FOOTSTEPS OF THE SLAVERY & ANIMALS IN THE WILD
3 days trip
Fort Bullen, Wassu, Kuntaur, River Gambia national park, Janjaburreh, historical town, Village of Nyentempo, …
We leave the place of accommodation early in the morning to cross the river to Barra, with ferry or local boat from Banjul’s port.
A walk though the village, local market and historical place Fort Bullen.
Fort Bullen was built by the British in the early nineteenth century to thwart the efforts of some European slave traders. The village used to be the exit point of the slave trade. They brought them from the mainland to Barra and from here to Kunta Kinteh Island (St. James Island) and then to America and Europe. Fort Bullen stands as a lasting reminder of the British campaign to eradicate slavery in West Africa. In the early 1970s it was declared a National Monument, and in 2003, along the Six-Gun Battery in Banjul, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also a small museum to see.
From Barra we continue our drive on the dusty red road to Jufureh/Albredavillages, which is the place of our accommodation for the night. After the traditional lunch, Jabang family will take us for always safe and enjoyable boat trip to the famous Kunta Kinteh Island.This tiny island is located on the Gambia River, and is steeped with heartbreaking history of the slave trade. The only things on the island which has been steadily decreasing due to erosion are now the ruins of James fort and mighty baobabs.
After the return from Kunta Kinteh Island, we will visit National museum at Juffureh. Small but interesting museum has a powerful message of dark history era and its consequences.
In the evening, dinner will be served. After that you can choose between early rest or evening attaya. There is no running water in the lodge, but you will be able to wash yourselves by using cups and sleep tight under mosquito nets.
After the breakfast we pack our things and continue our way to the Wassu. The Wassu Stone Circles Site was proclaimed a National Monument in 1995. In 2006 the site was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The protected area contains 11 circles, some of which have been subjected to excavation by the Anglo-Gambian Stone Circles Expedition of 1964-65. This expedition determined that the sites are predominantly burial sites with single burials, very poor-quality grave goods, including iron weapons, arrow and spearheads, knives, pottery vessels and bronze ornaments.
The site was dated to 750-1000 AD. The Museum exhibition attempts to interpret the stone circles in the context of other megalithic heritage of the world.
Our next stop is Kuntaur where we have lunch. From there we board a boat and start exploring River Gambia National park which offers an amazing experience and chance to look inside the natural environment of animals living in The Gambia. One of the most interesting is a giant hippopotamus, the second heaviest land mammal in the world. Their ecological systems range from lush jungle rainforest, reeds, savannah and mangrove swamps. Their dense bodies make it impossible for them to swim, even though they spend most of their time in the water.
Expect to see many colorful birds, monkeys, baboons, big lizards, hippos, banana plantation… but do not forget that this is not a ZOO but natural habitat for the animals.
After the short drive through the rice fields we cross the river with a ferry to settle in Janjaburreh for the night. After the traditional dinner there we attend a cultural night in the heart of the village with a traditional performance and drums. The details about the program are a surprise so put on an African dress and let the music take you deeper in the local life.
After the breakfast we take a walk around the historical town and visit a local historian who is not only excellent at telling stories, but also at playing on the local drums. He will introduce us to the town’s past and entertain us with drumbeat. Then we are on our way back along the south side of the River Gambia. The drive there will take you along an African road that was renovated a couple of years ago. Meanwhile you can observe beautiful nature and picturesque villages filled with children and smiling people. Apart from a multitude of mosques, modest village shops, wells and small streams, you will often meet women, who carry heavy burdens on their heads, farmers working the land and shepherds taking care of livestock. It can also happen that a herd of cows or sheep will cross the road with a slow, African tempo and completely stop all traffic. It will take some time to reach Tendaba where we will have our lunch. After that we are back on the road again.
Our last stop will be the village of Nyentempo where people still live in mud-brick houses with thatched roofs. When you enter the village, you will first meet with the village chief (alkali). He needs to grant you permission to walk freely around the village. You will get to spend unforgettable time with local families. The smiling people of this village will allow you insight into their daily lives, religion and customs. You will see their humble homes and get to experience part of their culture. The chief might even give out some village secret.