Go local on the Serrekunda Market
A must do when you‘re in the Gambia. This daily local market in the city of Serrekunda is insanely beautiful, huge & impressive. You simply do not know where you should look. The sellers on pillows and buckets, the colors, the smells, the crowds, the rushing colorful dresses that pass by dusting, it’s pure Africa. Anything can be found here. Fantastic, I don’t even have words for this place.
Enjoy a river sunset cruise on the Gambia river
We enjoy an insanely beautiful and dead silent boat trip over the river Gambia. On the roof of a wooden boat we toast with a local beer on the good life, see the most special birds in the mangrove, we wave cheerfully to the locals that are floating by in hollowed-out trunks and we end up at a large tree house of a stranded German. This dear man left on a boat from Germany to England, got lost and arrived at this place in the Gambia. Here he built his masterpiece, right on the river. What a life, I need one like this myself. We enjoy a delicious African buffet and dance until the early hours of the morning on drum music, somewhat befuddled by the firewater that we had to drink…
Take a baby home
They are everywhere. Beautiful babies with dark curls and shiny brown eyes, wrapped in warm and colorful fabrics. It happens many times that before I know it, I find myself standing with a wonderful little person in my arms again, and I wonder what their families actually intended to do. They ment that I could take them home, right?
Visit the school for the blind
We visit a school for blind children and adults in Gambia (the only one, that is). These children are so happy it touches me. They run, jump, rock and run on the few rusty playground equipment like they see exactly what they are doing. What a wonderful initiative, this is. There are children who daily have to walk hours to come tot his school. What they mainly learn are skills. Wonderful to see, wonderful to support. Like to know more?
Get an African dress
I can not help it. I have to have one. I go to the fabric market, buy a beautiful piece of fabric and let a real tailor dance around me with his tape measure. Unfortunately I’m not able to pick it up on time, but with a detour the dress in my possession now anyway. It’s gorgeous, typical African, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit. No problem, it’s a wonderful memory to this particular trip and hanging in my bedroom now. For me, this is Africa. Please read my travel story about the daily street life in Gambia as well to get what I mean.
Buy a fish at the Tanji Fish Market
A crazy but such amazing experience is the Tanji Fish Market. A noisy but fantastic scene. Think dancing colored fishing boats on the waves, the smell of fish, screaming seagulls, the patiently waiting locals on the beach, the sound of the sea, the last rays of sunshine, the first fishermen who are happy or disappointed flushing in. A graveyard of freezers, nets and boats. Getting lost in between this chaos is more than fantastic. Do so. It’s real, it’s pure, it’s life.
Have a day at the beach
The Gambia has incredibly beautiful beaches and even in winter, temperatures are lovely at this part of the world. It hurts me to see that the beaches are almost empty. The tourists are unjustifiably afraid of ebola and tourism has dropped by 60%. Unnecessary. There is no ebola here, people. It is a safe, warm and welcoming country, you may call it Africa for beginners.
Make friends with a monkey
For me it didn’t work. In the Gambia, unfortunately, there’s little large wildlife but there are a bunch of monkeys. We have lunch in the middle of the jungle and the monkeys are everywhere, until I try to come closer. He sticks his tongue out and runs away. I can’t find my Monkey more enjoyable. As well, there are pretty birds and lazy crocodiles.
Visit a family compound
We are lucky that we get to know someone who married a Gambian man. They take us to his family, living in a compound. Here you can see how the local population lives and how simple it might be, I find it more than cozy. It’s a home, it’s one big family that include us with open hands and open hearts and we are a part of this family this afternoon. If you get the chance, do. You will get to know the real Gambia and its beautiful people.
Find peace at the Ngala Lodge
From a local compound we travel to the Ngala Lodge. There could be no greater contrast. Still, I’m impressed with this phenomenal beautiful place. What started as a guesthouse with a number of rooms has developed into a frenzied place, right at the sea. Rooms, apartments and even a loft with roof terrace (where I had the good fortune to sleep) full of art and design. Palm trees, an infinity pool, a jungle garden, a top restaurant with sea view and great food made by a British chef, a private beach with wooden deck and a children ban make staying here a pure delight. Pure tranquility. Wow. What a pleasure to stay here after all these impressions of the past week. The perfect ending, and with a glass of wine in my hand I toast on this wonderful trip. Gambia, thank you.
Would you like to visit this incredibly beautiful country as well? You’re traveling very advantageous to the Gambia with Corendon. Please do so, the Gambia stole a piece of my heart.