The Heart of Western Africa, Gambia

63 images Created 10 Feb 2011

Africa. No other continent comes close to it for scale, variety and pure, raw impact. Africa offers a travel experience a hundreds of miles from the well-backpacked, air-conditioned tourist trails of Southeast Asia or the cash-cow adventure parks of USA or Australia. But Gambia is easy to miss on a map of mighty Africa. This tiny sliver of land is a mere 50km wide and 500km long, and, with the exception of an 80km shoreline, it's entirely enveloped by the much more talked about Senegal. But, since when has a 'real experience' been about following the crowd.

Those that do make it to Gambia often come home with fantastic tales from the depths of the River Gambia or one of the countries superb national parks. From the first rays of sunlight, visitors will boast about the symphony of baboon barks, bird calls & playful shrieks of the endless chimps. But the real 'Heart of Gambia' lies in the country's vibrant culture & the incredibly warm & open locals. Yes of course there is the chance to laze & linger in anything from a luxurious beach resort to a deserted bay just outside a bustling fishing village but if you're in search of atmosphere & memories, then forget where you come from for a minute & let the friendly youth of Gambia show you there lives, homes & hearts.

Being a relatively poor Western African country, Gambia is not without its social & environmental issues. Political instability & corruption, poverty and severe littering are all common problems throughout the country but after an afternoon spent in one of the many dusty seaside villages, one learns that the Gambians are far prouder of their colourful identity and their passion for football, music and art and if you take the chance to open your eyes and explore a little, you are soon rewarded with entertaining football scraps, inspiring art galleries and hundreds of smiling kids that will lead you to some fascinating secret corners of their villages.
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