There is a lot more to The Gambia than great beaches.
This year we have structured the festival in a way which allows you to take some time out to see different aspects/regions of the country as well as enjoy great musical night-life.
Why not try? City Tours, Short Trips, Safari, Fishing or Bird Watching
Banjul is the official capital of The Gambia but don’t expect to much from it.
The biggest city of The Gambia, Serekunda, is in that respect much more lively because Banjul appears to be a little sleepy. Even so Banjul is nice to visit as it truly is a charming city.
The monument that remembers the coup d’ etat of july 22nd 1994 is called Arch 22. It’s à sort of modern version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the highest building in the Gambia.
This contemporary white building is a strange sight in the city’s landscape. High up in this monument is the National Museum that is dedicated to the African cultures in The Gambia. On the whole not very worth while as the presentation looks like à primary school exposition but the view it offers over Banjul is spectacular. Be sure to have a drink at the bar which also is situated in the monument and let the panorama unfold itself to you. If you’re not afraid of hights have a peek straight down to the main road where several statues representing the tribes that live in The Gambia can be seen. It will give you a good idea of the peaceful society in The Gambia
Just like Serekunda market this is a wonderful place to do some people watching. The maze of little alleys on the partially roofed market is almost like a Middle Eastern Bazaar and your sense of direction is really put to the test here. Go and see the meat and fish section, a strong stomach is mandatory here as it is nothing like European butcher-
At this market the locals do their grocery shopping and the best thing to do, after you have done your shopping, is to just sit alongside the road and watch the people go by.
Don’t be surprised if the Gambians around you negotiate a sale with wild gestures and in a loud tone of voice. Or when a recently purchased goat is loaded into a taxi.
In the Gambia batik fabric is very populair.
In the Batik factory (at Serekunda or in Bakau) you can see how these fabrics are dyed and batiked.
By using natural dyes and candlewax different patterns are put on the fabrics.
The textiles are used for a variety of purposes like tablecloths, wall-
If you’re lucky you can even try the Batik art yourself. Also you are able to buy the batiked fabrics for a reasonable price here.
In the times of slavery the island was used as a gathering station for the slaves that were captured on the mainland of Africa. The slaves were held prisoner for several weeks on this island, to prepare them for the long cross-
These preparations consisted of breaking the slaves both spiritually and mentally by use of horrific means. This way the slave-
They produce a range of quality Gambian fruit and chocolate liqueurs using home grown fruits and fresh produce from the local markets. This does make the availability of some of the liqueurs seasonal.
Looking for something a bit different? Come and enjoy a relaxing time in a natural and tranquil environment.
Visit Kim Kombo plantation and distillery for a free short tour and free tasting of home made liqueurs.
Abuko Nature Reserve
Abuko Nature Reserve is in Abuko National Park lying south of the town of Abuko. It is a popular tourist attraction and was the country's first designated wildlife reserve.
The area was first began being protected in 1916 when the Lamin Stream, which flows through the reserve, was fenced to form a water collection point. The enclosure of the stream saw an increase in the stock of wildlife and flora in the forest.
In 1967 wildlife officer Eddie Brewer visited the area and realised the conservation importance of the forest and its wildlife. Brewer made a request to the government for the area to be protected. In 1968 the Department of Wildlife, now the Gambia Department of Parks and Wildlife Management was established at the reserve.
The flora consists of a typical savanna and gallery forest landscape. Trees, up to thirty feet high.
There are a three primate species: vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys and patas monkeys. Other mammals include antelope, squirrel, porcupine, mongooses, galagos, and several types of rodents, including cane rats.
Among the reptiles at the park are monitor lizard, Nile crocodile, dwarf crocodile, spitting cobra, black cobra, python, puff adder and green mamba. More than 270 bird species have been recorded in the forest. There are also numerous butterflies and moths.
At one end of the site are several enclosures which serve as an orphanage for needy animals, including an enclosure in which a pack of hyenas is held.
Bijilo Monkey Park
Different types of monkeys can be seen here in the wild.
Beside monkeys you also find huge termite mounts in which also snakes reside as the mounts are nice and cool on the inside. So don’t go climbing these termite hills to make à nice photograph or something as it could very well be that you’ll disturb one of the resident snakes in its nap.
If you visit Bijilo in the rainy season you can run into enormous spiders with enormous webs. In the park there is à panaroma point where you can see the ocean and à little further is a sort of meadow where, if you’re lucky, you van watch troops of monkeys with their babies from up close.
Kachikally Crocodile Pool
The sacred crocodile pool at Bakau is really a must.
According to ancient animistic tradition it is believed that this pool has supernatural healing power mainly in the fertility department.
Many women still travel from far and wide to bathe in the holy water, in the hope of increasing the chance of productive fertility. Many other ancient rituals are also performed at the pool. The Kachilally pool is a splendid place and many people say they can actually feel the spirituality there.
About 80 crocodiles are present in the pool most of which you can even touch!! I you dare!!
If this is because they are fed or that they really are sacred crocodiles nobody really knows.
In this beautiful ecological forest you can stroll for hours on end and enjoy the abundant nature that surrounds you.
Amaze yourself during your walk while you witness the bright colours on the butterflies that land at your feet, and be in awe of the tropical birds that live in the forest.
Learn how to climb a palmtree in the way Palm tappers have done for centuries and take a sip of the Zum Zum (alcoholic palmwine) also known as Jungle Juice. Be warned as this stuff is so strong that many people have claimed seeing the infamous Pink Elephant after drinking it!
In case you spot baboons you won’t have to blame it on the palmwine as there really are troops of baboons to be seen in this park. Also taking a canoe trip through the impressive Mangrove roots is possible where, while you’re gliding past riverbanks, crabs and other river creatures come to see who is disturbing the water. As closing act you can grab a bite to eat or simply have a drink in the great outdoor Lounge of Makasutu and, if you’re into those things, watch a traditional African dance and djembé (drum) show.
Tanji Fishing Village
The fishing village of Tanji is best to visit in the late afternoon when the fishermen are returning with their catch of the day. This can consist of sharks, sea turtles and barracudas. You will see women come down to help unload the fish to the beach.
The fish is smoked on the spot, spreading a heavy odour throughout the whole village. With the sun setting, de smoke of the fish, the pirogues (canoes) on the beach and the beautiful traditional clothing of the women you can rest assured that you will have great photo opportunities.
Gambia is a paradise for bird lovers.
There are now about 450 different species and there are still new species being discovered. The most common are the marabou, vultures, spoonbills, cranes, eagles, owls and ground hornbill.
In the mangrove area, you can see endless types of birds. This is why the neighboring mangrove areas of Senegal are more than worth a visit if you get the opportunity to.