Kanilai Game Park in Jola – Gambia

The Kanilai Game Park is a nature and animal reserve in Gambia. It is home to different types of wildlife, including some endangered species.


The park is in Kanilai in Jola village at the southern part of the country. This is at the south of Bwiam. You can find it at the Foni Bondali Region, Western Division. You can reach the site from one of the resorts in the area. There is a highway going south into the park.

What to See

The park is a safari. Visitors will enjoy the lush natural scenery, unspoiled by the passage of time. The animals are the main attraction of course. You will come across several types of rhinos and Nile crocodiles. The Kanilai Game Park is also home to zebras. You will also see some game animals.


The earliest accounts of the country are Arab trader records dating from the 10th century. The country reached its peak under the Mali Empire, particularly the rule of Mansa Kankan Musa. During this period, the area earned enormous wealth and became known for its civility. Travelers who came there in 1300 AD often marveled at how the people lived.

By the 16th century however, the Songhai Empire had taken over. Its golden age ended with nonstop looting by Portugal and Morocco. The end of the 16th century saw the collapse of the empire. It was eventually annexed by Portugal. It was then sold to England in the mid 1600s.

In World War II, Gambians soldiers fought alongside the Allies. Banjul was used as an air stop by the US Air Force and by the US Navy. Then US President Franklin Roosevelt stopped by in 1943, the first time a US President visited Africa.

The end of the war was a period of reform in the country. Elections were conducted in 1962. Self governance was allowed the following year. The Gambia attained independence on February 18, 1965. Today it is becoming a popular destination for tourists.


A traveler can make do with 30 USD. But the total cost will depend on what kind of amenities you desire and the length of the trip.

Other Info

The Kanilai Game Park is open daily, seven days a week. It opens at 8:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm.

Note that you can enter the place only by car. You also have to make arrangements first with the Kairaba Hotel.