Wassu Stone Circles

The area between the Gambia River and the Saloum River in southern Senegal is noted for its concentration of stone circles the group at Wassu, 20km by road northwest of Georgetown and about 2km north of Kun-taur, is a particularly good example. There are several circles (admission D30) each consisting of between 10 and 24 reddish-brown, massive stones, 1m to 2.5m high and weighing several tonnes. Most of the region's circles date from AD 500 to AD 1000, before the Mandinka people migrated to...

Fajara

Mama's Restaurant ( 4497640 cnr Atlantic Rd & Kairaba Ave dishesaround D100 S llam-IOpmTue-Sun) One of the most established places serving Gam-bian food, this vibrant restaurant is as much renowned for its delicious buffet dinners as for the raw charm of 'Mama' the manager. Yok ( 4495131 African Living Arts Centre Garba Jahumpa Rd meals around D250 S 12.30pm-mldnight) No-one should visit Fajara without eating at Yok, which is locally better known as the Salon. Pass through the leafy,...

History

Ancient seashell mounds, which were traditional burial sites, can be found in mangrove swamps in Gambia and Senegal. More than 120 graves were found in the large manmade shell island of Diorom Boumag near Toubakouta, Senegal, which dates to between AD 730 and 1370. The earliest evidence of human settlements in The Gambia and Senegal dates from around AD 500. In eastern Gambia, stone circles, such as the famous Wassu group, and shell mounds used for burial are evidence of the region's early...

Sleeping Eating

Le Thiouraye ( 515 6064 s d tr CFA10,000 12,000 14,000) This relaxed little auberge on the riverside is a great budget option. Rooms are basic but good value, and you can leap straight from the brilliant terrace restaurant (meals CFA2900 to CFA3800) into a pirogue to Fadiout - useful to avoid the hustlers near the bridge. Ask the owner to arrange this for you. Hotel de la Plage ( 957 6677 hakim yahoo.fr d tr CFA25,000 28,000 ) This fairly new place has bright, large rooms at reasonable rates,...

Dangers Annoyances

Petty thefts and muggings are always a possibility but incidents are few. There are a few hot spots be careful on the path around Fajara golf course between Fajara and Kotu. There's a good chance you'll be approached in the street by marijuana sellers - note that smoking weed is illegal and punished with heavy fines, and falling in the hands of Gam-bian police while engaging in illegal activities is really not something you want to do. Be careful when participating in street sound clashes...

Parc National Du Delta Du Saloum

The Pare National du Delta du Saloum (admission CFA2000) is Senegal's second-largest national park. Its 76,000 hectares encompass the dry savannah woodland of the For t de Fathala, wide stretches of mangrove swamps, and a maritime part that stretches from the creeks surrounding the Iles des B tanti all the way up to Pointe de Sangomar. The forest section of the reserve is much better looked after than the ocean area, and is rich in wildlife. Red colobus monkeys, colobus bais, patas,...

Itineraries

This itinerary travels the entire country. It takes you to all the major sites of Gambia, from the beaches and fishing villages of the Atlantic coast to the most important national parks - from Ginak Island in the west to River Gambia National Park in Eastern Gambia. Approximate return length is 950km. RURAL REMOTENESS One to Two Weeks The Gambia's compact size makes it an ideal destination for a one- or two-week visit. From Banjul airport, head for the Atlantic coast (p98), where you find the...

Popenguine

This calm village has an ambience all of its own, perhaps because it's a famous Pentecostal pilgrimage site, ever since an apparition of the black Madonna was seen here in 1986 (check www.sanctuaire-poponguine .sn for details on the annual event). A church built here in 1988, Eglise Notre Dame de D livrance, is an impressive modern building featuring contemporary altar paintings, coloured-glass windows and a statue of the black Madonna. Popenguine lies on the edge of a small nature reserve (see...

Saly Portugal

Depending on your personal taste, this is either Saly's 'burnt zone', as locals like to put it, or the fun part of town. It's certainly where you'll be headed to withdraw cash from either BICIS or SGBS near King Karaoke, and check your emails in one of several Internet caf s. Saly is all about lazing at the beach, but if that gets too much, or rather too little, there's plenty on offer in the form of water sports, fishing and excursions. Most of the hotels offer plenty of activities, ranging...

