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International Kunta Kinteh Festival - Culture, Roots and Homecoming

My Magazine 2023/04
5 min
Are you looking for a one-of-a-kind cultural experience? Look no further than the Kunta Kinteh Festival! This 10-day event, taking place from July 2nd to July 12th 2023, celebrates the rich heritage and history of The Gambia, offering a variety of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy.

What to Expect

Your journey starts with a pickup at Banjul International Airport, and a transfer to the luxurious Coco Ocean Resort & Spa in Bijilo. Take the first few days to relax and explore the area, with an orientation session and a visit to the Coco Ocean Resort beach.

Coco Ocean Resort

On the third day, you'll embark on a city tour of Banjul, visiting landmarks such as the National Museum, Arch 22, and the Katchikally Crocodile Pool. This pool is home to over 100 crocodiles, including the friendly two-meter-long Charlie, who has become a local celebrity. Spend the night back at the Coco Ocean Resort & Spa.

The fourth day is the highlight of the festival: International Kunta Kinteh Day Celebration. This formal opening ceremony features cultural displays and a gala award dinner, followed by a carnival parade of cultural troupes and masquerades along Kairaba Avenue to the West Field Monument. There are also speeches by VIPs and performances of masquerades and cultural dances, followed by an evening dinner with the business and diaspora community.

On the fifth day, attend the Diaspora Investment Opportunities Forum, where you can learn about trade opportunities and business ventures. After this, you'll drive to Juffureh with a bus. The day concludes with a river cruise along the River Gambia and a boat excursion through the mangrove swamps to Sita Joyeh Baobab Island Holiday Resort for a seafood competition. Spend the night at the resort.

Days six and seven are spent at Kunta Kinteh Camping, located in the village of Juffureh. Here, you'll participate in the International Kunta Kinteh Diaspora Home Return, where you journey to Kunta Kinteh Island by boat and participate in diaspora reconciliation and appeasement activities. You'll also identify your family lineage and participate in a family re-union and naming ceremony. Spend the night camping and listening to stories under the Bantaba tree with village elders.

Day eight is spent at the Juffureh Roots Festival, a cultural heritage bonanza featuring the Mandingo warrior rites of passage. On day nine, you'll return to Dakar by bus, with stops at the Fathala Zoo Park and Sally, Mbour to experience the diversity of Senegal. Spend the night at the ONOMO Hotel in Dakar.

The final day of the festival is spent exploring the Senegalese capital of Dakar, with a city tour and a visit to the African Civilization Museum and Place de Renaissance Monument. Day ten is a celebration of Freedom Day, with a cultural heritage trail of liberation and hangout at the beach.

The Kunta Kinteh Festival is a unique and immersive cultural experience that offers visitors the chance to explore The Gambia's rich history and heritage. Whether you're interested in music, food, or history, there's something for everyone at this 10-day event. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Meanwhile, enjoy these glimpses of last years edition.

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