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TRIP: Ninki Nanka Casamance - 4 DAYS

My Magazine 2023/10
5 min
This trip is perfect for travellers who are intrigued about the culture of the place they are visiting yet like to combine their exploration with relaxation by the beach. On the journey through mystically untouched nature, you will be able to learn about the Jola culture while exploring some of the most beautiful gems of the Casamance region.


  • Ziguenchor – city tour and cashew factory visit
  • Oussouye – boat trip to authentic Jola village on the island
  • Overnight in Campemant Aljowe Oussouye


  • Meeting the King of Oussouye
  • Museum of Jola Lifestyle
  • Climbing the Kanouffa tree platform
  • Overnight in Campement Afambil – Chez Leon a Ehidj


  • Visiting the Carabane Island
  • Ending expedition in Cap Skirring
  • Overnight in No Stress Cap Skirring


  • Leisure Day in Cap Skirring
  • Return to The Gambia in the evening

In the early morning hours, we leave for Ziguenchor. After passing the border with Senegal, you will notice there is not much difference in the landscape as the country and nations were once as one. Coming closer to the capital city of Casamance, you will start noticing the lushness of nature and the magnificence of the ancient trees.

We take a short city tour in Ziguenchor and visit the craft market to be enchanted by the vast selection of hand-made art.

The cashew tree is a widespread plant in Casamance, but while the cashew nut is probably familiar to most people, we cannot say the same for the juicy cashew apple that grows below it. Environment and community-friendly cashew processing factory, run by charismatic Madame Noelle Niouky, also known as the lady with the donkey, takes us over the stages of removing kernel from the fruits, steaming, opening, roasting and finally packaging the sweet cashew nuts. The fruit is used to make juice, jam, caramelized fruit, dried fruit and even meat substitutes.

We have lunch close to the river to enjoy the perfect view.

After lunch, we head to the creek close to Oussouye, where we board a boat and enjoy a short hour's ride amongst mangroves to reach the isolated village of Elubaline, also known as the Island of Children. The life of the Jola people here is still untouched and flows at its own pace, following the traditions and self-sufficient economy. You will visit traditional houses and learn about chores, fetishes, a shrine, a water tank built by an NGO, a hospital, a school and more. Jola traditions are still alive and well in this village, where the only money you need is to buy telephone credit.

We return to Oussouye, where we will have dinner and spend the night.

After breakfast, we will visit the most visited person in Casamance: the king of Oussouye, Sibilumbaï Diedhiou. Even though the real kingdom ended in the thirteenth century, he still represents the »spiritual (non-formal) king« of the region of Oussouye since 2000. There are certain rules which apply when visiting the king. One should avoid wearing clothes of entirely red colour, and women should not enter if on their periods. Visitors should greet the king by standing up and saying »man«. After the introduction, visitors are invited to ask questions which will not necessarily be answered by the king himself. But he will never deny taking a photo with him.

Another peek into Jolas's lifestyle was made on our next stop, which brought together a sacred tree, a traditional Jola round mud house transformed into a museum with everyday objects hanging from the walls, and an architectural wonder: a colonial-style-inspired building with pillars made from the mud.

Casamance boasts magnificent old trees, especially baobabs and cotton-silk trees. Jola's belief is that once the tree dies in nature, you have to plant a new one. This rule is still being followed, keeping the forests vast and intact. But there is one special elephant tree in Kanouffa that you can climb on top of and have a perfect view of the surroundings while feeling the power of years old tree bearing you. Secured and guided, the climb is much easier than it seems as you look at the hanging ladder from the ground. And it is worth every drop of sweat or tremble of adrenaline. The view from above is simply magical.

After being mesmerized by the wonderful view, we board a boat to take us to the lodge on the peninsula, where we will spend the night.

We wake up in a paradise-like morning, embracing the sunrise on a riverbank just next to the lodge. Breakfast with the view of a calm mangrove area slowly waking up with the rising sun is breathtaking.
Part of the Casamance is strongly connected with the Casamance River, creating various islands and peninsulas rich with mangroves and a vivid animal world. Boat trips on the mighty water while spotting colourful birds and being splashed by drops of the water are experiences of their own.

After breakfast, we board a boat to the Carabane island, which was strongly influenced by colonial history. Two magnificent remains of the French settlement period are the tremendous colonial-style church and "special school", which was first used as a deportation asylum of resistance to colonialization. Later, it was the place where the first Africans learned to read and write European languages, although further in the future, it was used as a correction centre where young people were trained with different skills.

Carabane does not have very vivid vegetation yet has a reputation of being the island of lost paradise as its sandy beaches embellished with coconut trees give the feel of tropical paradise. The influence of the Portuguese, who first occupied the island in the 16th century, in combination with the non-hierarchical animistic traditions of the predominant inhabitant ethnic group, caused that island to be sometimes referred to as Brazil in Africa.

After lunch and some free time to stroll on the beach or buy some souvenirs from mini stalls, find home-made coconut biscuits, or just enjoy the view of the beautiful beach, we head back to the shore and make a stop on a "so-called” Robinson's Island, where travellers with an itch for “solo adventures" will feel their heart is at home.

We head towards Cap Skirring, where we will spend the night in one of the lodges on top of the escarpment, offering a majestic view of one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. Cap Skirring offers many opportunities to taste the evening and nightlife as it is considered one of the most popular getaway beach resort towns for Europeans as well as the West African Region.

The last day is purposed for relaxation and leisure activities until later in the afternoon when we return back to reach The Gambia in the evening hours.

Ready for a journey?

My Gambia Tours are unique because they are based on our own experiences and impressions through our exploration of the places. Together with partners, we are creating responsible travel products that ensure a fair distribution of income and encourage travellers to see travel destinations beyond the classic tourism features. Join us on Ninki Nanka Trail to Casamance!


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