Your travels in a book

Learn more

Get the app!

Post offline and never miss updates of friends with our free app.

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

New to FindPenguins?

Sign up

Gambia

Curious what backpackers do in Gambia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day63

    The smiling coast is what the tourist brochures call Gambia and for once it's not an exaggeration. I've never met a nationality quite like the Gambians. They nearly all want to talk to you and help you. Of course it helps that they speak English!

    However, my first experience wasnt quite so enjoyable. During the political instability up to a quarter of the population fled into Senegal, now it's safe again they are all returning. The problem though is there are no bridges across the river Gambia in Gambia! This left me competing for space on the biggest ferry (space for about 20 cars) with trucks, cars, motorcycles, people, goats, chickens and furniture. After being told to wait in a spot for 1.5 hours under the midday sun in sweaty bike gear, they finally open the gate. Suddenly I'm swamped with all the animals of the ark pushing towards this narrow entrance. The staff have no idea how to organise the crowd and close the gate until people stop pushing, which isnt said loud enough for anyone at the back to hear! So 45 mins later about 30 people have got through and I've not moved from my spot in the sun. Then they open the gates completely and order everyone to the side, to let the vehicles off the ferry. So everyone shifts to the side, almost pushing me and the bike over in the process. This leaves me in the same position but now on the edge of the cleared path, perilously close to the trucks trying to squeeze through. Now the staff start shouting at me to move across out of the way. After 2.5 hours being baked, all patience evaporated from my body, I angrily snap back and say "where the f### am i meant to go". At this point the guy makes some space next to me by kicking some goats. I then have to point out that motorbikes don't just move sideways without moving forward or backwards too! I do eventually get on the boat, albeit after being accused of not buying a ticket, even though I'd given it to them already - this situation was met with a full rainbow of expletives.

    If it wasn't for the general friendliness then the capital, Banjul, would be slightly terrifying. At night there is almost no electricity in the city and what little light there is, is from the cars and trucks on the few main roads. This came as quite a shock after Senegal and it just instantly feels very unsafe to be in a city without lighting, but the reality is that it's fine. At least my 'bravery' to walk about at night has been rewarded by stumbling across Gambia's very own beer, Julbrew, by far the best beer in Africa...so far!

    I'm now just about to leave Banjul after visiting the Abuko nature reserve, where I've seen lots of wild animals from monkeys to vultures as well as some sadder looking caged ones such as hyenas. I also used my guide to try and get over my fear of animals when wild camping. It didn't really work as he just told me about all the animals that might try to kill me....just in Gambia. For those who want to know, the list includes crocodiles, hippos, green mamba snakes, baboons and hyenas.
    Read more

  • Day65

    So I've gone 'Upcountry' as the Gambians would say. A rapid ascent of about 1 metre per mile along the south bank of the Gambia river. However, Gambia is so narrow I've had to be careful not to accidently stray across the border into Senegal. For anyone who doesn't know why Gambia is so ridiculously long and thin, here is a synopsis of Britain's colonial logic.
    - Race for Africa begins at the Berlin conference
    - France begin colonising the whole of West Africa
    - Britain see an opportunity to annoy the French by doing the bare minimum to colonise an area right in the middle of France's existing colonies
    - Britain sends the navy up the Gambia river and claims sovereignty as far as the river is navigable and as far as Britain's canons can fire (20 miles to each side)
    - Britain then offers France the 'opportunity' to have Gambia, in exchange for a much larger French colony such as Gabon
    - The French tell the British to get stuffed and stop all trade with Gambia
    - Britain pays no interest in Gambia until independence

    I've also learnt that Gambia has no atms outside the capital and I've survived wild camping without any unwanted animal experiences. I've had a rack built to support my panniers that have been disintegrating under the repetitive bumping up and down. I've also learnt that the old president was universally disliked.

