Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project
River Gambia National Park
Visitor Information Sheet
Commonly known as Baboon Islands, the River Gambia National Park (RGNP) is located just 300 km up the Gambia River in one of the least disturbed parts of the country. These islands offer the rare opportunity of viewing the last of The Gambia’s wildlife and lush gallery forests, while staying in both privacy and comfort.
The RGNP is also home to the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project (CRP) which was established on the islands in 1979 for the care and reintroduction of orphaned and unwanted chimpanzees. Wild chimpanzees disappeared from the Gambia in the early 1900’s, but there are now more than 100 chimpanzees living in four separate social groups on three islands.
Boat expeditions guide you through the river and estuaries where you may have an up-close but safe view of chimpanzees, baboons, red colobus monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, manatees, over 240 species of birds and many other wildlife species.
For those willing to sweat a little, take a guided trail hike through the mosaic of gallery, woodland and savanna forests on the mainland. Catch one of the most breathtaking sunrise vistas in The Gambia from the cliffs overhanging the River Gambia. Other activities include a variety of boat tours, hikes to different locations, visits to neighboring projects and simple relaxation.
Accommodations are basic yet comfortable and are designed to allow guests to appreciate the environment while ensuring our presence does not damage the wilderness. Meals are served in the water house which extends out over the river where you can sip coffee in the quiet of day break or reflect on the days adventures with a cold beer in the afternoon. Your experience is enhanced by our knowledgeable staff, personal service, and the finest meals available outside the Banjul area.
To get the most from your visit we recommend a stay of 2 nights which includes pick up/drop off by boat at Kuntaur, full board and a choice of activities custom designed to your needs and desires. We require payment in local currency (dalasis).
The CRP is a working camp which allows tourism visits from Thursday through Sunday. We are closed to the public on Monday through Wednesday in order to fully concentrate on our work. The majority of the revenue from your stay goes directly to the care and welfare of the chimpanzees with a percentage to government conservation programs and local community development.
ENJOY YOUR STAY
Visitor Rules and Policies
The Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project (CRP) is pleased to host and educate guests at our visitor facilities. Primarily a conservation and research venture, the CRP is responsible for the protection of the RGNP and the welfare of the chimpanzees residing on the islands. The health and safety of the chimpanzees as well as that of our guests is taken into consideration in every activity we do and is our highest priority. The following policies are made in reflection of these concerns.
1. Children 12 years and under are not allowed to visit.
2. If a visitor is ill he/she will not be allowed to visit the chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are extremely susceptible to human diseases; in particular respiratory infections. A human’s common cold can result in death for a chimpanzee. Please respect these risks by being honest about your health status and participating in our other excursions only.
3. We ask that you do not eat or throw food remains in your rooms or around the camp. All food should be consumed and disposed of in the water house.
4. Absolutely no feeding or unnecessary interaction with any wildlife is allowed.
5. Please do not eat, drink or smoke while viewing the chimpanzees. Keep all food and drinks out of view of the chimpanzees as this can create extreme frustration for the chimpanzees and require that we abandon viewing them. No smoking is allowed in the boat. Photographs may be taken with the flash off.
6. All activities take place within protected conservation areas inhabited by wild animals. While all necessary safety precautions are taken, the CRP is not responsible for any unfortunate circumstance derived by an encounter with the wildlife.
7. No swimming in the river is allowed.
8. We ask visitors to dress and act respectfully in consideration of local culture and customs.
9. Please inform us ahead of time of any dietary restrictions.
10. It is necessary that guests are relatively fit and healthy. During the months of March (late), April, May, and June days and at times evening hours can be extremely warm. Please consider these constraints when booking your trip. The tents are located on the clifftop with approximately 100 steps to climb.
11. Guests are expected to be prepared with torch lights, insect repellent, extra water, hats, sunscreen, rain wear (during the wet months of July through to October)and closed shoes. Purified water is available for purchase.
12. Guides and drivers are provided beds in our staff housing. Because we have limited facilities (only 2) beds are provided by the order of the date the reservation is made. If all beds are occupied facilities are available in nearby Kuntaur and we are happy to make a reservation for your guide or driver.
