Category: Africa

Zanzibar – Africa’s exotic spice island

Ras Nungwi lies at the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, a classic Indian Ocean escape. It’s close enough to the island’s inland spice plantations for a day trip, but most people come here simply to unwind and get away from it all. And who can blame them! Luxury hotels line the sandy shore, but walk towards the headland and you soon reach the village of Ras Nungwi, where you can gain a glimpse of the island of old. The village is known as an important centre of boat building – in particular for producing Arabic-styled dhows, the type of which...

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Gambia – Portraits of Beauty, Elegance and Dignity

I went to Gambia thinking the hardest aspect of the country to capture would be the people. I’m not a natural portrait photographer and was a little nervous of asking the locals if it was OK to take their picture. Not everybody wants a lens stuck in their face when you’re trying to earn an honest days pay selling fish or vegetables at the market – and that’s fine and to be respected – but in the end the combination of a good guide, a bit of friendly banter and some polite requests resulted in me not only coming...

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Gambia – A Village Kumpo Dance

A Kumpo is a mythical figure of the Jola people of Gambia and Senegal. A ‘Kumpo’ is the centre of the action at a village celebration. He is dressed in palm leaves and has a stick coming out of the top of his head and he dances! At the climax of the dancing the Kumpo spins around and around to put out a fire. This Kumpo dance was held in the village of Kanuma, Gambia and was held in celebration of the “Light Up the Village Project” sponsored by The Gambia Experience. There is not much more I can...

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Gambia – Light Up a Village

Most of us take switching on the lights after dark for granted but in large parts of the world it is not as easy as flicking the switch. Which is why it was so fantastic to see the “Light Up a Village” project in Gambia. The project was set up by Ram Mohan – a Gambian businessman of Indian decent. Ram’s main business is the export of cashew nuts from Gambia and Senegal to India. In the course of this business he came across the problem that many households in rural Africa use candles after dark to cook, work...

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Gambia – A Visit to Mason Nursery School

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit the local nursery school when I was staying at the Mandina Lodges. My guide Mamadi and I walked for 20 minutes or so through the Makasutu Forest to get to Mason Nursery School. The teachers and children were delighted to see us and didn’t seem to mind the slight disruption to the school day. The parents pay for the kids to go to school and these fees pay for the teacher’s salaries. They don’t have enough funding for books, pens and free school meals. Sometimes they get donations from...

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Gambia – The Floating Paradise of The Mandina Lodges

(Abraham, Yanks, Yahya and Sait) The main Gambian tourist area is on the coastal strip. If beaches, bars and restaurants are your thing then it’s great …. but it’s not for me. The alternative is to stay at the Mandina Lodges in the Makasutu forest. I was lucky enough to be allocated one of the four floating lodges which are right in the heart of the mangrove forest. Whilst the accommodation, food and bar were all top class it was the staff that made Mandina special for me. Thank you to you all for making my stay so special...

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