River Gambia National Park
River Gambia National Park
4.5
About
Five flat islands comprise this national park, which is also known as Baboon Island. Primates are plentiful, as well as reptiles and birds.
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles117 reviews
Excellent
79
Very good
31
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5
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2
Terrible
0

moonmoth88
London, United Kingdom80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This was the highlite of my trip. Staying in the tent & waking up early to watch the sunrise over the forest. Hearing and seeing all the birds and monkeys nearby waking up to the day was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Wood Hoopoe gathering in trees beneath were I sat - beautiful. .Trips along the river to see the chimps, hippos and birds was wonderful. The tents were comfortable & clean. Stella is an inspirational host, our guides friendly and knowledgeable. The project offers hope for any one interested in wildlife conservation. The steps are steep, especially if you forget your keys in the lodge and have to do the journey twice in a row :)
Written 2 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jens H
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Had a great experience with a friendly local guide Aladin from Gambia River Tours. made a beautiful trip among oyster fishermen in the mangroves of Gambia. we will definitely come back!
Written 17 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
The National Park "BABOON ISLANDS" is a group of 5 islands in the middle of the river Gambia and such a fantastic place to stay. A once in a life time expedition if you stay at the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project with the English woman Stella Brewer who is the Director of the National Park and who has placed the chimps there after rescuing them from poachers etc since the late 1960's. The chimps live on three of the islands, a total of 74 chimps in all as they are breeding very sucessfully.

We booked our recommended minimum two night stay with TILLYS TOURS, the only ones you can book with and they really are a great company based in Gambia who also do a lot to help the local people. Their standards are very high and they do some real exclusive tours that you can not get in the hotels. It also helps knowing its run by an English person so you know the standards are going to be high and that you are not going to get ripped off.

We crossed to the North bank of the river on the local ferry then travelled about 4 hrs by road through the country seeing much of the local culture as we went. the driver and guide were fantastic too and happy to stop at our request for photo's etc. We were met on the river at a place called Kunter Woo by Stella Brewer in her boat and transfered up river for about an hour while Stella told us what we could expect and generally got to know us a bit better. The jungle sceenery was fab and we even saw some Hippos and loads of birds during our boat ride.

We arrived at what was called "THE WATER HOUSE" which is the camps bar and dining room. It was so lovely and the staff brilliant. After a cooling drink we were shown to our accomodation which was up quite a few steps, high in the jungle over looking the river itself. The sceenery was spectacular and the tented / stilted accomodation was far far more superior than we had expected. Just four lots of accomodation so this place was really exclusive.

We sat getting to know each other in the water house over lunch and then around 4pm we went out on the boats again but this time around the islands following the feeder boat. Because there is so much competion from the resident Baboons for food, the Chimps need to be fed supplimentary foods hence the name the "feeder Boat."

Although not able to get on land with the chimps you are litterally just a foot or two away from them. Its just so amazing and surely as good as visiting the chimps in Uganda for a fraction of the price. Stella named all the chimps and could recognise each and every one of them, it made it all the more special that she was with us throughout our stay. We spent a few hours with the chimps before heading back to the water house. We were all so high from this magical experiance. On the way back the sun was begining to set and we saw so many Hippo's it was unbelievable and the birds that are in the area are fantastic to see even though we were not bird watchers.

We had dinner together with Stella who was asked so so many questions by the group which she did not mind at all. After dinner we opted to watch a documentary made about Stella and her life with the Chimps which was great. Then off to bed in this awsome accomodation but not before a night cap under the stars on our balcony over looking the river.

The next day after breakfast we visited the local village by donkey and cart, saw the Holy Man and the Chief of the village as well as spending time at the Horse and Donkey charity which is in the village, again just such a wonderful experiance in itself. After lunch we went on a guided walk but once again the high light was going out to see the chimps around 4pm. Over breakfast the next day Stella told us about the Adopt a Chimp scheme which most of us took on. Sadly it was time to leave this totally magical place and return by boat and road back to the coastal area.

This really was a once in a lifetime trip which I would highly recommend to anyone. Not cheap at £350 per person but the money raised goes back into the chimp project so I did not mind at all and is a whole lot less than you would pay to do the same thing in Uganda.
Written 3 May 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Buzznsmoo
226 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
We spent 3 nights at the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project and loved every moment of it. The safari tents are comfortable and roomy and the outdoor shower was a joy once the water had warmed up, don't worry your modesty is protected. The food was included, simple but delicious, chicken yassa or honeyed vegetables with rice or couscous and there is beer and wine reasonably priced. There is no electricity so we took torches, but the solar lamps are excellent so torches weren't needed.