13. Guides and drivers are provided staff meals that will be eaten in the staff area. We are far from the coast, have limited facilities and a good amount of effort and cost goes into the preparation of meals. If guides or drivers wish to eat with the guests, have extensive visits in the waterhouse or take part in the boat tour they must pay the standard overnight lodging fee and will be treated as a paying guest. Only CRP guests may go on the boat tour – guides are required to remain at camp.
How To Find Us
South Bank (Roughly 4 ½ - 5 hours):
Follow the Trans-Gambian highway to the village of Kudang about 1 hour from Soma. Turn left at the major intersection at Kudang. Follow dirt road out of Kudang village 14 kilometers through savannah type forest and passing through five villages. The fifth village is Sambel Kunda. At Sambel Kunda take right hand turn just after the school. Follow road past the village 2 kilometers to camp parking area. There is a steep set of stairs you will need to walk down to reach the main camp.
North Bank (3 to 4 hrs):
From Barra drive 3 hours to the village of Wassu, this is about 1 1/2 hours after Farafenni. Drive out of the village 1/2 kilometer and take a right hand turn. Follow dirt road into Kuntaur. Drive past police station and hospital. Near several small shops take a right hand turn. Follow road to river side where CRP staff will be waiting for you to take you by boat to camp. If you have a vehicle a place is provided to park for a small fee. To ensure that you make the pick-up time between by 12:00 pm please leave on the 7 am ferry leaving Banjul for Barra.
Drop off and pick up from Kuntaur on the North Bank is at 12:00 pm. If more than one group is arriving or departing during a day all visitors will be taken together. For arrivals after 13:00 an additional charge of 600 dalasis will be incurred.
Transport Suggestions (all quoted prices are from 2012 and subject to change):
1. The least expensive transport option is local transport from Barra to Kuntaur. You can buy a seat for D210 or rent out a vehicle for roughly D2000.
2. A taxi driver on the northbank that we recommend is Muhamed and his number is 7094413.
3. For 4x4 high end transport Yero Bah gives excellent service. A one night trip will cost you approximately D8000 or D15000 for two nights. His number is 9908399.
4. A midrange option is Omar Bojang. He was transporting people on the south bank in his jeep for 8000 for two nights. You need to check if this price still holds. His contact numbers are 9998040, 6998040 and 3998040.
5. Musa Bah has a van for larger groups. His phone contact is 9914630.
6. MJ Barry uses a Range Rover and can be reached at 3828749 or 3023386. MJ is also an excellent bird watcher, speaks good English and is an experienced driver in Senegal as well.
If you would rather go with a tour operator who will take care of all your logistics please consider the following tour operators who serve the River Gambia National Park:
ASSET (Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism)
West African Tours
Prices and Policies
£120 /night/single occupancy, £110/night/person double occupancy
£120 /night/single occupancy, £110/night/person double occupancy
Payment can be made in dalasis at the equivalent rate of exchange of above currency
Transport to and from Kuntaur on the North Bank
Lunch and Dinner on day of arrival (arrivals are expected around 13:00)
Breakfast on day of departure (departure is at 11:30 a.m.)
One afternoon boat trip around the largest of the RGNP islands to view chimpanzees and other wildlife
Drinks are not included
Additional morning excursions available:
Village and Environmental Education Center visit: No charge
Sunrise morning hike to Chassing Cliffs: No charge
Nocturnal bushbaby walk (must be organized in advance): No charge
Raphia Bolong and Sama Boi Konko boat trip: D1000/group of 4
Boat trip around Baboon Islands: £20/per person (min 4/max 8 people)
Boat trip around Baboon Islands and lunch: £30/per person (min 4/max 8 people)
Our drinks menu
Soft drinks: Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Tonic: 50
Iced Tea/ Bissap: 35
Bottled water: 50
Perrier water: 100
Tea, Coffee: 75
A selection of South African and/or California wines: 800
For further details on organizing a visit please contact:
Phone: +220 686-8826 / 787-8827
You can view and print the brochure for the park right here.