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. Our first stop to enjoy morning coffee is at the Tendaba camp.
We continue our journey across a new bridge that brings us to the northern bank of The Gambia. Here we 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 next stop is for lunch in the village of Kuntautr. 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 a short drive between rice fields, we arrive at the point of crossing the river with a ferry that takes us to the historic village of Janjabureh, where we will spend two nights.
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 head to Jamali Village with a slightly different means of transport. This village 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 return to Janjanbureh for lunch. After brief rest, we join the tie&dye workshop, where we will create our personalized souvenirs while learning about traditional skills.
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 Liberty Tree, the Methodist Church and be present for the process of making silver jewellery at the silversmith's workshop.
After breakfast, we head back and stop at the Ndemban village, a Jola village on the river's south bank, no more than 45 minutes drive from Brikama.
After a delicious traditional home-cooked lunch, we greet the alkalo. We take a tour through the women's gardens and head to the river, where we will see the process of cleaning and preparing oysters for selling at the market and learn about the process of salt production by a traditional method.
Our next stop is under 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.