However, the reason we went was to see the chimps and we were not disappointed. Everything else was just a bonus. We had a trip out every evening and saw so much wide life, crocs, hippos, monkeys and loads of chimps, it was fantastic. We took advantage of the excellent guides and went on walks and another boat trip and it was all so worthwhile.

Although facilities are simple and it is a steep walk to the tents everyone was good fun, knowledgable and the project is doing so much work within the community to everyone involved. Being able to see everything we did, talk to the staff and sleep amongst the jungle hustle and bustle really felt like a privilege. The whole experience was a dream.

A big thank you to Lisa, Ali and all the staff at CRP.
Written 26 March 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

daftmare
Northern Ireland, UK200 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
I have just returned from the Gambia and spent £350 on a two night trip to see the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project on the River Gambia. Booking this trip was difficult with information hard to get and conflicting as to whether the place was closed or not. Tillys tours came to our rescue and we booked the trip through them. Their guides Ebou and Baz were fab and on top of seeing the chimps, really made this trip worthwhile. The problem with lack of information about the place is shrouded in mystery since Stella Brewer who founded the Trust died three years ago. Her legacy appears to have been wiped from the whole place even though she is buried on Baboon Island. There is absolutely nothing to do at the camp other than the afternoon boat trips to see the chimps. Matthew the american manager offers very little in the way of hospitality and information about the whole history of how the chimp rehabilitation trust came into existence and why it is now called chimp rehabilitation project. Obviously a lot of politics and egos going on that sadly means not a nice atmosohere in the place. So much so that the Gambia pony and Donkey Trust that is run by Stella's sister Heather suffers as a result. It is a 2 km walk from Baboon Island and Matthew actively tried to put me off going by saying I wouldnt't get a good welcome etc. I have to say that I received the warmest welcome from Heather and her team with them making me coffee and telling all about the different ponies and donkeys they have there and how they work very closely with all the locals on how to care for their animals. Inspirational and I was there for over 3 hours.

If u want see chimps and the donkey sanctuary do go but for only one day. Two days due to lack of input from the project means there is very little to do with no alternatives. Food is very basic and not worth the money with accommodation in the guesthouse extremely poor. The tents are better but involve a steep climb up and down Also it seems to help if u r american or a member of the amerucan peace corps!! Such a pity as I was so looking forward to seeing Stella Brewer's legacy having read all about her only to find that if I hadn't mentioned her name Matthew wouldn't have mentioned it either. All seems petty.
Written 30 December 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul W
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom14 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Friends
My best advice is not to stay at the Chimpanzee project itself, At over £100 a night it is simply over priced. Better to stay at the nearby Kairoh Gardens (a bit rough n ready but only £7 a night) in Kuntaur and take a trip with a local boatman or stay at one of the many lodges in Janjanbureh (Georgetown) which is 35 mins away by bush taxi.
If you can, find the boatman Nfally at Kuntaur jetty, he is a superb guide and is excellent st spotting all types of wildlife from rare birds to monitor lizards. He also knows all the best places to spot hippos and if you are lucky a crocodile or two. The best time to go is to leave from Kuntaur at 2.30pm, the chimps are fed by the park rangers at 4pm and often come to the edge of the island at this time. Make sure your camera is fully charged!
Written 22 January 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

