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Old Jan 26, 16, 6:00 am
Moderator: Trip Reports
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Dubai
Posts: 3,216
Day 5.

After a morning run, I had breakfast at the hotel.

After a busy few days behind and ahead of me, I opted to make the most of the beach and take it easy.

After a very lazy morning, I headed off for a walk down the main road. On the left is a billboard with President Yahya Jammeh, or his proper full name of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh Babili Mansa.

About ~2.5 kilometres down the road, I found Bijilo National Park, and after hiring a compulsory guide, went for a wander.

Unlike the shy monkey's I saw in Lekki, Nigeria these guys were not afraid of at all, and even had their hands out for nuts that other tourists were feeding them.

A couple of Palm-nut vultures in the trees. As their main diet is mostly fruit, my guide said they are usually called 'Vegetarian Vultures'.

After walking back to the hotel, I joined the package holiday tourists and lazed out at the hotel pool.

I didn't have the energy to go far for dinner, so just had some tasty fish and chips at the hotel pool-side restaurant for dinner for ~10 euro's at the end of day 5. I had managed to read a few emails on the super-slow wifi, and confirmed that Jason and Jordan had made their flight to Banjul from Brussels, and to meet up with them for the start of our West African adventure tomorrow.

Day 6.

I had booked a 'Roots' river cruise tour through Arch Tours, and when the tour bus pulled up at just after 8am, was glad to see Jason and Jordan had arrived ok and the tour bus had picked them up earlier at their hotel. The bus then took us to the wharf in Banjul, ready to board our boat for the cruise up the river.

Our cruise would depart from Banjul, and cruise up the Gambia river to the villages of Albreda and Jufureh and on to Kunta Kinteh Island.

As we were sailing against the tide in both directions, it would take ~2.5 hours each way.

Just before 12pm, we docked and disembarked to begin our 'Roots' tour.

Never Again! 'Roots' is a semi-fictional book written by the American writer, Alex Haley. The book is about a Gambian man from Jufureh, Kunta Kinte, born in 1750, enslaved and taken to America and where he died in 1822.

We then walked through the village where the local kids were giving a bit of a show.

At the Albreda Slave Museum, which had history from the slave trade and all the way up to Martin luther King Jr.

Jordan with one of the locals who had brought along a Kora. Jordan had a Kora back home from one of his previous West Africa trips, and showed off his African music making skills!

Some more of the local kids.

We then met some of the local ladies who were descendants of Kunta Kinte.

Who graciously posed for a photo for us.

Jason had also managed to make friends with one of the policemen who were escorting us and got this cool shot of them together back at the dock.

After boarding back at the boat, we had lunch of salads, rice and fresh shrimp from the Gambia river, very tasty!

We then sailed into the middle of the river to Kunta Kinteh Island. The island is an important historical site in the West African slave trade and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Catching a wooden boat to the island with our river boat just behind.

The ruins of the old fort. The island was initially used for gold and ivory trade, and later in the slave trade. The low-lying island has had significant erosion, and is now approximately 1/6 of the size during the time when the fort was active. Reinforcements have been made in recent years however to minimise further loss of the island.

After a leisurely cruise back to Banjul, we stopped at the Arch 22. The arch was built in 1996 to mark the military coup d'etat of July 22, 1994, through which Yahya Jammeh, the current president, gained power.

And at Jason & Jordan's hotel, the Gambia Coral Beach Hotel, where I had some Chicken Yassa for dinner.

The Coral beach Hotel was $160-195 a night, so I booked an apartment just over the road instead for 50 euro's. It was very spacious and perfect for the one night stay. After a bit of hassle trying to get sheets for the bed organised, I then got a good night's rest before starting our road trip south tomorrow over the border into the Senegal and onto the city of Ziguinchor.

DanielW is offline