Tuesday, June 10, 2008
June Adventure to Gambia, to attend the ROOTS Festival
This is a very brief description of the adventure, I will be reviewing things, in greater detail, elsewhere, which I will link to at a later time. Mainly TripAdvisor.com
Flew from Gatwick, Friday May 31st. (all Monach Flights were delayed, so our flight was 3 hours late).
Flight 6 hours.landing, in the dark, at Banjul International Airport.
Coach transfer, to the hotel KAIRABA, Senegambia www.kairabahotel.com
Attended the opening ceremony of the Roots Festival, in Banjul.
To my amazement I heard a shout ALAN-ALAN-ALAN, it was a friend who we met in Gambia, during our stay in January !!!
Next day, the trip started, North to Banjul, catch (caotic)the Ferry, over to Barra. Along the road (approx 180Km) to Farafenni, turn South to Soma. To get to Soma you need to catch the ferry, across.
We stayed overnight at the “very Basic” Moses Guest House.
Morning trip to the ferry, up to Farafenni, follow the “Dusty” road East to Wassu Stone circles (historical place). Then East along to another (very small, 1 lorry or a few cars, at a time) ferry, across to Janjanbureh.
Janjanbureh, (300Km from Banjul), Lunch and drinks, at the Police HQ!!.
Stay overnight at Janjanbureh Lodge (across the river, but the lodge supplies the boat trip. A very nice “ECO-LODGE” no electric, no hot water.
Back over to Janjanbureh, for morning drinks with Police staff.
Travel back West (via the small ferry) to Kerewan, turning off the tarmac!! (dusty and rough) going South West to Juffureh to visit the Museum of the Slave trade and on to see James Island.
(to witness the conditions imposed on the slaves, makes me ashamed that we could DO this to fellow mankind).
Return to Senegambia via Barra –ferry- Banjul.
Recharge, showers (lots of)good nights sleep (until awoke to the rain), rain and wind, STORM (first of the season) and I mean rain, 1 months winter rain in a few hours!!. Next morning the only sign of rain was some puddles.
Today, we travelled East, on the South of the river Gambia, to Kanalai, the home of the President and to attend the Roots celebration / ceremony. While in Kanalai, we visited the Game Park and Zoo, it was here, in the middle of the bush, that our guide got the car stuck in the mud !!! this was a “signal-less mobile phone” area, so the park guide had to walk to the gate and get help. A tractor came to our rescue.
After seeing the park, we headed to Bwiam Lodge to stay the night, only to be told it was fully booked, even though it was booked for us 2 months ago!! (apparently a large booking (from government acquaintances, was accepted). A short trip to see the manager who fixed us up with a room , at a local HOSPITAL!!
Basic, but OK for 1 night (and the Hospital was FULLY booked, due to the demand, of the Festival).
That night we went to the Roots Festival, in Kanalai.
Next day we travelled back to Kairaba Hotel, Senegambia, for rest and showers.
Before leaving, for the airport, we went to Banjul Market, for some shopping, (think of “shopping chaos and multiply it by 10).
We went to our guides (Lamin Fatty) for lunch, which his family had prepared for us. Gifts where accepted, by them (which we had taken over) before saying our goodbyes.
At the airport, it was cool (it was evening) and a SAD occasion as we had to say farewell to Lamin, who has been an excellent guide plus a very special friend (he has been promoted to Senior Ground Staff for Gambian International Airport, WOOHOO Lamin).
We will be returning soon…………