Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub: Gambia Heritage Tours

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Tourism is turning into the most significant part of The Gambia’s travel scene. Gambia Heritage Tours provides an exclusive avenue to its visitors who seek out eye catching and environmentally friendly locations, due to the nation’s passion for keeping the environment in its original state as well as community based tourism programmes.

Eco-lodges and trips give priority to minimal impact practices in the most valued areas of the country. In addition, they protect wildlife natural habitats. However, tourism in The Gambia also supports environmental education and stewardship, and contributes to local people’s livelihoods.

In other words, Tourism is a way of protecting resources for future generations as well as enjoying unique landscapes, plants and animals that are only found there. Tourism has the potential of conserving the country’s uniqueness and diversity in culture will be attractive to some people due to their sensitivity when it comes to environmental matters.

In 1965 The Gambia became independent from British colonial rule and four years later, it transformed into a republic. Africa also had its first republics from these times. The Former President Dawda Jawara ruled it until 1994 when he was ousted through a military coup.

Political turmoil has characterized the nation right from time despite the fact that it started off as one of the calmest African countries.

Gambia As A Leading Tourism Hub In Africa

The smallest African main land nation is The Gambia. It is however not merely a small country but has become a tourism hub. This is partly because it has a long strip of land with one side linked to Senegal and the remaining ones surrounded by the sea. For instance there is no coastal line that does not lead to an ocean (atlantic coast) as it is situated sandwiched between other states; this implies that they cover approximately 300 kilometers flowing from River Gambia inwards from that point whereas its entire length resembles 116 miles.

Africa values its heritage and culture emphatically. Each nation and communities inside the nation have various rich cultures. The different cultures revolve around family and is seen through their art, music and oral literature. Indigenous culture persists from oral literature to customs, dialects, art, music.

Gambia As A Leading Tourism Hub In Africa-Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub Gambia Heritage Tours

A List of Must See Locations in Gambia: Gambia Heritage Tours

1. Banjul

Banjul is the capital of Gambia, situated at Sainte-Marie Island where the Gambia River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Due to its environments, crowded markets, rich colonial background: adventurous people will find this place fascinating.

The city presents a captivating mix of African and European cultures with the pastel-colored colonial blocks, crowded narrow streets and palm trees dangling in the air. In the heart of Banjul stands Arch 22: a great monument from the top of which tourists get an amazing panoramic view of the city and its environs. Go round downtown’s Albert Market too, where one finds an abundance of local crafts, strange spices and fresh produce overflowing from vendors.

2. Bijilo Forest Park

Located on the Atlantic coast of The Gambia, Bijilo Forest Park edges is an exquisite natural attraction offering peace and serenity from the environment. The park is persisted approximately 51 hectares; it draws hikers and conservationists mostly due to the diverse range of flora and fauna harbored in it.

3. Tanji Village

Hidden on the western coast of Gambia, there is a small village called Tanji situated on the Atlantic Ocean known as a treasure trove by tourists who long to explore the world of Gambian fishermen. For those who want to experience a typical village setting, it is possible not only to experience it but also witness them firsthand in villages like this one which has been an epitome of maritime traditions within it’s environs.

Fishing boats land in the Tanji Fish Market near the reserve from all along the West African coast to conduct business.

Tanji Village-Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub Gambia Heritage Tours

4. Abuko Nature Reserve

Located in the west of The Gambia, this quiet paradise provides a full nature experience that is so varied and alive it will appeal to animal lovers.

Created in 1968 to save the biodiversity, Abuko Nature Reserve was one of the first reserves in the Country, aimed at protecting the Gambia unique landmarks, species diversity and covers an area of over 106 hectares. The nature of the park is such that anyone who decides to follow its meandering paths will be surprised by the great variety of environments: from profound woodlands to productive swamps.

5. Kachikally’s Crocodile Pool

The sacred Kachikally Crocodile Pool has been a famous and holy place full of legend and religiousness for centuries, even before it was considered a place for visitors. For a long time, the occupants of this pond full of crocodiles have revered it due to its alleged healing capabilities and cultural significance.

According to tradition: people can go to the Kachikally Crocodile Pool to receive blessings and be healed because it is seen as a sacred place where the spirits of the ancestors dwell. Therefore Gambians frequent the pond praying for fertility, remedies diseases, purification among other reasons; it is believed that the water possesses some healing powers.

Although Bakau contains this holy lake, there are very many others in The Gambia, some with and some without crocodiles. Entering just costs D50, roughly £1 GBP, and there is a little but fascinating museum there as well. The crocodiles have grown so accustomed to guests that you may walk straight up to stroke them, although not so advisable.

6. The Forest of Makasutu Culture

The Cultural Forest of Makasutu constitutes an untapped reserve of spirituality, culture and environmental friendliness. It comprises almost 1,000 acres of conserved land where centuries-old cultural practices are still maintained in addition to numerous species of wildlife and plants.

