This excursion is part of our tours with purpose project. All people contributing to your experience on this trip make earnings directly on the spot.
Stop at: Senegambia Oyster Women Association in Kartong
Arriving early in the morning, this stop includes visiting the harvesting area with oysters’ women with the local boat on Halahin river and a possibility to participate in the activity.
While men fish, this industry is completely dominated by women who, besides harvesting the oysters, are also involved in conservation efforts. Women are going to the river to harvest oysters, boil them, and sell them. The shells are burned to produce white lime, which is sold for use in construction.
One of the oldest villages in The Gambia, Kartong is in the extreme south of the country tucked inland just beyond the reaches of the lapping waters of the Atlantic. Beyond Kartong there is only an immigration post, a small hamlet and fishing centre before the Halahein River and Casamance, in southern Senegal. Kartong is a pleasant town, which has always been famous amongst Gambians because of its sacred crocodile pool. Today it is also the centre of the sand-mining industry in The Gambia.
Depending on your choice of all-day activities you have also an option to stay longer with women and participate in the oysters boiling process.
Kartong in general offers many interesting activities.
Stop at: Reptile Farm in Kartong
The reptile farm (locally known as snake farm) is located near the Kartong beach. Inside a well-preserved forest you will see various of Gambian reptiles such as puff adders, rock pythons, royal pythons, sand snakes, beauty snakes, herald snakes, spiting cobras, wolf snakes, night adders, geckos, Agama lizards, Nile monitor lizard, African mud turtle, pelomedusa subrufa turtle, bell’s hinged back turtle, crocodiles, Senegalese chameleons, geckos, as well as non-reptiles such as centipedes.
Some are extremely dangerous but some others like python are not dangerous and have been tamed. Those one, if you want it, you will be able to touch them and take pictures of them in your hands. The dangerous snakes are kept as a safe distance.
The Gambia Reptile Farm is set up not as a zoo but as a research center to collect more information about reptiles and to educate local people about the benefits of having snakes in their local environment, for example in keeping the mice and rat population under control. The Reptile Farm encourages people to get rather closer to snakes than they might normally choose.
Stop at: Sand Dunes Mosque (Sacred), Gunjur
Mosque has a fascinating history and is visited by Muslims and scholars on pilgrimage from all over The Gambia and West Africa. The mosque, associated grounds, buildings and rocks are all regarded as sacred because the site provided sojourn for the Kalifat’ul Tijanniyya Sheikh Umar Taal (Leader of the Tijaaniyya Sect in West Africa) during his Islamisation mission in West Africa.
People visit the Sand Dune Mosque to pray for life changing situations ranging from marital status to reversing the plight of barren women for childbearing.
Stop at: Dwarf Coconut Planting Gunjur Project
This is a great opportunity for all who want to give back on their holidays in The Gambia. You can help to restore and protect the coastline of the country against coastal erosion.
The importance of planting coconuts along the shoreline cannot be overemphasized. Coconut trees provide much-needed shade and stabilize the soil against wind and water erosion. Besides, coconut trees provide food, beautify tourist resorts, and help to protect the coastal communities from windstorms.
Note: if you’re not in the Gambia but want to get a coconut planted in your name along The Gambia coastline, you can equally participate in buying a seedling, and it will be planted in your name and send you the pictures.
Stop at: Dalaba Eco Lodge, Gunjur
In Dalaba Eco-Lodge the sustainable maintenance of indigenous and native fauna and flora is encouraged to prevent the depletion of habitat for the wildlife that lives side by side with the occupants. You can spot different varieties of birds both visiting and resident, so it’s a great place for birders and birdwatchers.
Dalaba Eco-Lodge plays host to the International Bird Fair and Eco Tourism Conference that takes place on site, organised by Eco Travel Gambia. This event is an annual programme that brings together environmentalists, conservationists and bird and nature lovers from across the world and within The Gambia to share ideas and success stories, to elevate the youths and population of South Gambia. All is geared towards sensitization of the population on the role they can play in preserving their environment.
Stop at: Gunjur Village Museum
This charming little museum is a real gem, and gives a wonderful insight into the traditions, nature, history and local life in Gambia.
Owned and run by Lamin Bojang, the museum is a real labour of love for him. Lamin is a naturalist and bird guide, who over time became aware that the history of his people was being lost, along with the historical objects from olden times. He built the museum by hand, opening it in 2017.
Lamin was born and raised in Gunjur, a community where life is still very traditional, although ways are changing.
Set in a beautiful forest garden, the museum offers a warm welcome, where visitors can have a rest in the bantaba while Lamin will tell them all about the museum and forest garden. Visitors will be shown around the museum and garden by Lamin, or sometimes by Mr Touray, who is a retired history teacher with a wealth of knowledge that he loves to share.
Stop at: Gunjur Women Garden Project
There are 3 main areas of operation so far: skills centre, gardens, and poultry farm. In the skills centre, they are currently training 15 young girls to become professional tailors so they can make their own income and help to support their families. For the skilled tailors, they have a credit program which enables them to buy sewing machines over a period of 6 months.
In garden project there are 210 women involved. Women must pay GMD75 (approx. 1,33€) to get started with the garden project. After that they receive a plot of land, about 8 beds, for lifetime. The area of 3 hectares is divided into many plots. A yearly fee of GMD 100 (approx. 1,80€) is payable which they use for maintenance and watchman.
Stop at: Mama Africa Residence & Art Center
“Mama Africa” is a little paradise next to the fishing village of Tanji / The Gambia! International renowned artist Isha Fofana has created a charming ambience: spacious artistic guesthouses, an exotic garden together with her unique gallery. Be inspired by arts & culture, meet people & enjoy nature, relax & taste the fresh cuisine. “Mama Africa” – feel the energy and appreciate the tranquillity.
At the same time, Mama Africa is a non-profit association that actively cares for and successfully supports women and girls. For Isha it is important to empower and help women them cope with the problems of everyday life so that they can master the future independently. The key is to ensure an environment for economic self-determination.
Stop at: Tanji Fishing Village (optional)
Colorful, coastal, fishing village where you can enjoy the beaches and birdwatching. It is a very special experience to see the hectic, noisy, colorful scene of a Gambian fishing community at work. When the fishing boats land with the day’s catch in late afternoon, people descend on the beach in their hundreds, briefly transforming a tranquil fishing village into a loud, colorful marketplace. Ladies are running into to the water, shouting out to barter for the fish.