Exploring the Roots of West Africa
Enjoy an exciting voyage of discovery, unravelling the wonders of West Africa
Sandwiched in the middle of its larger neighbour, Gambia is a thin sliver of a country surrounded on three sides by Senegal, and the other by the Atlantic. The country is bisected by the River Gambie, which winds its way down the length of the country finishing in a wide mouth with the capital of Banjul perched on the headland.
Sometimes known as the Smiling Coast of Africa, this small nation is home to an incredible 80km of spectacular coastline. The beaches have warm golden sands and the sun sinks into the waves, creating a beautiful aureate light that diffuses through the whispering palm leaves. The temperate climate means that Gambia is a year-round beach destination.
However, the beaches are not all Gambia has to offer, as the plethora of flora and fauna that call this nation their home is also a big draw. The Kiang West National Park is the largest and most important wildlife park in Gambia, and is home to over 300 bird species. This is over half of all the bird species recorded in this incredibly bio-diverse country. Leopards, otters, manatees, hyenas and dolphins call all be spotted within the park.
There are many other opportunities to see the amazing creatures that live here, as you travel through Gambia. Visit the chimpanzees at the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project on Baboon Island, where you can also observe hippos, crocodiles and monkeys. In Bakau, you can visit the crocodile “katchikaly”, one of three sacred crocodile pools used for fertility rituals.
The darker side to the country is its painful history of slavery trading. The ford on Kunta Kinteh Island, formerly known as James Island, is a significant former site of the West African slave trade. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fortresses are an eye-opening way to discover the heart-breaking history that had such a lasting detrimental effect on this corner of the globe.
As you wind your way through the country next to the slow-moving river, you will come across many towns and villages along the way. The colonial architecture shows their historic roots, as do the traditional African boats that previously fished in the fertile waters. These bustling towns have a distinctly African feel and you will receive a warm welcome as you explore.
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