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What to Visit in Gambia

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The tiny port city of Banjul, is the capital of The Gambia, in West Africa. It’s located in the southern part of the Gambia River estuary on Saint Mary’s Island, cut off from the mainland by a series of creeks lined with mangroves. Banjul is relatively untouched by tourists who tend to head straight to the beaches. The sandy streets spattered with sun-bleached colonial buildings have a historic feel that the more modern seaside resorts are missing. It is also the home to a busy harbor and market that showcases the best of urban Africa. Since its founding in the mid-19th century, the Albert Market, an area of frenzied buying, bartering and bargaining, has been Banjul’s main hub of activity. This cacophony of Banjul life is intoxicating, with its stalls stacked with shimmering fabrics, hair extensions, shoes, household and electrical wares and the myriad colours and flavours of the fruit and vegetable market.

Abuko Nature Reserve

There are nature trails in the park. Treks will take you to the savanna and into the Bamboo Pool. There is also a wood bridge over a steam. This takes you to a bird hide. There is also a platform where you can see Nile Crocodiles and many kinds of reptiles. The most opportune time to go birdwatching is the late afternoon or early in the morning. This way you will be able to steer clear from the tourists. If you are trekking, make sure to carry some refreshments. Protection against mosquito bites is also recommended. If you are going on Abuko Nature Reserve tour, make sure to check out the tropical trees. There are over 50 variants in the park.

Kachikally Museum and Crocodile Pool

The most popular tourist attraction in Bakau is an ancient freshwater pool situated in the heart of the labyrinthine residential suburb of Kachikally (sometimes spelt Kachikali) about 700m south of Atlantic Boulevard. The pool is under the custody of a chiefly clan called Bojang, whose ancestors reputedly settled in the area around 500 years ago. According to oral tradition, shortly after the Bojang arrived in the area, they were visited by the fertility spirit Kachikally in the form of an apparently distraught elderly woman who pretended that her daughter was drowning in the pool. The family did everything they could to assist Kachikally, who rewarded them by entrusting the pool into their care and asking them to populate it with wildlife. A few weeks later, the family captured and released into the pool a pair of crocodiles which are ancestral to the 80 or so individuals that inhabit it today, and act as intermediaries with the spirit Kachikally. During the rainy season, many of the pool’s residents disperse into the surrounding town and countryside, and you hear occasional tales of people waking up to find a young crocodile next to their bed!

Kiang West National Park

Spread across 115 sq. km on the south bank of the river, Kiang West National Park contains an impressive array of plant and animal life. There are more than 250 bird species, as well as bushbucks and sitatunga. On the downside, the reserve isn’t very accessible – even in the dry season. In the mangrove creeks, the West African manatee and the Nile crocodile occur. In the mangrove fringes and tidal flats the tracks of various animals such as the clawless otter, marsh mongoose and Sitatunga are to be found. Other reptiles in the park include sand snake, spitting cobra, Nile monitor, puff adder and African python among others Tubabkollon point north east of the park is near the river and is the best place to find savannah endemic animals in the park. Animals such as sitatunga, warthog, bushbuck, baboons, spotted hyena, elusive leopard, colobus monkey and others congregate at the nearby water hole during the dry season creating a spectacular scene for tourist game viewing adventures.

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