Comprising a spectrum of ecosystems ranging from mangrove forests to savannahs to palm woodlands, Makasutu Cultural Forest is a fantastic source of eco-tourism appeal.

This forest blends the variety of scenes found in The Gambia into a brilliant 1000-hectare package, much as a picture of the nation. Baboons, monitor lizards, and hundreds of bird species abound in the breathtaking scene of palm groves, wetlands, mangroves and savannah plains.

A day in the forest consists of a mangrove tour by pirogue; guided excursions throughout a variety of habitats, including a palm forest where one may observe palm sap being tapped; a visit to a crafts facility; and displays of traditional dance.

Excellent staff runs and arranges the trips. Particularly for families looking for a taste of nature away from the beaches and without the trouble of travelling upcountry, this is a fantastic day out. Sometimes, especially if you’re not travelling alone, you can negotiate cheaper rates during the off season.

For those who enjoy animals, the forest is a hotspot including many bird species in addition to a great range of mammals from monkeys to baboons. Along the winding rivers, guided walking trips and canoe trips provide a unique viewpoint of the vegetation and fauna of the forest.

Makasutu is another place that promotes local art and handcrafts. The forest provides the stage for music, ancient stories and ceremonies educating about the country’s history as well as representing its diverse cultures.

The forest of Makasutu Culture-Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub Gambia Heritage Tours

7. Lower River Region

Southern side of the Gambia River in the Lower River Region, spanning more than 11,000 hectares, Kiang West National Park is The Gambia’s biggest and most important nature reserve, It was first developed in 1987. Because of different ecosystems, it has mangrove swamps, savannahs, tidal streams and wildlife selection.

There are numerous bird species that are rare and migratory, which can only be found in this park, making it quite interesting for ornithologists. Additionally, different monkey species, warthogs as well as hyenas are some of the mammals found at Kiang West other than birds. 

8. Stone Circles at Wassu

An interesting and enigmatic historical landmark in the Central River Region of The Gambia are the Wassu Stone Circles. Believed to be burial grounds, these megalithic circles: which span between the third century BC and the sixteen century AD are among the best sites in The Gambia.

Together classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they constitute part of the Senegambian stone circles spanning over 30,000 square km throughout Gambia and Senegal.

Visitors in Wassu come across eleven circles totaling about 200 stones. Every stone, some reaching heights of 2.5 metres, bears evidence to the past of the area. Recent archaeological digs at the site have uncovered human remains together with pottery and iron artefacts, providing information on the burial customs and social structures of the societies that erected them. The site is thought to have been a ritual burial ground.

9. River Gambia National Park 

Found in the central part of The Gambia, River Gambia National Park is an unusual conservation area. Established in 1978, this national park comprises of five main islands in the Gambia River over almost 585 hectares. Its commitment in wildlife rehabilitation is well-known; especially, the internationally praised Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project.

Looking at protecting and rehabilitating chimpanzees which were once caged before being released back into the wild within a protected environment, the park is a safe sanctuary for diverse animal species, being home also to many other animals compared to chimpanzees.

Other animal species such as the red colobus monkey which is at risk because their numbers keep going down, among them those which are at the verge of extinction, are harbored in the park apart from chimpanzees. Monkeys has also been given special care under a program called Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN).

Fun Activities To Participate in Gambia

1. The Roots Homecoming Festival

Every year, the Roots Homecoming Festival is held to bring African diaspora and local communities in The Gambia together thus paying homage to the common heritage, tradition, and past of Africa and its children who are found worldwide. Every year, the Roots Homecoming Festival takes place to bring together the African diaspora and local communities within The Gambia thereby acknowledging a joint legacy, culture and history between Africa and people from this continent all over the world.

2. Visit The Shoreline of Fajara

Beside cultural dynamism in Africa, small beach-village Fajara holds coastline serenity in Banjul’s Gambia. This popular spot right by the magnificent Atlantic has a fantastic refuge for tourists, where relaxation, learning, and entertainment can be found together if they wish so.

The shoreline of Fajara is visited by swimmers, tanning lotions enthusiasts and water sports lovers. Regardless of whether you are interested in surfing, swimming in the crystal clear seas or sunbathing, Fajara offers an ideal setting for beach pleasure.

3. Visit The Slave House 

Crossing the Gambia River from the North Bank on the regional car ferry, you visit the Slave House, a poignant memory of the town’s role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

4. Go Birdwatching At The Tanji Bird Reserve 

With so many 540 species of birds seen here, the Gambia is well-known for birding and one of the favourite Gambia traditional spots of BBC wildlife presenter and birdwatcher Chris Packham. Hiring an official guide can help you to enjoy birdwatching.

Many of the hotels at Tanji bird reserve have beautiful grounds where a range of birds can be observed, though, and it would be interesting to find out whether they have a binoculars loan policy.

For conservationists and birdwatchers, Tanji Bird Reserve is a hidden down the Atlantic coast and dream come true. Covering about 612 hectares, it offers a wide diversity of habitats including mangroves, lagoons, and dunes, which draw an amazing variety of bird species, both native and migrating. Ideal for birdwatching, this region is well-known for its avian diversity.

