The pool's reptilian residents have since become so tame, that they allow visitors to pet them, and seem to prefer fish to more fleshy meals. The oldest crocodile, named Charlie, is the friendliest, and often spends time in the ancestral home of the Bojang clan, who are now the keepers of the pool.
Lucas is very happy to meet any visitors to the Gambia and demonstrate his palm tree climbing skills. Lucas is too poor to travel much further than to his homeland of Guinea-Bissau. He loves to hear tales told of other countries over a jar of his palm juice. He'll be happy to take you back to his compound to meet his family. Lucas works very hard for little reward but loves to party when he can, he's an ideal companion for a visit to the local hot spots. His late, older brother's son, Akoli, works most days as Lucas' helper. You can talk to him if Lucas is up one of his trees.
Located off a busy street in one of Banjul's suburbs, the Abuko Nature Reserve protects a small piece of the gallery forest that once dominated the region along the Gambia River. In Gambia, and much of West Africa, gallery forest is now threatened by urbanization. (Gallery forest is a type of riverside habitat once common in West Africa that can be described as jungle-like. It is made up of different types of palm trees, large hardwood trees, and other lush plant life).
A blind overlooking a pool along the Lamin Stream provides visitors with close looks at birds, mammals, and reptiles. A system of trails through the reserve allows visitors to experience the diversity of the gallery forest. Only 259 acres (105 hectares) in size, the Abuko Nature Reserve can be crossed by foot in less than an hour. Despite the small size of the reserve, it is one of the best places in Gambia to observe wildlife. Over 250 species of birds are regularly observed along the stream and in the forest. Fifty-two species of mammals, including three types of monkeys, are located within the reserve. And over 37 species of reptiles can be found within the reserve's boundaries, including Nile crocodiles, turtles, and several kinds of snakes.
Pirang Forest Park preserves a patch of gallery forest along the Gambia River. It is managed by local communities, meaning the local people become involved in protecting and appreciating nature. They learn that by protecting the forest, rather than cutting it down for agriculture or firewood, tourists will come to visit and spend money in their communities.
Unlike the Abuko Nature Reserve, Pirang Forest Park is located well away from the Banjul metropolitan area and is therefore less crowded with tourists. But because it is off the beaten tourist path, there are no amenities, such as blinds or even toilet facilities. However, visitors can walk along the paths through the forest and observe numerous species of birds, as well as monkeys and other mammals, and reptiles.
Even if you havent played golf you will find this a unique experience, the Greens are actually sand soaked in oil and rolled flat with a roller before each shot, you aslo get a local caddie who is extremely good at finding your lost ball, If you are a golfer dont expect to play to you handicap
Soma is a lively cross-road town at the junction of the main road from the Atlantic coast to the east and the Trans Gambia Highway leading from north Senegal to the Casamance in the south of Senegal.
North of Soma lies Mansa Konko, originally an important capital of a local chief and an administrative centre during the colonial era. The name Mansa Konko is meaning 'king's hill'.
For more pictures have a look at the travelogue.
Th Lower River Division is the area around Soma at the south bank of the Gambia River. This area starts after crossing the Bintang Bolong north of Kalaji. The east border is the Sonfaniama Bolong east of Soma.
The Bintang Bolong is a large meandering tributary of the Gambia River. This creek or bolong, meaning river in the Mandinka language, rises in Senegal.
The Senegalese border is only 4 KM away from the place where the 100 M long bridge connects the banks of the Bintang Bolong.
Travelling from Soma to the east the Guinea savanna transforms into the more drier Sudan savanna with lower trees.
After Pakali Ba we crossed the Sofoniama Bolong as eastern border of the Lower River Division. Before we entered into the Central River Divison we stopped here to have a look at this beautiful bolong, surrounded by palmtrees. If you are lucky, you can see all kind of waterbirds.
Between the Bintan Bolong in the south and the Gambia River in the north starts a varied landscape of mangroves, creeks, saltpans, tidal flats, but also of dry woodland savanna.
In this area along the highway you find the Kiang West National Park, established in 1987. The park is about 110 KM2 and you can find here almost all the animal species of the country.
Along the highway south of the park we saw also this surreal landscape of trunks in the wetlands.
The main road in the Lower River Division crosses a lot of mangrove forest and creeks.
Even directly from the highroad itself you can have a close look at this ecologically interesting mangrove area with its tidal creeks and flats.
It was easy to make several stops on the road, because there wasn't hardly any traffic.
The wetlands in the Lower River Division are very scenic. We saw lovely lillies in the water.
We really enjoyed this part of the route. We felt that the Gambia river was always near, allthough we never saw the river itself.
Except if its flora the area is especially very very known because of its abundant birdlife. Even while driving along the highway we saw several birds.
Except the National Museum and the Albert Market there are hardly any other interesting places downtown.
The second time we visited Banjul we strolled around a bit in the towncentre, while waiting for the arranging of the insurance and other papers for the cars.
During the daytime the streets are lively with traffic, people, streetstalls, shops, but it is hard to find a place for a drink or meal. There are some restaurants and bars, but you have to know your way. In the evening there is not much to do.
Banjul has a mixture of old colonial buildings, modern office buildings and shantytowns. Most of the buildings don't have more than two storeys.
There is not only a mixture of architecture in the town, but you see also a mixture of people and cultures from all over the region. You will see women and men dressed in western style, but also in traditional style.
Except the different Gambian people, you will see also for example Tuareg and Berber people and some Lebanese shopowners.
The central point of Banjul is the former Mac Cartney Square or nowadays called the July 22 Square. It is the public park of the city.
Recently the names of the streets in Banjul have been changed. Many people still use the old names. It can be confusing.
The Albert market is east of the central July 22 square. From this square the main streets run south to the southern end of the town and island. To the northwest the mainstreets run out of town in the direction of Serrekunda and the beach resorts.
The Gambia River rises in the Fouta Djallon Plateau in northern Guinea, and flows about 700 miles (1,130 kilometers) before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at Banjul. At first the river flows northward into Senegal before making a turn to the west, where it enters Gambia at Fatoto. Because the river runs down the middle of the country from one end to the other, it is Gambia's main geographical feature. Most of the country's main towns and cities are located on the river, and it is one of Gambia's major transportation routes.
Although a relatively short river, several large tributaries give the Gambia River such a large volume of water that it is navigable for about one-half its length, and is about six miles (ten kilometers) wide at its mouth.
The Kombo Beach is the only hotel we have been to in The Gambia, we stayed here the first time and...more
well such an extraordinarily well run venue in Gambia. German influence, very efficient. What...more
AU Hwy, Brufut Heights, PO Box 3311, Serekunda, Gambia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples