Celluloid Diaries: Gambia day 3: Petting crocodiles and monkeys

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gambia day 3: Petting crocodiles and monkeys

monkey forest park

Monkey Park 

My third day in The Gambia started with a walk through Monkey Park. Normally, this is the place to see green velvet monkeys and red colubus monkeys. In the morning, however, all the monkeys were OUTSIDE of the forest, more precisely in the gardens of the Kokoli Beach Club Hotel where they hoped to snatch some breakfast. 

Luckily, Monkey Park is renowned for it accommodation to 153 bird species and 180 types of butterflies. 

The forest is also home to pythons, adders, mambas, and cobras, but they are afraid of people and rarely come out, certainly at this time of year when they are hibernating.

monkey forest park
monkey gambia

Kachikally Crocodile Pool 

Our next stop was the Kachikally Crocodile Pool in Bakau where you can walk amongst the crocodiles and even pet them if you like. 

When I tell someone that I cuddled a crocodile in The Gambia, no one believes me. But making friends with crocodiles is fairly easy at the Kachikally Crocodile Pool. In fact, the crocodiles are friendly and approachable because their hunger is being stilled with lots of fish (the official argument, though, is that the crocodiles are docile because they live in sacred water). Whatever the reason, they really are tame, and I could even rub my hand over the animal’s flabby belly. 

Even locals go to Kachikally, though not with the same objective as tourists. The pool in which the crocodiles bathe is a shrine and soaking yourself in the water is said to offer protection and improve good fortune. Many women go here for fertility reasons and then name their children Kachikally out of gratitude.

kachikally crocodiles
kachikally crocodile park
kachikally gambia

Royal Albert Market 

We then had a stroll at the famous Albert Market in Banjul. Locals sell fish, vegetables, fruit, and clothes here, but not in the most hygienic of all circumstances. The uncooled fish in particular attracts many flies. 

As you may have learned from my blog Traveling Cats, the stallholders didn’t want to have their cats photographed. Most of them were yelling and one woman even through salads at me. I asked a few Gambian people what this was all about, but no one really knew.

royal albert market
albert market gambia
royal albert market gambia
albert market banjul

Lunch at Laico Atlantic 

Lunch happened at Laico Atlantic, a beachfront hotel with a penchant for the eighties. Laico Atlantic reminded me of the Spanish hotels where my grandparents and I used to stay twenty to thirty years ago.

laico atlantic gambia
gambia beaches

Ministry of Health 

After lunch we headed to the Ministry of Health to talk about Ebola and how it has affected the region. I already knew that there was NO ebola in The Gambia and that the government had taken several measures to keep the disease from invading the country (such as closing the airport for infected countries and medical check-ups for everyone who enters The Gambia), but I still learned quite a lot about their measures to educate the local people on Ebola prevention. It’s a pity that tourists are avoiding Africa completely right now whereas Ebola is only present in three countries.

gambia people
gambia woman
gambia africa
gambia
gambia kids

The Coconut Residence 

We then left our former resort, The Bamboo Garden Hotel, and checked into the new The Coconut Residence. The place was absolutely adorable and we were happy to have a few hours off before heading for dinner. After being welcomed with a hibiscus juice served in a coconut, I took a seat on the balcony of my bungalow to catch up on some blog-related work. I had the visit of several blue velvet monkeys and a cat.

blue velvet monkeys
monkeys swimming pool

Sheraton Hotel 

The day ended with a visit of the chic and elegant Sheraton Hotel and dinner at their excellent outdoors buffet. 

Disclaimer: I visited The Gambia as a guest of The Gambia Tourism Board, The Coconut Residence, and SN Brussels Airlines. The opinions are my own. 

56 comments:

  1. Tes photos sont géniales !
    J'adore les singes, les crocos, etc...
    la piscine aussi me plait bien ! :o)
    MERCI beaucoup Vanessa pour ce beau partage !

    GROS BISOUS d'Asie vers toi !
    Bonne journée !!!! (•ิ‿•ิ)✿

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  2. Some vivid colors.
    Someone through salad at you? That is odd.
    Not sure I would've been up to touching a crocodile!

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  3. Hi Vanessa - sounds like the cat lady .. thought perhaps she was carrying a soul via the camera .. and the cat ...

    I really do not like the idea of stroking a crocodile ... that I don't think I'd do - I have petted a baby one .. and they were dodgy enough! Sounds like a happy trip though with lots of places to see ... cheers Hilary

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  4. Oh wow!!! Now that is cool!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  5. You're so adventurous! Weird about the can't-photo-cats thing. Your pictures of everything else are fabulous. I particularly like the girl in blue beside the orange building. Great!

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  6. Wow! It sounds like an amazing time! That's weird about not taking photos of the cats, though. Love the pictures!

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  7. The people and places are so vibrant. I especially love the picture of the two boys. Beatufiul photo of the woman in blue too. I wonder how many children are named Kachikally. I'd snuggle with an alligator, if I had the chance.

    PS Thank you, thank you, for the deliriously good chocolate. I'll be thanking you in my blog by day's end. xo

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  8. Your photos are astounding! What an absolutely fascinating place to visit! Touching the crocodile? Oh what an experience! Thanks for sharing :)

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  9. They were petting a crocodile!!? I love the monkeys, and the colourful attire of the people.

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  10. Gorgeous photos! I am shocked you cuddled a crocodile. I don't think knowing all the fish in the world have been fed to them would've made me do it! *LOL*

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  11. How cool! The only animals I've petted (besides petting zoo animals) were giraffes, elephants, dolphins and stingrays! What an amazing experience petting a crocodile must have been <3

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  12. Wow! You have seen so much! I wonder what makes those crocodiles so laid back? Very cool. Have a great week!