Tanji Bird Reserve  -Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub Gambia Heritage Tours

5. Stay at The Lamin Lodge

Lamin Lodge offers a fantastic (and basic) day trip from the beach resorts that contrasts peacefully with the busy cities of The Gambia. This resort opens from a little island inside a bigger archipelago to plenty of mangrove trees and peaceful waves.

Among Lamin Lodge’s main attractors are its ecotourism possibilities. Apart from preserving the ecological balance, the rich mangrove ecosystems of the island give a refuge for many various kinds of bird species and aquatic life, therefore supporting nature lovers and bird watchers.

The meandering rivers across the mangroves provide a good habitat for boat tours or paddling, therefore enabling tourists to really enjoy the peace and natural beauty of the area.

6. Go Shopping in Any Of The Gambia Craft Markets

Come to Gambia for your holidays and experience thrilling craft markets in popular tourist areas popular with tourists as they give them an opportunity to brush up on their bargaining skills. Pay less for what you buy and settle for a price halfway between your starting price and the figure demanded by the seller in any given stall. The trick is to know when to call it quits.

While some stallholders can be a touch demanding, smile, mind your words, slow down and follow the flow.

Among the items in the market are great gowns, exquisite jewellery, and classic wood carvings. Though any musical instrument you are probably going to discover in a tourist craft market will probably be of low quality and intended for exhibition rather than for use.

7. Experience the Feel of Gambia Neighbourhood Markets

Beyond the tourist-aimed artisan markets in the resort areas, the most well-known markets are at Serrekunda, the biggest town in The Gambia, and the Royal Albert Market in the capital, Banjul. These two towns are interesting to visit and have big markets offering everything under the sun.

Although most individuals are delighted to have their picture taken in the tourist craft markets, in the areas targeted for residents many people object or expect to be paid.

Some of those who run stalls, especially the old, do not understand English. Even so, you can always talk to people about taking their pictures if you just show them your camera; never be annoyed if one refuses.

8. Watch Wrestling at Sanyang Beach

The Gambia boasts numerous beautiful sandy beaches, none of which ever become packed and some of which lack another soul in view. Many people choose Sanyang, sometimes called as Paradise Beach. It features a little café, bar and some handicap booths.

Watch Wrestling at Sanyang Beach-Gambia As A Travel and Conservation Hub Gambia Heritage Tours

There are rows of vibrant pirogues just a short stroll away, and behind them the fish is being dried and smoked. Sunday traditional wrestling events are quite fun throughout the main tourist season.

9. Watch Conventional Drumming and Dancing Performance

Many hotels and certain restaurants provides entertainment services through drumming, dancing and singing performances. Though there are a few outstanding traditional groups who run the circuit of hotels and you can see them while dining or over a drink, quality and style vary here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Most Famous Thing in Gambia?

Superb temperature, friendly natives, peaceful beach resorts and diverse wildlife are what Gambia is known for.

2. What is the Distance from Nigeria to Gambia by Road?

The distance between Nigeria and The Gambia is 2361 kilometres. The road distance is 3189.2 kilometres.

3. What is the Best Currency to Take to Gambia?

Gambia is a predominantly cash-based economy, so it’s worth bearing that in mind before you jet abroad. We advise converting your pounds for Dalasi before you go to be sure you’re getting a reasonable rate. If you run out of time most hotels and local banks will be able to exchange your sterling.

White rice accompanied with different spicy sauces is the main meal offered in a Gambian community.

5. What is The Best Time to Visit Gambia?

When majority would prefer other seasons, most dirt roads upcountry are unblocked during this period of time when mosquitoes are counted less . For the western visitor, crowded month are months from October through to March with cheapest all-inclusive coastal resorts. So it’s best to avoid such months.

6. Does Visiting Gambia Need A Lot of Money?

When you go to Gambia, you will get great value for your money. One can eat out at affordable prices. Expect to pay around £35 for a three course dinner for two. Drinks are also quite cheap, with a can of soda or beers costing only 90p each.

7. In Gambia, what is the Biggest Problem Face By Tourist?

Thirty percent of rain has been lost every year consistently over the last three decades. Consequently dryness remains prevalent in Gambia as a significant environmental danger till now which has led to low agricultural produce among other things like lack for clean drinking tap or household needs around most areas over there.

Final Words

The Gambia has a commitment to tourism that provides a special nature-friendly feel which includes Gambia cultural attractions at the same time. This results in less negative effects on the environment as well as minimal ecospheric conservation measures hence minimizing the harm caused.

The Gambia conserves its various types of ecosystems while at the same time boosting living standards of residents by supporting their economic activities.

The Gambia serves as a top-notch place where ethical and environmentally responsible guests love; now more than ever, it has the ethereal jungle scene and historical background which makes every traveller who visits enjoy themselves.

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