River Gambia Expedition – featured in Safari254

SAFARI254 – The source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry ©Jason Florio

My wife, Helen Jones-Florio, and I co-led the first recorded source-to-sea expedition along the length of River Gambia, from its humble source in the remote highlands of Guinea-Conakry, through Senegal and into The Gambia where it widens to nearly 14km and exits into the Atlantic Ocean. We teamed up with two old Gambian friends, Abdou Ndong a fisherman and Ebou Jarju a school teacher, as our river guide and translator… Jason Florio / Safari254.com

SAFARI254 – A team punt a raft carrying a water pump that will be used to irrigate banana plantations that flank the river banks in Senegal © Jason Florio

The expedition took two months to cover the 1044km from source-to-sea…

SAFARI254 Expedition team member Abdou Ndong keeps an eye out for hippos in Senegal.© Jason Florio

The River Gambia – source to sea map ©Jason Florio

Read the full feature – see more images – at Safari254.com 

We made it! The River Gambia Expedition team reach the Atlantic Ocean (on Jason’s birthday!), The Gambia, West Africa, Jan 21st, 2013

Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here

March-April 2019 – Currently working on

Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime‘ in The Gambia, West Africa



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Friday Photo: Dusk over Kunta Kinteh Island, on the River Gambia, West Africa

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Image © Helen Jones-Florio


Photographer, Jason Florio, walking down the jetty at Kunta Kinteh Island (formally James Island), in the middle of the River Gambia, near to the towns of Jeffureh and Albread, The Gambia, West Africa. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island was once served as one of the major ports on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade route, of West Africa.

Image © Helen Jones-Florio Taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African Odyssey‘.

Documentary photographer, Jason Florio, talks about ‘Silafando’ – portraits of Gambian village chiefs

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click here or on above image to view the interview on Youtube


Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation  –  Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY – interview with Jason Florio about his exhibition of award-winning portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders – ‘Silafando’ – taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey‘, West Africa, with Helen Jones-Florio.


'Silafando' The Gambia © Jason Florio

'Silafando' - a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘Silafando’ The Gambia © Jason Florio – see the full series of award winning portraits here

Take a look behind the scenes on vimeo

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Jason Florio photographs village chief, Lamin Jammeh, Khalaji, The Gambia, West Africa – videography by Helen Jones-Florio. Click here or above image to view footage

Blessed by a Marabout – spiritual healers, Koranic scholars – in West Africa


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Jason Florio sets the scene, to photograph Mr Bah, the marabout, and his family, Tuba Dabbo, The Gambia. Image © Helen Jones-Florio


A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘ 2009

When we stayed with Alkalo, Fatou Dansu (one of only 5 female chiefs, at the time, in The Gambia), in the town of Basse, we met a strange, yet intriguing, old man called Mr Bah. Outwardly, he reminded me the obsequious Uriah Heep, the oh so humble character, from Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’. He walked with a stoop, continuously rubbing his dry, parchment-like, hands together. And, when he shook your hand, he stroked the back of it, slowly, with his free hand – as if to somehow take away an imprint of who you were – whilst all the time, not breaking eye contact. It was a little disconcerting, to begin with, but as we spent more time with him, it began to feel as if we were in the presence of a rather unique individual. He had this odd little click in his voice, when he spoke; indicative of the Fula people, of whom he was one. The chief, Fatou, explained that Mr Bah was a marabout – a medicine man, spiritual healer, Koranic teacher and fortune-teller –  and a much respected, highly-esteemed man, throughout the area, at that.

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Mr Bah, the marabout, reading the sand – The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio


After Mr Bah did a ‘reading in the sand’, for Florio and I, when we eventually reached his village of Tuba Dabbo, I would go so far as to say that I felt very honoured, to have met him.  Even if he did always seem to magically materialise, whenever we put hot water on the fire, to boil, for tea!

Gambia expedition 2009
Tea’s up! Helen, Mr Bah, and Janneh  (expedition team mate)- Basse Santa Su, The Gambia, West Africa. In the background is ‘Neil’ one of the two donkeys who walked the whole 930km with us © Jason Florio 


Words by Helen Jones-Florio – journal entries from ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey’ Read/see more on the blog about the journey.