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  13. So, so cool! I'm definitely not brave enough to pet crocodiles, though--we've got alligators here in Charleston (SC), and I've seen them take out small dogs and deer. My hand won't be their next meal!! :) Gorgeous pictures though--this trip seems amazing!

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  14. Your photos looks so amazing. You are wayyyy more brave then me to touch a alligator. I am a scaredy cat for sure!

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  15. YIKES. Crocodiles!!! Did you bathe in the fertility water?

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  16. Absolutely amazing photos! What an experience!

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  17. This looks amazing! It reminds me of my trip to Africa from 3 years ago. We went to a monkey sanctuary and crocodile pond too! Beautiful pictures!

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  18. OMG your pictures! Take me there! Those monkeys are so cute!

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  19. What an incredible experience. I love monkeys.

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  20. I want to go see the monkeys not so sure about the crocodiles though.

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  21. The animal lover in me is SUPER jealous of this trip...well I think the rest of me is jealous too. Awesome pictures! Looks like an amazing trip!

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  22. Just saw Robyn's post, and she is definitely loving her chocolate. :)

    Those are some absolutely amazing pictures. I like the two boys, it made me laugh that they're throwing up the peace signs, they're cute.

    Sorry everyone got so upset about the pictures w/the cats!

    And I have to say, you're way braver than I am, to be rubbing a croc belly. Pretty sure I'd want to skip that part of the tour. ;)

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  23. I think I'm going to put petting a crocodile on my bucket list ;) I've petted a tiger, but it was heavily sedated :P

    Robyn sent me :)

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  24. Wat een mooi blog Vanessa, de foto's zijn ook heel fraai. Dit lijkt mij toch wel een beetje avontuurlijke reis hoor. Ik aai toch lever een schoothondje dan krokodillen...hahahaha.

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  25. This looks like an absolute dream! Thank you so much for always sharing these amazing adventures with us :) I hope you have a terrific Tuesday!

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  26. Looks like you had an amazing adventure.

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  27. This sure looks like an awesome adventure indeed

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  28. I've never had a salad thrown at me and over snapping a photo of cats. Children I can see, not that I condone violence. Not sure I would be brave enough to pet a croc. I've seen them in the wild and they scare the crap out of me. Great photos.

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  29. What amazing and beautiful photos, Vanessa! Did rubbing the croc's tummy make you feel like Steve Irwin, LOL? Speaking with an Australian accent now, are you?

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  30. Beautiful photos. The market is so vibrant and I love the monkeys chilling around the pool!

    Katie <3

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  31. Not into the crocs. Monkeys begging food at breakfast? How neat!

    Those little boys are adorable. What cuties.

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  32. Well captured. The photos are beautiful. I think I'd be scared to pet those crocodiles though. LOL

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  33. Soo cool that you got to pet a crocodile! I can't believe someone threw salad at you because you were going to take a picture of their cat??

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  34. Wow! this looks incredible and such bright and vivid colors!

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  35. My nephews would've loved Monkey Park and Crocodile Pool. I would like to pet a crocodile one day...just to say I did. ;) I love the bright colors the women wear, and those two little boys at the end are adorable. Thanks for sharing!

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  36. Your photos are amazing!! You are having quite the adventure! Thanks for sharing! <3

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  37. As much as I think crocodiles could be cuddly, I don't think I'd have the guts to get that close to one.

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  38. ok as much as I enjoyed reading this post the croc touching part stopped me cold, I am so scared of crocs and I am from a country where all waters are infested with them and hippos

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  39. Thank you for sharing about your visit. I enjoyed this post with all the fab photos and information.

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  40. The resort looks absolutely gorgeous. I would've loved going to Monkey Park too.

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  41. Hi Vanessa! What a trip! It would have been good to learn some first hand news about ebola. Those resorts look great. Would have been welcome after a day out. I've pinned a couple to my Pinterest board on travel. Hope you don't mind. I love those colours!!!!

    Denise :)

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  42. such a treat to see photos of another part of the world! thank you for your lovely travel story!

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  43. Gorgeous photos. This looked like an amazing visit and experience. Thanks for sharing.

    Thrifting Diva
    www.thriftingdiva.com

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  44. I love these photos, wow! I don't think I could have pet the crocodile! LOL!
    Very interesting what you were saying about the break out! We don't hear that over the news!
    Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful adventure ;o)

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  45. NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! You couldn't get me that close to an alligator! lol I grew up in Florida, we once had a 7 foot gator under our car, like a few feet away from our front porch, literally almost ate my older sister. Buuuut I still think it's pretty cool.
    And who threw salad at you!? I just don't know how I would have handled that. ;)

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  46. These pictures are amazing. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. You definitely took me places today.

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  47. wow! what an amazing trip. I always wanted to "meet" a monkey!

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  48. Stunning photographs! They definitely make me want to travel again! Love the woman in blue against the orange-red building.

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  49. Marvelous photos! I always enjoy seeing traditional clothing from countries around the world and learning about other cultures. Your wildlife shots are marvelous too. I have always wanted to visit Africa, hopefully one day.

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  50. Looks amazing! The crocodile one blows me away. I would be terrified of it spinning and latching on to my arm.

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  51. The monkeys are adorable, crocodiles not so much!

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  52. Love the photographs, although the cat thing is kinda strange. Maybe cats are sacred or something/

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  53. What cute monkey's! I would have been so scared to pet the crocodile! lol

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  54. Not sure about those crocodiles, but those monkeys are too cute! And your pictures are stunning.

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  55. Those monkeys are adorable - I would love to do this!

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