    P.s. I'm sure Mick Comben will correct me on the history!
    Read more

  • Day4

    Mir geht's wieder besser. Solange ich nichts esse ist es okay. Heute habe ich eine ganze Scheibe Toast gegessen: morgens die eine Hälfte, abends die andere. Positiv ausgedrückt arbeite ich an meiner Figur. 😉

    Um mein vorzügliches Abendessen zu verdauen bin ich für einen kurzen Spaziergang an den Strand gegangen. Nur ein paar Minuten, denn der Wachmann ging mit und das war jetzt nicht wirklich romantisch.

    Aber die Atmosphäre war schon toll...

    ----------------

    I'm better again! When I don't eat it's okay. I started today with a toast - the one half in the morning, the other one in the evening... positively spoken: I am working on my shape 😉

    In order to digest my delicious dinner I went for a stroll to the beach. Only some minutes because the security man accompanied me and that not really romantic.

    But the atmosphere was great ...
    Read more

  • Day2

    Mein Arbeitstag hat auch einen Besuch bei NACCUG - des Verbandes der Credit Unions in The Gambia beinhaltet. Rund 100 Mitglieder soll NACCUG haben wobei die meisten CUs recht klein sind. Dazu kommt allerdings, dass man CUs schnell gründen und auch wieder auflösen kann, so dass es schwierig ist, die wahre Anzahl festzulegen. 70 sollen sicher sein, wovon 10-15 sogar recht große CUs sind.

    NACCUG expandiert im Moment. Sie bauen ein trainings Center direkt neben das Hauptgebäude. Das kann sogar noch um zwei Stockwerke erweitert werden, wobei jetzt erstmal das Gebäude aus der Zeichnung ausreichen soll.

    Nachdem wir das Programm für die nächsten Tage diskutiert hatten und ich ein paar Ansprechpartner für die nächsten zwei Jahre kennen gelernt hatte sind wir wieder aufgebrochen und haben zum Mittag gegessen: Sharwarma - soll typisch gambisch sein.

    Es ist die gambische Interpretation einer türkischen Pitta. Der Teig schmeckt gleich und es enthält entweder Rindfleisch oder Huhn und Gemüse. Das einzige, was seltsam war, dass ich ein paar Pommes drin fand. Aber es schmeckt lecker! 😊

    --------------------------

    The first working day has included a visit at NACCUG - the credit union association in The Gambia. About 100 credit unions are members of NACCUG but the most credit unions are very small. In addition credit unions can be build up quite easily and they can be closed at the same way. Therefore it is difficult to say how many active members NACCUG counts. 70 are for sure about which 10 until 15 are quite big ones.

    NACCUG is expanding at the moment. It builds a new trainings center beside the head office which is becoming quite impressive. The design you see can be expanded by two further storeys. But for the first time it should be enough to have one floor.

    After we discussed the program for these days and met some key counterparts for my work the next two years we left the office again and had a small lunch with typical Gambian food: Shawarma.

    Shawarma is the Gambian interpretation of a Turkish Pitta ;) the batter taste like pitta batter and it's filled with beef or chicken and some vegetables. The only curious thing was that I also found chips in it. But it it's taste good! 😊
    Read more

  • Day2

    Eine Ankunft in der Nacht ist in jedem Land langweilig - es ist dunkel! Somit bekomme ich kaum einen ersten Eindruck ausser, dass der Flughafen recht organisiert ist und die Infrastruktur gut aussieht.

    Aber sieh Dir mal das zweite Bild an. Sieht du da etwas? Wir sitzen im Auto, ich hinten und hätte jetzt irgendwie Licht am Armaturenbrett erwartet. Naja, ist auch nicht zwingend notwendig :)

    Nachdem wir im Hotel angekommen sind diskutierte ich den nicht vorhandenen Internet Zugang. Ich erklärte den Jungs dass man zwar Zugang zum WLAN hat aber nicht zum Internet. Nach einer Stunde überzeuge ich sie und dann viel dem einen auf, dass er ja auch keine richtige Internet Verbindung mehr hätte, ob das wohl der Grund ist? 😊

    Die Nacht war herrlich! Mit einer angenehmen Temperatur konnte ich gut schlafen - ich hate sogar eine zeitlang kalte Füße! Unglaublich! 😉

    Der Start in den Tag war sehr schön, eine heiße Dusche, lecker Frühstück und jetzt arbeiten. Aber es ist kalt! Bin ich schon so angepasst an die Afrikaner, dass mir hier kalt ist? Naja, 23 grad sind einfach zu wenig 😂

    Habt einen schönen Tag!