YuriAxel
Helsinki, Finland17 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
Staying two nights at the Chimpanzee rehabilitation project and loved it. My wife is not really a big nature-goer, but this time we both enjoyed the stay a lot. The experience is probably the wildest thing you can have without nothing to worry about and minimal hazzle regarding the fact that we are in Gambia. The scenery is straight from the black and white Tarzan movies. We saw hippos, chimps, little monkeys, bush pigs, different colored king fishers, pelicans, vultures, baboons... And so many birds we don't have a word to in Finnish. There are big termite nests, brightest night sky, huge Baobabs and cosy tents with their own shower and good beds with mosquito nets. Food was simple and tasty. Guides were helpful and informative. The boat trip to smaller side river was magical, highly recommended even with the small extra cost (hey, you travelled this far!). The only minuses are the long and exhausting car rides you need to get there and back. And the nearly +40celsius temperatures, which peaked between 2pm and 4pm. Then you could only wait for the heat to pass. This was by far my best experience on our trip to Gambia.
Written 14 March 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WarreB
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Friends
Went to the Baboon Islands this weekend and I was truly amazed by how beautiful this place is. If you have spent some time in the tourist area of The Gambia, an 2-day trip to Baboon Island shows you the true beauty of The Gambia. Already the ride to the place is worth it. We took the Southbank route, which took us for 4hours through a very nice scenery and nice villages.
The accommodation itself is basic, but comfortable. The food is basic local cuisine, but is prepared with a lot of care.
One of the highlights of the weekend was of course the boat trip to see the chimps, but the day after we took another excursion which was a combination of a boat trip and a small hike. This boat trip shows you the beautiful nature of the river and the hike brings you to amazing cliffs overviewing the river and the national park. Also you get to see the rice fields of the local community, hippo's, a wide range of birds, etc. during the trip. All well explained by the very capable local guides.
I would definitely advise to go for a 2-day trip.
This is a must-do when you're in The Gambia!
Written 13 February 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Caroline S
London, UK3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016
On arrival at the project we were greeted by the friendly and welcoming manager Kelly, who showed us to our amazing safari tent, perched high on a cliff overlooking the river Gambia. A few moments later a huge troop of baboons crashed through the forest in the valley far below us, with a few climbing up into the trees, giving us a perfect view of each other!! This was just the start of many fantastic wildlife encounters during our brief stay. Unfortunately we could only stay one night, but we really wish it had been more and would highly recommend a longer stay. The boat safari to see the chimpanzees was the highlight of our visit to the Gambia! We saw many individuals and small groups, and got some amazing photographs, including that of a first time mother chimp cradling her baby lovingly. The staff at the project were lovely, friendly and knowledgeable and our boat man and guide pointed out so many bird species, crocodiles hidden on riverbanks and told us the names of the chimpanzees we saw. We also saw hippos, green monkeys and red colobus monkeys - overall an amazing experience for wildlife enthusiasts and a fantastic place to visit to experience a successful rehabilitation project.
We plan to return again one day...thank you Kelly and all the staff for an amazing adventure!
Written 10 March 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AlecBourne
Italy17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I'm just recently back from a trip to The Gambia. It was quite an experience. For past few years now about this time as winter gets particularly heavy, we head to our local travel agent and pick a low cost location for a bit of a break somewhere warm.

This year, we were presented with The Gambia and I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised. The people there are particularly friendly and welcoming. We met a large number of people that were returning for their third or fourth visit. One particular woman was on her 17th return!

Things are very well organised around the Senegambia Hotel. This is a particularly touristy area, and you have to take it with a bit of a grain of salt. Yes you'll be asked 100 times if you need a taxi, but the folks are not overly insistent, and genuinely look to help you instead of just sell their wares.

For Obama's swearing in ceremony I was very warmly welcomed into a hut on the roadside, where we all cheered his swearing in. Great moment.

On our last days, and I do regret only having a week's stay, we arranged a trip upriver in the hopes of seeing some wildlife (in the wild). We were running out of hard currency, and getting money from credit cards can be quite expensive with the usual 5% surcharge. We went to the official tour guides hut outside the Senegambia, where you have a great group of guys who talk the talk, and actually walk the walk. We agreed a good price with Alieu Touray. (Alex 118) He was very professional, yet very light hearted at the same time.

The trip upriver by car to Georgetown was great, we were able to stop when we wanted, but were anxious to get along. The next morning we headed further along and Alex arranged a boat to head out and look for Crocs and Hippos.

I'd read up about these, and knew that the chances of seeing hippos and crocs in the wild were pretty slim. The day was really heavily overcast with a lot of dust in the air, not ideal for photography! To our surprise, we ran into 8 Hippos, and 3 crocs, many many birds, a huge monitor lizard, Chimpanzees, various other monkeys, several snakes. It was really a great end to a full week.

The villages along the river rounded everything out. I'd highly recommend this trip to anybody interested in nature and photography... the opportunities abound, and a guy like Alex is just what is required to get to these remote areas without having to worry about a thing. My lens a 75 - 300 was being particularly difficult this trip, the autofocus has pretty well much gone now, this is perhaps my 6th major trip to the bush with it... I'd strongly recommend taking a decent lens for a trip like this, say a Canon 100-400 IS L series and plenty of filters, it's not easy finding such situtions in the wild, so take good gear with you.

You can find Alieu Touray easily enough on facebook. Had I known this before going I'd have arranged an even longer personalized trip on the river. Oh well next time!

Happy travels.
Written 26 January 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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