My trip to The Gambia, part 4

After my visit to Janjanbureh, I went back to the coast but this time to the south of the country.

Now I took an express bus: a large bus that only stops at a few busstations and where you have a fixed seat. A lot more comfortable than the packed small passenger bus on the outward journey.

I got off in Brikama, a big busy city. There I would be picked up by a taxi that would take me to the next lodge. However, the taxi had some problems and therefore I had to wait, with my luggage, in the heat and between the crowds. I felt displaced, but fortunately I was offered a seat and so I sat in the middle of the sidewalk between the Gambians and I wondered about all that I saw. So many people, so many colors, so many sounds…

Faster than expected the taxi came, that took me to Little’s Nature Retreat. A place surrounded by greenery, but only 3 minutes walk away from the beach. That afternoon I made a lovely walk on the beach. Very entertaining is the fact that you always encounter cows on the beach.

I had read that the lodge also rented out bicycles and I had been looking forward to that very much. Unfortunately the bike was broken, but they would arrange another one for me. By our standards, it was an old, rickety thing, but okay… if it brings me somewhere… That went well for the first half hour, but then the chain came off. That happened at least 20 times that day. My hands and clothes were covered in grease. On the way back I was so fed up that I put the bike on the side of the road and started walking.

The next day I got another bike. It was a mountain bike and I needed it too. I went to Footsteps Ecolodge, the place I had in mind for Frosch Sportreisen to organize yoga weeks. At first I drove on the regular asphalted road, but this lodge is located in the middle of the forest, so in the end it was about (mullet) sandy paths. But the lodge is beautiful. I was warmly welcomed by the owners David and Linda. They even offered me a free 2 night stay. I gratefully accepted that offer, because in that way I could experience what it is like to stay there.

But first back to my current lodge. It was low tide, so the idea was suggested that I could cycle back on the beach. That was a fantastic experience: cycling along the Atlantic Ocean! On the way I passed the fishing center of Gunjur. There is always quite an activity. On that moment there was just a group of about 20 men trying to get a fishing boat manually back on shore. While I was waiting, one of the men turned around, looked at me and asked me to help. Of course I wanted to help. To the rhythm of a song, the boat is pulled little by little on land.

Near the fishing center of Gunjur is a large mosque, just on the beach.

After that I cycled on, but the sand became very mullet and I could not continue. I saw a house where a man was working and I asked him for help. He dragged my bike up, off the beach, grabbed his own bike and brought me back to the main road.

The next day at 9.00 am I had booked a Thai massage on the beach with Lamin of the Santosha Beach Bar. A relaxing start to the day. After I swam a bit, it went back on the bike; this time southwards, to the riverbank of Kartung. The river is the separation between The Gambia and Senegal. There awaited me a trip in a canoe with Toenga, my guide. We sailed past the mangroves, where you can see that the oysters attach themselves to the trunks. We went ashore on the pelicans island and saw hundreds of small crabs darting away in their burrows in the sand. Then we set foot on Senegalese soil and made a small walk there.

On the terrace at the water of the Doudou’s Restaurant I had a cup of tea, before I cycled back to the lodge.

Once there I packed my suitcase and was taken by taxi to Footsteps Ecolodge, where I would stay for the next 2 nights.

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