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
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
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 for swimming.
See also Kayira
Tourist Attractions & Things
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
Among some of the bird species recorded here are Great
Egrets, Storm-petrels, Slender-billed Gulls, Goliath
Herons, Ospreys, Abyssinian Rollers, Royal Terns, Purple
Herons 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.
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.
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.
the Local Villages by Donkey Cart
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.
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
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 or Jenack.
[Geographical coordinates 13.1833° N, 16.7667°
W / Kombo South, Western Region]