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Introducing Baobab River Hiking Trails

My Magazine 2022/09
4 min
Hiking is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in the world. People everywhere are getting out on the trail near where they live and travelling to embark on world-class hiking vacations in national parks and wilderness areas around the globe.

Hiking is though not just walking; it is much more than that. People choose hiking vacations because of many reasons.

Here are just a few:

  • Hiking offers reconnection with nature and the past (humanity's first and most basic form of self-transport), even if just for a couple of hours.
  • The body fuels the mind. It is an exercise in nature where you can stop and admire a big tree, have an insight into village life, listen to the birds and watch the water flow by in a creek.
  • It is something people of almost any age with any budget can do, and it’s conducive to many physical limitations.
  • It offers the opportunity for genuine adventure and many new friendships on the way.

Hiking in The Gambia

Mr Gernot Henn, a German engineer, was on a journey in The Gambia in January 2018 with “Nature Friends Internationale (NFI)”, where he met the representatives of a Gambian association for youth and culture in Janjanbureh – JUST ACT. During the knowledge and idea exchange, a plan to develop various nature hiking trails was born.

Six trails have been developed through the woodlands along the Gambia river and villages facing inherent natural beauty and culture.

The main objectives for developing trails are to include the local population, sustain treatment of nature and resources, cross-border cooperation and exchange, develop and promote nature-oriented and eco-tourism, create employment opportunities and combat poverty.

The trails were established as six one-day sections. The day sections terminate each in Janjanbureh on the river island, where lodging facilities are available. The trails accommodate single hikers and hiking groups. All the hikers are guided/accompanied by trained (knowledge of flora and fauna, ornithology, first aid etc.) local nature guides.

All six hiking trails have been drawn up on digital maps. The trails are published on the “Outdoor Active” App, where they can be reviewed by any user free of charge. The trails are marked with a physical colour code (blue paint) along the path.

 

Trails

Janjanbureh (JJB) - North Shore West Trail to Pankun Island (return by boat)

Ferry to the North Shore, then heading west through the village. Through gardens to the river. Along the river and through a large rice field. At the end of the rice field, crossing the river to Bankun Island. Return by passenger boat.
Total: 6km, 3.5h

 

JJB - North Shore East Trail to Koli Bolong Hill (return by boat)

From Janjanbureh with the Ferry to the north shore, then heading east to the opposite of the end of the Island, climbing the Koli Bolong mountain (hill 30m) and hiking along the rice fields to a village. From there, return to the river and by passenger boat to Janjanbureh.
Total: 12km, 4h

 

JJB - Island Trail West to Ndandu (round trip)

From Janjanbureh, heading west to the end of Island (Ndandu), passing the ruins of the former Bird Safari Lodge and returning the same way to Janjanbureh.
Total 13km, 4,5h

 

JJB - Island Trail East to Kumbanyerr (round trip)

From Janjanbureh on the Mc Carthy Island heading East to Kumbanyerr (End of Island). Returning the same way.
Total 13km, 4.5h

 

JJB - South Shore East Trail to Kunkilling Forest (return by boat)

3.5h Hike over the Janjanbureh Bridge, heading east, passing rice fields and bushland into the Kunkilling Forest Park. Return by passenger boat to Janjanbureh.
The tour is 70% easy walking; however, 30% is on the bumpy surface due to hippo traces. Sun protection and water min. 1.5l is obligatory.
Total: 12km, 5h

 

JJB - South Shore West Trail to Tabanani (round trip)

From Janjanbureh over the bridge heading west, crossing Gambia river by passenger boat, returning to Janjanbureh on Island south shore to Sitaba Lodge and back to Janjanbureh.
Total: 16km, 4.5h

 

The hikers carry only small luggage (daypacks). The heavy luggage remains in the place of accommodation. Locals provide typical food.

3 Trails end in Janjanbureh, and for three trails, return transport by boat will be organised.

If you love hiking and are prepared to abstain from the comfort and luxury of high-class tourist services and places, this is the best choice to explore The Gambia on foot.

Mr Gernot Henn is a hiking guide and an active member of the German Nature Friends Global Society. If you want to contact him directly or you need additional info about the trails, please do not hesitate to contact him at mail@gernot-henn.de or WhatsApp.

Photo Credits: Gernot Henn

For more information and accommodation bookings, please contact us at travel@my-gambia.com.

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