Jinack Island (also spelt Jinak or Ginak) is in the North Bank Region
of the Lower Niumi District of The Gambia, in West Africa. It
is located on the north western edge of the River
Gambia estuary, and is separated from the mainland delta of
the Niumi National Park
by the Niji Bolon creek. The isle, often referred to by tour operators
as 'Paradise Island' or 'Treasure Island', is a slightly curved
and tapering strip of low-lying land about 10km long; with an
interior of dry woodland and grassland, with vegetation such as
Tamarisk scrub, baobab trees and acacia. It is fringed with mangrove
creeks, tidal sand flats, saltwater marsh, low coastal dunes
and a coastal lagoon, at Buniadu Point, in the northern section.
In the winter season the isle is often visited by dolphins.
two main villages of Jinack Kajata and Jinack Niji, are in the
north-eastern end of the largely sandy isle, while the international
boundary between Gambia and Senegal runs through the northern
end of the isle. However, the local Mandinka
and Serer inhabitants move freely across
the border to Djinack Diatako, a fishing orientated village across
the border, in the
Saloum Delta National Park.
are a few holiday accommodation choices on the resort isle's coastal
fringes. There is the long established eco-retreat, located on
the beach, called Madiyana
Safari Lodge, which has 8 Gambian styled round huts, each
sleeping 2 guests. The bathing facilities are shared and there
is a bar and restaurant on site, but no generator. The other place
to stay on the seafront is Jinack
Lodge, an eco-lodge with solar power, located on an almost
deserted beachfront, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It has 4 double
and single bedroom huts, each with an ensuite shower, wash-hand
basin and toilet. The lodge also has a full restaurant and bar
service, and has set up a few hammocks on the beach. They have
no generator but have solar power instead to run all the basics.
beaches on Jinack Island are not what you would compare to say
the Caribbean; the waters are shallow at low tide, but not turquoise
blue; and because of coastal erosion sea waves lap the palm trees,
Tamarix and other scrub at high tide. At low tide the beach is
broad and flat with a slight slope, making the golden-gray sand
ideal for strolling or checking out various objects the ocean
has brought up such as sea shells and jellyfish. The occasional
cow, sheep or villager will often wonder by. Because the sea water
is generally shallow at low tide it is good
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
• Bird Watching
Island has a respectable range of bird habitats in a compact land
area and is a superb site for bird
watching enthusiasts. The habitats include mangrove
swamps, mudflats, dry woodland, salt marsh, grassland, lagoons,
dunes and beach flats. The shallow waters just after the north
shore provide superb feeding grounds for gulls, terns, and other
piscivorous species which roost in significant numbers off
Buniadu Point, on the northernmost shore and its coastal lagoon.
The area is frequented by European migratory birds wintering here.
some of the bird species recorded here are Great Egrets, Storm-petrels,
Slender-billed Gulls, Goliath Herons, Ospreys, Abyssinian Rollers,
Royal Terns, Purple Herons, Senegal Parrots, Slender-billed Gulls,
Red-billed Hornbills, Royal Terns, Beautiful Sunbirds, European
Spoonbills, Yellow-backed Weavers, Greater Flamingos, Pelicans,
Rose-ringed Parakeets, Laughing Doves, Greater Blue-eared Glossy
Starlings, Northern Red Bishops (f), Green Wood-hoopoes, Senegal
Thick-knees and Little Bee-eaters.
• Boat Cruises
can sometimes be arranged with your
ground tour operator however, you can go to Denton Bridge
and hire a boat to take you on a day trip. Some of the fishing
ground tour operators will already have tailor-made packages that
includes Jinack. While there it is easy to rent an African pirogue
(narrow canoe) with rower, to take you around the various bolongs
(creeks) and between the mangroves. Beware that most don't supply
life jackets so this kind of trip is not for non-swimmers.
• Dolphin Spotting
between December and January schools of bottlenose dolphins can
often be seen swimming off the coast or even escorting your boat.
Less conspicuous off the coast are the Atlantic Humpbacked
Dolphins (Sousa teuszii).
• Eating & Drinking
There are a number of beach bars along the beachfront of Jinack
Island. You can also readily visit bars and restaurants in the
various lodges. Consider also the place known as the Kayira
Beach Resort. where they serve African dishes, BBQs on the
beach along with a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks. There
is also the Camara Sambou Beach Bar - Tel no: 7789295.
• Nature Treks & Wildlife Spotting
are lots of paths around Jinack Island, so just take along appropriate
equipment and clothing. You might be lucky to spot various monitor
lizards, mongoose, vervet monkeys, bushbuck, wildcats and
even snakes! However, most species of snake in Gambia aren't poisonous,
but be alert.
• Sports Fishing
With good rod and tackle there are a number of fish species you
can catch within the mangrove creeks by canoe as well as offshore
deep sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. Among some of the fish
species are Red Snapper, Shads, African Threadfin and Mullet.
To arrange a trip you would need to visit Denton
Bridge, in Banjul, and arrange for a day trip to cruise and
explore the mangrove creeks or using a more modern power boat
to fish off the Jinack coast.
• Visit the Local Villages by Donkey
Because there are no taxis on the island, and only a few tour
operator owned vehicles, one of the few forms of transport is
by donkey powered cart. This is often an enjoyable and unique
experience, moving slowly through rural paths, taking in the sights
and sounds of nature at a leisurely pace. You can of course also
walk to the villages of Niji and Kajata, and see how local people
live, and maybe visit the local school.
• Visit Senegal
The easiest way to go to Senegal is to get to the northern most
part of the island which has the international boundary cutting
across it. Villagers move between the boarder with impunity, however,
as a tourist you should beware of your visitor status and holiday
insurance conditions, lest something unexpected occurs. The safer
option is to arrange this with Jinack
Lodge who organise day-trip excursions into the Fathala
Wildlife Reserve in Senegalese, which is approximately
6,000 hectares of protected forest park. You can also spend the
day sampling restaurants, tourist craft markets and experiencing
a little Franco-African culture.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
is fairly safe during the day. In the evening do not venture beyond
the immediate vicinity of your lodgings alone at night, and have
a few torches handy.
Though there are numerous cannabis farms here it is still illegal
in Gambia. Don't be tempted.
TRAVEL INFORMATION & HOW TO GET THERE:
get to Jinack Island you hop onto a boat ferry
from the Banjul ports area to
Barra. From Barra you then take
a taxi heading towards Fass, then go
left at Kanuma into the nature park. There are a couple of villages
in the area: Kajata and Niji. It is possible to make a day-trip
there from Kololi resort if you set
out fairly early in the morning. The most convenient and easiest
way is to go by power boat which can be hired at Denton
Bridge in Banjul's Oyster Creek.
*When coming to the resort you need to know
what to pack. There are no supermarkets and stores around
and all the 'modern' conveniences are provided by your lodgings
within the area.
*Other common spelling variations of the island are: Jinnak, Ginack
& Lodges Map
[Geographical coordinates 13.1833° N,
16.7667° W / Kombo South, Western Region]