Serrekunda, wrestling arena
Wrestling is the most favourite sport in Gambia. It's the number one sport in Gambia. Wrestling is the oldest sporting activity in the Senegambian region, dating from before the 13th century .
In Serrekunda we visited one of the arenas, where wrestlers of different villages fight their match with a lot of supporters and public.Add to your Trip Planner
Every wrestler brings his own drumming group
A wresting match is a lifely and noisy happening. Every wrestler brings his own drumming group, supporting and showing the wrestler, and activating and stimulating the public. Every ethnic group have its own traditional wrestling tunes.
For me was this part, before the match started, one of the most interesting.Add to your Trip Planner
Showing his body and muscles
While the drumming groups do their job, the wrestlers appear in their special outfit. They show their muscles and body to the public and enthusiaistic supporters and to try impress their opponents.
Traditionally the match is between teams of two different villages. Each team is called kato.Add to your Trip Planner
During the progress of the match it is not always easy to see for the public and supporters what is happening and who wins and why. The first to be knocked down loses.
Anyhow the last part of the match is between the champions of the teams. After a well-fought fight friends and supporters rush into the arena to press coins into the hands of their favourite contestant.
Succesful wrestlers are believed to have even a spiritual strength or nyamo.Add to your Trip Planner
Wrestling with the president
Around the time of our visit our son Sam was deep into American wrestling, so we thought we must see the infamous Gambian version. We hired a bush taxi driver, I won't mention his name, to take us into Serrekunda for the big Saturday night match. The driver had never been to a match himself and being a devout Moslem wasn't sure he approved of fighting. He wasn't too sure which of the two wrestling/sports arenas was hosting the match that evening. We eventually found the right arena as two other vehicles were queuing in front of the gate. After about half an hour we began to wonder where the crowds were as no more vehicles or people had turned up. The other vehicles contained some Dutch tourists with their guides who had no idea when the event would start. Our driver left us in his taxi listening to West Coast radio while he went to find some information. He came back with a look of disgust on his face, he said that President Jammeh was a bad Moslem as he had changed the wrestling to the previous evening, Friday the holy day, so that he could entertain the visiting heads of other African states. As Gambian wrestling can be quite extreme and often ends up in spilled blood, this not a suitable entertainment for the holy day. Our Mandinka driver said that was typical bad behaviour by a Jola, though we aren't to sure if the president is in fact a Moslem, most Jolas we came across were Christian. What ever his religion he ruined our evening.Add to your Trip Planner
Drumming for support
At the moment you enter the arena, you don't have the feeling to visit a wrestling match, but you think you are visiting a drum concours or another colourful Gambian ceremonial occasion.
It´s nice to see this traditional musical part of the match, which is inseparable of the traditional Gambian wrestling.Add to your Trip Planner
jogging on the beach
Not too many sport possibilities.
Fishing is great both in the Atlantic and the Gambia river. Go for baracuda, ladyfish.
It really is great fun.
A good place to fish is the pier near Fajara.
Equipment: Take your own equipment. Renting or buying overthere is expensive and the quality is very bad. Make sure to bring enough hooks and wire.Add to your Trip Planner
Wrestler with his supportgroup
Before the match starts, the wrestlers with their drumming group make a tour in areana all along the public.
The event has a kind of progression. Each team starts with the youngest and less skilled wrestlers and works to a certain climax.Add to your Trip Planner
You can make a fishing trip but watch out for the dangerous "catfish" !!
Equipment: You need nothing special because you can rent it there !
And if you have no fish "on line" they guarantee you can have your money back !
But in the Gambia "no problem", they are very very sure that a lot of fishes bites !Add to your Trip Planner
Paris Dakar Rallye
It's the Paris Dakar Rally. What can you say about the hardest race in the World.
I've travelled to the last eight with most going through Mauritania and ending in Dakar Senegal.
It's an easy trip via St Louis into Mauritania and back to Dakar for the finish.
If you want to tag along drop me an email.
Equipment: 110 expedition Land Rovers, Discovery or Pajero. Kitted with everything including a fridge.Add to your Trip Planner
The Gambia's national sport
Gambian people are very fond of football and... wrestling. Every saterday evening, you can visit a wrestling game in Serekunda.
Sportsmen of the different tribes (Mandinka, Wolof, Jola, Fula) try to beat each other in various games.
Why don't you try to beat the local champion?Related to:
- Family Travel
Football in The Gambia
In every village, children amuse themselves with playing football, dreaming to become a famous topscorer in a European team.
If you ever have to possibility to join a footballmatch of the Gambian national team, don't hesitate !Related to:
- Family Travel
football and wrestling
The Gambians are grazy for football and wrestling. I had heard beforehand that there are wrestling shows in Serekunda on sundays but we didnt make it. People also say that the shows are quite impressive with the drummings and all.
One day we drove pass a football stadium when the The Gambia - Guinea -game was just about to start. I think maybe half of the population of gambia was there.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Arts and Culture
Riding on the beach
There are several groups of few horses and instructors riding along the beach the whole day long. You can stop them anytime for a ride or make a reservation. Horses seemed to be wellkept. Riding was wonderful because of the quiet, beautiful beach and the safe seeming horse that galloped like a dream.
I payed 300 dalasis (9€) for one hour. Maybe I could have got it cheaper but sometimes its not good to pargain that much.
Equipment: Long pans may help not to get bruises like I didRelated to:
- Horse Riding
- Family Travel
Bring your trainers
Before or after breakfast just put on your trainers and go for a run on the beach. It is so refreshing and it makes you feel good. Plenty of others do it and you can join and have some fun at the same time.
Equipment: trainersRelated to:
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