Kedougou

Kedougou is the largest town in southeast Senegal, though this seems hard to believe when you walk along the red, dusty roads lined by lush greenery and traditional huts. The colourful market is famous for its indigo fabrics, imported from Guinea. Other facilities include a petrol station, telecen-tres privately owned telephone bureaus , a Western Union office and Internet access a whopping CFA1500 per hour at the Kedougou Multi-Service. Alimentation de Dioubo in the town centre is a...

Sleeping

Keur Bamboung 510 8013 www.oceanium .org half full board CFA17,000 22,000 Campements rarely come more remote than this village-run ecolodge, stunningly located on the edge of a mangrove-lined island. And remote campements rarely come more lovingly done up. Its six individualised huts are all equipped with a water tank, solar-powered lights, impeccable bathroom and the most comfortable mattresses and sheets around. All profits go to the villages, which use it to pay for the patrols of the marine...

Lodge De Diakhamor

Palmarin's quickly multiplying campements are among the country's classiest, and nestle peacefully on the beach-bound end of sandy side roads. The area is best explored by pirogue or charette horse-drawn cart -all the campements organise reasonably priced tours. Royal Lodge 949 1150 www.le-royal-lodge.com Palmarin s d ind breakfast from CFA98,000 130,000 If you're blessed with a bottomless bank account then give this utterly luxurious place a try. Each of its stylish, warmly tinted and...

Other Water Sports

Some of the large hotels - notably Ocean Bay, Atlantic and Combo Beach - offer various water sports to guests. Most of their activities are run by the Watersports Centre Map p92 7765765 at Denton Bridge, so go straight there to organise your jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing or catamaran trip. So you've seen 1000 wooden carvings, countless masks and a variety of other stuff that's impossible to classify, but have no clue about what it all means. You might like to head to the African Living...

Budget

Bakau Lodge fax 4496103 www.thomasson.org .uk gambia d from D650 6 This small place with spotless, two-room bungalows set around a swimming pool comes as a real surprise, off Atlantic Rd and right in the heart of the Bakau 'hood. Excellent value. Jabo Guest House 4494906, 7777082 9 Old Cape Rd d D500 You wouldn't guess it from the high wall surrounding the Bakau compound, but this down-to-earth place has surprisingly large and clean rooms. The biggest have good self-catering facilities, and the...

Atlantic Coast Resorts Serekunda

Afri-Swiss Travels 1 F4 Africa Adventure Tours 2 F4 Alliance Franco-Gambienne 3 G5 B onacta I ntem et Caf 4 F4 Gambia River Experience 6 F3 Guinea Bissau Embassy see 17 IBC Bank Serekunda 9 G6 Main Post Office 10 G5 Mauritanian Consulate 12 C6 Medical Research Council 13 F3 Official Tourist Guides see 47 F4 Rai n bow Caf B usi n ess Centre 15 E5 Senegalese High Commission 16 F4 Standard Chartered Bank Bakau 17 G2 Standard Chartered Bank Serekunda . 18 A5 Stop Steps Pharmacy see 79 Swedish amp...

Saly Niakhniakhale

For a little bit of the 'real' Senegal just south of the big hotels, visit this borough, which begins at Les Cocotiers hotel and stretches south from there. Auberge Khady fax 957 2518 auberge_khady hotmail.com s d ind breakfast CFA13,800 20,700 This simple but vibrant place 200m from the sea is rightly highly rated. The terrace restaurant is brilliant, and gets lively with dance and music performances on Friday nights. Ferme de Saly 957 5006 farmsaly yahoo.fr r per person CFA16,500 This place...

Djifer

The fishing village of Djifer is 10km south of Palmarin on the tip of the peninsula separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Saloum River. It s a major jumping-off point for trips into the Sine-Saloum Delta. Most people only come here to get onto a pirogue and explore the region - there s little else that s attractive about Djifer itself. The town has a sewage problem, and the beaches are largely strewn with litter, though some efforts are being made to clear things up. Palmarin s Yokam 936 3752...