This is DAY 4 of my adventures in The Gambia. Also check out Day 1: Boat Trips, Forest Walks, and Eco-Lodges, Day 2: The Roots of Kunta Kinteh, and Day 3: Petting Crocodiles and Monkeys.
Tanji Fishing Centre
There’s no better place to experience a real touch of The Gambia than at the beach of the Tanji Fishing Centre, so I started my day by watching the inhabitants walk into the sea to assist fishermen to unload their catch and carry it in baskets to the shore.
Part of the fish is sold immediately on the beach itself, alongside a broad variety of fruit and vegetables. Another part is brought to the beach’s smoking houses where they are smoked and packed in containers. It’s definitely something I’d recommend, but the smell of the smoked fish is so pungent that you’ll probably race through it all as fast as you can.
In any case, the Tanji Fishing Centre is not to be missed when you visit The Gambia.
Sandele Eco Retreat
Next, we went into the forest, at the edge of miles of deserted beach, to visit the Sandele Eco Retreat. Upon our arrival, we were served baobab juice or African milkshake. First time I ever had one, and I absolutely loved it. Some thought of it as too sweet, but the touch of vanilla and sugar was just the right dose to bring the unique taste of the baobab to life.
Just like the Tumani Tenda Camp (see day 1), the Sandele Eco Retreat is a community-based resort that is completely locally made and uses its profit to support the inhabitants of the nearby village of Kartong. For every tourist staying in the retreat, twenty-five percent of the generated income goes to the village. For additional revenue, the 4000 people that live in Kartong rely on farming and fishing. For now, the retreat is leasing the lodges from their British owners, but in ten years the Sandele Eco Retreat will entirely belong to the village.
Sandele Eco Retreat has won a number of awards, including The Guardian's Ethical Travel Award and Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence.
Rainbow Beach Bar
By now, it was time for lunch. And what better place to do so than at the Rainbow Beach Bar, with a magnificent view on the ocean, the sand tickling between our toes, and a local Jul Brew beer at arm’s reach?
Tanji Village Museum
In the afternoon, we visited the Tanji Village Museum, a private institution presenting the ethnographic and natural history of The Gambia. In the different galleries, we learn about Gambian birds, reptiles, fish, insects, and wildlife, but large sections are also dedicated to the exposition of local instruments such as wollof drums, kora, five-stringed lute, simbingo, rattles, etc. Outside the museum, huts and live representations show us a hint of what life in The Gambia is like.
After the tour around the museum, the staff treated us to a little performance of live traditional music.
On our way back to the hotel, Coconut Residence, we made a small stop at a goat market. I thought I had seen it all when it comes to goats (dozens of them walk around on the Gambian streets), but in this place there were more goats than I could count.
Dinner at Coco Ocean Resort and Spa
We ended the day with dinner at one of the chicest hotels in The Gambia: Coco Ocean Resort and Spa.
Disclaimer: I visited The Gambia as a guest of The Gambia Tourism Board, Coconut Residence, and SN Brussels Airlines. The opinions are my own.