    ----------------

    An arrival during the night is in every country very boring... its dark! I can hardly get a first impression, only that the airport is organised and it has a good infrastructure.

    But have a look on the second picture. Do you see anything on the picture? Yep, there is nothing - and we were sitting in a car, I was sitting in the back and had expected some lights ... not really necessary 😉.

    After arrival in the hotel we discussed the access to the internet. I took me around one hour to explain them that I have a network connection but no access to the internet. When he believed me he noticed that he has no access too and said to me that he was wondering about his strange internet connection - no there was no connection at all 😉

    The night was wonderful! We had a pleasantly temperature - I even had some cold feet for a wile. Unbelievable. 😊

    The Start in the day was very nice - a hot shower, delicious breakfast and now we start to work. But it's cold! Really! I am not sure if I already adapted to an Africans but I am cold! 23 degrees are too little. 😂

    Have a nice day!
    Read more

  • Day1

    Went with my class to the Gambia for a 2 week work excursion. We did several projects, And had lessons under the supervision of Roy Armstrong. He teached us about different techniques to tackle problems you might come upon while working in this field. As a basis to work on, we had Farasuto community parc. A parc originally set up for birdwatching, which was fully operated by the nearby village. the parc provided money for the villagers and was spend on school supplies.
    Problems, like illegal logging, hunting and wandering livestock made the perfect material to think about solutions which would both benefit the parc and the and the nearby villagers.
    This experience has changed a lot of my thinking, and i learned a lot about working with people and conservation.
    Read more

  • Day2

    Zum Start meiner Reise durch Gambia und den Senegal habe ich mich für die ersten 4 Nächte im kleinen, aber sehr schönen und liebevoll gepflegten Hotel, Sunset Beach eingebucht. Nach der Ankunft letzte Nacht, stand Heute erste Eindrücke sammeln auf dem Programm.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gambia, Gambië, ጋምቢያ, غامبيا, جامبيا, Qambiya, Гамбия, Gambya, Гамбія, गांबिया, Ganbi, গ্যাম্বিয়া, གྷམ་བི་ཡ།, গাম্বিয়া, Gambija, Гамби, Gàmbia, گامبیا, Gambiya, Gambie, Y Gambia, ގެމްބިއާ, གྷེམ་བི་ཡ, Gambia nutome, Γκάμπια, Gambio, گمبیا, Gammbi, An Ghaimbia, A Ghaimbia, ગેમ્બિયા, Yn Ghambia, גאמביה, गाम्बिया, Գամբիա, The Gambia, Gambía, ガンビア共和国, გამბია, ហ្គាំប៊ី, ಗ್ಯಾಂಬಿಯಾ, 감비아, Gambi, ແກມເບຍ, Гамбија, ഗാംബിയ, Gambja, ဂန်ဘီရာ, गाम्विया, Géémbiya, Gaambiyaa, ଗାମ୍ବିଆ, ਗਾਂਬੀਆ, گیمبیا, گامبيا, Gâmbia, The Gambie, Gambïi, Gambėjė, ගැම්බියාව, IGambiya, Gambijo, காம்பியா, గాంబియా, ประเทศแกมเบีย, Gambiýa, Ang Gambiya, Kamipia, گامبىيە, Gambii, Găm-bi-a (Gambia), Gambiyän, Gàmbi, 冈比亚, Гамбудин Орн, די גאמביע, Orílẹ́ède Gambia, 甘比亞, 冈比亚共和国, i-Gambia