Western Division

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11 travelers at this place

  • Day63

    Gambia and monkeys

    February 1, 2017 in Gambia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    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 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.
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  • Day5

    Makasutu Cultural Forest

    May 28, 2016 in Gambia ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    Today we went to Makasutu Cultural Forest, there were monkeys running around everywhere! I drank palm wine, ate cashew fruit (yes like the nut), went on an awesome boat, and met a fortune teller who lives on the land. It was all pretty amazing.Read more

  • Day2

    Banjul, Gambia at last..

    November 2, 2017 in Gambia

    Arriving in Banjul, Gambia late at night didn't give me the opportunity to assess the country well. The tour company I had contacted days earlier sent a driver and vehicle to pick me up from the airport. Immigration was a breeze and I was stamped in after answering questions on purpose of trip, duration and where I will be staying. Drive from the airport to the resort hotel was over 30mins and it appeared as if we were driving out of Banjul.

    My resort hotel Senegambia Beach hotel was located in a resort town called Serrekunda.

    The road leading to the hotel, known as the "strip" has lots of bars, restaurants and night clubs. The area is geared towards tourism and had all the facilities and services tourist need, including numerous bureau de change.

    Immediately after checking into my room, I took a stroll out to eat as I was famished from the long flight. I got a jollof rice looking meal which didn't taste like it but was edible nevertheless and pushed it down with a local beer.

    On my walk back to the hotel I stopped at a mobile phone store to buy a sim card and load with data.
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  • Day4

    Tour of Banjul

    November 4, 2017 in Gambia

    The tour company came to pick me up at 9:30am but alas because of the previous night clubbing I didn't wake up until the reception called to tell me the driver was waiting for me. Without having my bath, I brushed my teeth wore my clothes and left the room. I had the whole tour bus to myself.

    My first stop during the tour was the Kachikally Crocodile Pool where I got to touch a live adult crocodile. I was told that certain people come to the pool to pray for children and pray for other ailments. It is a sacred place in Gambia. Dotted around the pool are Baobab trees hundreds of years old with big trunks. From there we continued through Serrekunda city which happens to be the busiest and largest city in Gambia, where I visited a tie and dye factory owned by a Gambian lady who has been in the profession for over 30 years.

    Next stop was the Gambia National Museum to learn about the culture, tradition and artifacts of the native Gambians. Apparently Gambia was part of British West Africa during the colonial era and used the same currency with Nigeria, Ghana and Sierrea Leone then.

    Then we proceeded to St. Albert's Market which I was told was the busiest market and was warned to keep my valuables safe from pick pockets, I was sub consciously expecting a Balogun market, push me I push you scenario but alas it was almost like a deserted market, no crowd at all, no one pushing or brushing against me as I walked through the market. Told my tour guide he needs to come to Nigeria to see what a busy market looks like. I bought some dresses as gifts and souvenirs.

    Finally we drove to the New Bacchus Restaurant (Nefertiti) for a well deserved lunch, facing the beach. Lovely scenery.

    After lunch we headed back to the hotel stopping over at Arch 22 briefly which I am told was built to commemorate the July 22nd Revolution. It is a 37m high Arch the top of which has a viewing deck to see the whole city from.

    The tour guide and driver were full of praises for Nigeria and our President Muhammed Buhari for helping them dislodge the sit tight Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh early in the year. They told a story of how President Buhari (an ex Army General) visited President Jammeh earlier and pleaded with him to relinquish power to the man who won the election, but Jammeh stubbornly said no, over his dead body. So Buhari stood up and said I will be back. Went back to Nigeria and mobilized the mighty Nigerian Military. Jammeh on learning that the Nigerian Military was enroute to The Gambia called Buhari and said "Alhaji na play now, I don ready to leave power ..."

    Spent early evening at Poco Loco bar by the beach before heading off to the clubs along the strip.
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Western Division