The Gambia River (formerly known as the River Gambra) is a major
West Africa, running 1,120 kilometres (700 mi) from the
Fouta Djallon plateau in north
Guinea westward through
the Gambia to the
Atlantic Ocean at the city of
Banjul. It is
navigable for about half that length.
The river is strongly associated with
The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa, which consists of little more than the downstream half of the river and its two banks.
From the Fouta Djallon, the river runs northwest into the
Tambacounda Region of Senegal, where it flows through the
Parc National du Niokolo Koba, then is joined by the
Nieri Ko and
Koulountou before entering the Gambia at
Fatoto. At this point the river runs generally west, but in a meandering course with a number of
oxbows, and about 100km from its mouth it gradually widens, to over 10km wide where it meets the sea.
Near the mouth of the river, near
Kunta Kinteh Island, a place used in the
slave trade which is now a
World Heritage Site.
The aquatic fauna in the Gambia River
basin is closely associated with that of the
Sénégal River basin, and the two are usually combined under a single
ecoregion known as the
Senegal-Gambia Catchments. Although the
species richness is moderately high, only three species of frogs and one fish are
endemic to this ecoregion.
Oysters are harvested from the River Gambia by women and used to make
oyster stew, a traditional dish in the
cuisine of Gambia.
Map of the River Gambra (now the Gambia) 1732
The western portion of the Gambia River, seen from space. The line shows the border of the country the Gambia.