Images from Gambia and Senegal

Images from Gambia and Senegal

Photos from a trip to Gambia and Senegal in February 2004

Text and photos: Erik Pontoppidan , Copenhagen, Denmark

Copyright: Erik Pontoppidan

For Danish version of this page, please click HERE

From the town Basse Santa Su in Gambia.

My trip to Gambia and Senegal in February 2004 was a great experience. We started in the Gambian town of Banjul at the Atlantic Sea at the coast of West Africa, and during a week, we moved eastwards into the African wilderness, following the direction of the Gambia River into the neighbouring country of Senegal and back - altogether a trip of more than 1.000 kilometres. However, the 55 kilometres were spent onboard an open boat on the Gambia River between Jang Jang Bureh (former Georgetown) and Basse Santa Su, enjoying the beautiful landscape and the exotic birds. From Basse, we crossed the border of Senegal and continued into the huge sanctuary Nikkolo Koba where we stayed 2 days, watching hippos, crocodiles and a rich variety of exotic birds. However, the greatest experience was the encounter with the local people with their tradition and culture. Their way of living is so different from western life that you sometimes felt like visiting another planet.

I have visited Africa several times, but most of my travels have been to the North African countries at the Mediterranean coast like Morocco, Tunesia and Egypt where the people and the culture are very different from the area south of the Sahara desert. However, many years ago, during the summer 1972, I travelled around in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) after having joined a work camp project in Kenya, arranged by a Danish help organisation. Ever since that visit, I have had a desire to revisit the black Africa with its special colours, sounds and sceneries, and that wish came trough during my recent West African trip. It's fascinating, that although the language, the culture and the landscapes are very different from East Africa, there is something undefinable connecting the huge continent when you are south of the Sahara Desert. Some of the keywords are the people's musicality, their language and their way of thinking - and of course the hot climate, which in many ways creates common vital necessities.

In some ways, the trip was quite hard (one of the days, we drove 14 hours in a minibus!), but we got a great and exciting African experience. And anybody believing, that Gambia is a tourist trap, should try a trip into the country. Although Gambia has been a Danish charter destination since the seventies, you feel like being in a time gap if you leave the Atlantic coast. Very few of the roads are sealed, but anyway, the majority of them are filled with holes, making longer travels difficult, slow and tiring. For the same reason, the infrastructure of the country is bad, and organized tourist travels in a bigger scale are impossible, both in Gambia and Senegal. The local people are still living in villages consisting of circular clay huts with roofs made of grass - an image, which several westerners still carry about Africa.

Click on the pictures for bigger size

1. Crossing the Gambia River with the car ferry from Banjul to Barra.
2. From the historic Fort Bullen at the mouth of the Gambia River.
3. Most of the roads in Gambia are miserable, and only few of them are sealed. However, asphalt or not doesn't make the big difference because almost all the roads are full of big holes.
    This photo was taken on the road between Barra and Jang Jang Bureh (Georgetown) on the north side of the Gambia River - a distance of about 250 kilometers.
4. From Basse Santa Su in Gambia.

1-4: From Basse Santa Su in Gambia.

1. From Basse Santa Su in Gambia.
2. African market near the town Soma in Gambia.
3-4: From a traditional village, we visited near Goloumbou in Senegal.

1-3. From a country school, we visited in Gambia.
4: From Tambacounda in Senegal.

1. From a village near Tendaba Camp in Gambia.
2. Our very inspiring guide on the trip.
3-4: Boat trip in the mangrove reserve at Tendaba Camp, Gambia.

1. The river ferry at Basse Santa Su, Gambia.
2-3: From the Nikolo Koba reserve in Senegal.
4. At the entrance of the big game reserve Nikolo Koba i Senegal.

1-2: From the border town Velingara in Senegal.
3. Children at Wassu Stone Circles near Jang Jang Bureh in Gambia.
4. The Wassu Stone Circles near Jang Jang Bureh - Gambia's counterpart of Stonehenge.

Click HERE to see my photos from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in East Africa.

The photos on this page are taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. In order to reduce the download time, the size and the data of the photos are strongly reduced compared to the originals, and this has inevitably reduced the technical quality, too. However, all photos may be delivered in full size and quality for use in books, magazines, papers, etc. The price is 70 Euro per picture.

If you want to see the English version of my home page with exciting and interesting articles about travelling and trekking, then please click HERE