Community-based tourism is something that can a) give the traveler a deeper insight into the travel destination and b) help local communities to develop and evolve with the help of responsible tourism.
According to Jalamang, responsible tourism is the best kind of tourism that a person can be involved in. It allows the tourist to interact with the local people, learn from them, exchange ideas, meet the people in communities, and learn about their way of their life.
In his opinion, both the tourist and the locals benefit from community-based tourism. The tourists are entertained by cultural masquerades, singing, dancing, and showing them things from their everyday lives that will excite them. The locals also benefit from tourism because it creates employment for the youths and helps make some income for the development of their community.
Jalamang describes some of the activities that visitors can enjoy when coming to his home town.
In JANJANBUREH, there is a three-day festival in January each year, where visitors can see different kinds of masquerades such as the Kankurang, Zimba, Hunted Devil, Kumpo, etc. But for those who could not visit Janjanbureh at that time, there is a Kankurang museum, which is part of the UNESCO heritage site. You can learn about the different types of Kankurangs and masquerades in The Gambia and West Africa in the museum. On a cultural trail, you can learn about the rituals and spiritual meanings of the sacred baobabs and listen to the legends about the Kankurang in the evening.
Apart from Janjanbureh, Jalamang also guides his travellers to the villages of Jamali Ganyado and Tabanani.
In TABANANI, visitors are welcomed by the Kanyaleng woman’s group. The Kanyelengs perform rituals for infertile women so that God can bless them with children. Visitors will join the elderly man in making hand fans, keep them as a souvenir, and learn how to make a delicious domoda fresh from the local garden.
JAMALI GANYADO is a very cultural community. That’s why any visitor that visits there is always amazed. When visiting the village, visitors are always taken there by a horse cart. When they reach there, they will be entertained by the Fulani musical instrument called the Riti, accompanied by women dancing and singing. Locals will always invite visitors to dance with them. After the welcoming ceremony, visitors have a workshop with the community cooks to prepare a special breakfast meal locally called Chura gherte. From there, the head of the community, locally called the Alkalo, is allowed to explain how the village came into existence and the type of work they do to feed their families.
With the passion in his voice, Jalamang concludes: “With the villagers, you are free to do anything you want to do because they are always willing to share their experience with the visitors. And that I think is the best thing about community-based tourism”.
If you want to get a taste of freshly made domoda or ride a horse cart in a remote village up the river, make sure you check all available Ninki Nanka Trails on our trips and activities page or send us an inquiry at email@example.com.