Kachikally: Sacred Site and Crocodile Pool

Kachikally is one of the most known places in the Gambia, but mostly by the touristic aspect of it. Many people visit it because of a unique experience of touching the real-life crocodile. Alongside with more than 200 crocodiles living in Kachikally you are also able to do the forest walk and learn from the exhibits in the ethnographic museum. But amongst the locals, Kachikally is known by its healing powers of the water. We got a chance to talk with the Alkalo (village leader) and descendant of the Bojang family who has been taking care of the place since the beginning. He explained how it all began and what are the three most important aspects of the site today.

Bojang family settled in the town of Bakau because they found it suitable because of the good land and closeness of the sea but also because there were many palm trees which was very important for them since they were palm wine tappers. 

The meaning of Kachikally is sacred chord. It has an important historical value. The place had always had healing powers but it happened approximately 1200 years ago when Chomping Bojang helped a woman to save her baby from the pool. Since then, Kachikally belongs to the Bojang family. The place has healing powers especially for women who are seeking to bear children and also for illnesses that cannot be cured and many other personal problems. 

What about the crocodiles? Chomping’s sons one day found two crocodiles, which they brought home to their father. He told them to put them in the pool for the protection. Since then, Bojang family is associated with the crocodiles everywhere in The Gambia. They can also communicate with them, especially in the time of cleaning and digging the pool, when they inform them to keep away from the pool so people can perform their work which is also a big ceremony.


Mr. Bojang explains that crocodile pool has three aspect to it. The first one is political since the pool is one of the most known Gambian tourist attractions and is being advertised by the government. The other one is social part since they are helping and funding an association of the barren woman. Still the most important for them is a spiritual aspect since still now a day Kachikally is a place where many people, especially barren women come to seek help in healing. The place is very important for the society. In the time of political or any other problems in the society also many important people of leading position come to Kachikally to seek help and blessing.

In the high season there are from 12 to 13 employees who are taking care of cleaning, tour guiding and accounting. But since there has been extremely low season, also due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they had to let go some of them. Nevertheless Mr. Bojang explains that even though there is a peaceful time with no tourist, they are trying to take that opportunity and concentrate on research and documentation. They are working on documenting many artefacts and preparing new brochure as well as collecting new exhibits for the ethnographic museum.

Let us stop there for a moment. In the ethnographical museum, which is one of the biggest achievements of Mr. Bojang. He was the one who came up with the idea, since the place was empty and building a museum would not harm the preservation of the sacred site or the forest. Even though his idea was not supported by the local authorities, he had the support of UNESCO. So, he started with one gallery and with more and more visitors he managed to build 5 galleries, which offer many information about the local life and history of the place to the visitors. Mr. Bojang was gathering artefacts for more than 5 years and is looking for expanding their collection even more.

Museum as well as nature trail in the forest added value to the place as well as some additional income. But Bojang family has never advertised the place since it is not in their culture. Still, also with the museum it is one of the most visited places in The Gambia.

There are many people which don’t know or do not believe in the spirituality of the place. Mr. Bojang is not trying to convince them to think contrary. As he says, there are many proves that this place has spiritual powers but they respect people’s opinions. So welcome to see it for yourself and create your own opinion.

Photo Credit

Milan Njenjić, Ursa Faal

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