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River Gambia Holidays
The mighty Gambia River runs 1130kms from the highlands in Northern Guinea, curving upwards through Senegal and then, for the 600kms, slicing through Gambia like a knife before spewing into the Atlantic at Banjul, Gambia’s capital. It inherent navigability (ocean-going vessels can sail right up to Georgetown) has shaped the course of Gambia’s history, its waters provide much of what Gambians eat and many villages still survive on small industries attached to the river’s ebb and flow. Fishing is the main one, but also transportation, rice growing and increasingly tourism.
The best way to explore the Gambia River is by boat. You’ll have a chance to see the river’s wildlife: dolphins are fairly common, and in the central and upper section hippopotami, crocodiles and baboons. The gently curved banks of the Gambia River are bordered with thick tropical forests, spurts of towering bamboo and mangrove swamps. Villages are situated all along its trajectory, many of them associated with the old slave trade. Albreda was the main French trading post before they withdrew from Gambia and those who have seen the TV series ‘Roots’ (or read the books) may remember that the main character Kunte Kinte was enslaved at Juffure Village.Read more
Next to Juffure, Albreda has a sobering Slavery Museum displaying artefacts of the period such as locks and yokes and other diabolical contraptions. A popular, and more upbeat, destination by the river is Tendaba, with is characterised by a mangroves and savannah swamp and is a stellar spot for bird watching. It’s situated very near Kiang West National Park, one of Gambia’s largest and where you may have a close encounter with a mongoose or crocodile.