! There are so many beautiful experiences waiting for you. Let us help you pick one - and take care of all the rest.