In the early morning hours, we set off to Banjul, where we will cross the river with a ferry to reach Barra. From there, we head to the border of Senegal. In less than one hour's drive from the border, we will reach Toubacouta, where we will spend the first night.
You will visit:
Toubacouta is a beautiful and calm town located on the Saloum Delta in the central Senegal region, near The Gambia's border. It is considered Senegal's hidden gem and offers a more tranquil atmosphere for those who would like to relax along the water or watch the birds while still being immersed in Senegalese culture.
After checking in at the accommodation place, we take a walk around the town to visit the cultural centre, spend some time at the shops with beautiful handmade products, and we might even meet the town's mayor.
After delicious lunch, we board a boat to the Ile de Sipo or Sipo Island. Meet the new chief, the son of the queen of Sippo who passed no long ago. We take a 30 minutes bush walk among beautiful sub-savanna flora to the other side of the island to learn about fish conservation, which is said to bring 33 species of fish back to the area.
Our next stop is shell island or Ile de coquilles. We will visit the ancient baobab tree and get a magnificent view of the mangroves and Toubacouta from the top of the island. The island is a man-made formation entirely built from shells, which served as a burial ground for the settlers of the area in the past.
Just as the sun begins to set, we slowly paddle around Bird Island to see various species of birds nest for the night. Birds found a naturally formed safe space on the small island of mangroves, where they seek shelter.
We return as the sun sets on the water
After breakfast, we board a boat for a 2-hour drive amongst beautiful mangroves to the Island of Dionewar. The island without a car. Most commuting is done by horse cart. Life on the island is unspoiled, and the beach is sandy, paradise-looking, private and never crowded. It can give a feeling of spending time on a lonely island.
After lunch in a beautiful eco-lodge where we will spend the night, we have time to relax or enjoy the beautiful unspoiled beach.
When the sun loses its power, we take a horsecart ride to join the ladies from the village at their work in the community gardens. We will meet the village alkalo (chief) and learn about the formation of the settlement. We continue our way while admiring the shell mounds' beautiful scenery and return just in time to witness the incredible sunset on the sea.
After dinner, we emerge ourselves in the cultural exploration of the Serer ethnic group, which predominately lives here. Wrestling tradition is strong among Serers, and although it used to be a brutal and violent form of preparation for the war amongst the warrior class in the kingdom of Sine, the practices are still kept today solely for entertainment. Accompanied by sabar drums and traditional dance, you will feel the ancestral energy's presence.
After the traditional Serer breakfast, we take a horsecart ride to the neighbour village – Niodor. We visit the oyster processing site and be able to buy organic and natural products made by the association of ladies working in the centre.
Before we leave with many memories in mind, we will create our own souvenir with the traditional technique of tie&dye using a natural indigo dye, which is famous amongst Jolas. With wonderful rich blue and white patterned souvenirs, we return to board a boat to Toubacouta.
We reach there just in time for lunch at the beautiful La Paletuviers before we head back to The Gambia.
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 as a part of the private tour.
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 drive, ferry ride and border crossing.
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.