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Explore Galloya & Kubuneh with us

My Magazine 2022/11
3 min
Galloya and Kubuneh are two villages located close to Makasutu, offering a visitor a welcoming experience of the local community and insights into the traditions of the people living there. Enjoy the street art of Galloya, join ladies in the women's gardens, learn about palm wine tapping, be amazed by graceful baobab trees, visit the oyster collection site and take notes on the salt production process. After lunch at magical Wunderland, embark on the boat to ride into the sunset on the creeks of The River Gambia and get carried away by the unique cultural performance.

Galloya is the village where authentic architecture joins with abstract street art. 

Abstract graffitis were accomplished by well-known international artists, who were part of a project named Wide Open Walls to promote peace and respect. The intercultural project started in 2010, when one of the founders of Makasutu Nature Reserve, Lawrence Williams, joined forces with respected Gambian artist Njogou Touray to enlive the area. Artists from all around the world visited The Gambia and added their artistic contributions through their graffiti and paintings on the walls of the homes and communal buildings in the village. 

Meet the alkalo and take a donkey cart around the village to be inspired by the work of various artists as well as the intimate atmosphere of the village. 

Women of Galloya and Kubuneh are doing their daily work in the community gardens, where they grow popular vegetables, amongst which are okra, hot pepper, spring onion, eggplant, etc. Discover what the plants look like and try out your gardening skills while enjoying the cheerful energy of the ladies, who are also part of the Kanyelenga performance group. 

We reach Kubuneh, where a magnificent baobab tree is present on the spiritual grounds of the ancestors. There are many Jola people living in the area, and their connection with nature is something sacred. They pay respect to the trees as this is a way of communication with their ancestors. Although most of the Jolas in The Gambia are now Muslims, they still retain some of the beliefs and practices of their animistic religion. 

Jolas are also very famous palm wine tappers. The skills of climbing a tree with the help of a rope made out of leaves and fibres of a palm are a sight to embrace. You can even try it on your own but make sure you don't climb too high!

It's time to take a ride to the riverside. We are welcomed at beautiful Wunderland lodge, offering a peaceful moment just next to the water. We enjoy lunch here and board a boat to explore mangrove-surrounded creeks. We stop at the oyster production site to learn about this traditional practice and make another stop at the salt production area to learn how salt is extracted from the muddy river grounds. 

The highlight of the trip is Bougarabou cultural entertainment, a tradition that is dying out. The traditional Jola drum is a set of four drums intended to be played by a single drummer. The deep bass drumming is accompanied by the women's clapping, singing and dancing, inviting you to join in.  

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Behind the lens: Galloya
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