Category: Africa

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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Gambia – Baboons and Birds

(Great White Egret) Gambia is a bird watcher paradise with around 540 bird species having been logged. Although Gambia doesn’t have the large mammal populations of East Africa day trips can be arranged to Senegal to visit some wildlife parks which have some larger mammals. In the Makasutu Forest, which I visited, it is the bird and baboons that are centre stage. Birders from all over the world come here and the Mandina Lodges are a great base for these trips. UK readers will be interested that TV presenter and keen birdwatcher Chris Packham leads groups here for The Gambia Experience....

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Gambia – A Visit To Brikama Market

A morning trip to the huge Brikama Market in Gambia turned into a major event. As word spread around the market that I had a camera that could print the photos then and there – I became surrounded – at times it was three or four deep. Mums wanting photos of their beautiful babies, vegetable sellers, stall-holders in the fish market, street kids – all grabbing my arm and saying “me next, me next”. I was, of course, delighted to help and was handing out little Polaroid prints as fast I could take and print them. It was all...

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Victoria Falls, I Presume? Adventures in the Footsteps of Livingstone

2013 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of missionary and explorer David Livingstone. His exploits in Africa in search of the source of the Nile made him one of the most celebrated figures of the Victorian age and his legacy lives on to this day. By a strange coincidence the great man and I share a birthday, 19 March. There’s just a mere 165 years between us, so it was with great interest that I listened to a talk on Livingstone by modern day explorer, Colonel John Blashford-Snell at the Royal Geographical Society recently, as part of the...

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