The Gambia

The Gambia is one of West Africa’s most popular and affordable countries for tourists seeking sun, sea, sand and fun plus a bit of nature. We based ourselves in Brufut which is near the town of Serrekunda at Serengeti Beach Camping for the beginning portion of our visit to The Gambia. Our first full day’s sightseeing included a visit to Bijilo Forest Park where we got to play with green vervet and Temminck’s red colobus monkeys which was so much fun! We then went way off the beaten path in search of a “wide open walls” project which brought us to the village of Galowya to admire murals painted by artists from around the world. What an innovative way to bring tourists into little known destinations and we enjoyed the experience, more so for our interaction with the village children than for the murals themselves! The Gambia’s biggest fish market at Tanji was our final stop for the day as we checked out the sights, sounds and smells of this bustling open air spectacle. Colorful boats overladen with fish pulled up near the shore and an assembly line of workers quickly offloaded the fish to the nearby market where sellers where busy selling to eager buyers. It was a noisy, smelly and chaotic experience not for the faint hearted and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next day, we visited the Kachikally Crocodile Pond which is one of three sacred crocodile pools used as a site in fertility rituals in The Gambia. Some of the crocodiles are tamer than others and we got to meet a few! From here, we visited Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. This compact city warranted a few hours of exploration as we wandered around the Royal Albert Market and walked around the waterfront before stumbling across the “old town” section which looked an awful lot like the “new town” section before finally calling it quits. Back at our campsite, we enjoyed some lovely beach time and could see why a beach holiday is such a popular option for so many visitors. The second half of our visit to The Gambia was spent at Tumani Tenda, which is an Ecolodge based out of Jolla Village to support 300 individuals from seven extended families. From the rave reviews online, we had expected so much more but it was such a let down. With overpriced meager meals and village based activities that didn’t start on time, we felt trapped in this remote corner of the country so we broke free on our second day there to search for elusive river hippos in the Gambia River. This full day excursion was a gamble as there was no guarantee we’d spot any wildlife but we got lucky with a family of 5 hippos spotted by our boat’s captain! From Tumani Tenda, we exited The Gambia and made our way back into Senegal to continue the rest of our overland tour.

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