It may only take you a couple of hours to wander around Georgetown, but there is probably more to see here and in the surrounding area than in almost any other town in Gambia. Most of the 'sights' have a historical bent; two of the most interesting are crumbling late-Victorian warehouses situated on the waterfront either side of the northern ferry landing. Enterprising local youths have created a local 'Roots industry' from the structures. It started with one of the warehouses being referred to as 'Slave House', which was then changed to 'Slave Prison'; the place was then decorated with lit candles and a matching story was created. A 'Freedom Tree', claimed to guarantee liberation to any slave who touched it, another 'Slave House' and finally a 'Slave Market' joined the scene. Although records show slaves were transported through Georgetown, it is unlikely that the buildings were used in this trade as they were built well after slavery was abolished in British colonies in 1807. You might find this profitable rewriting of history an insult to the victims of slavery, or think of it as entertainment. Your choice - but be aware of the 'Visitors Book', encouraging incredibly generous donations in the memory of slavery.
Nearby is the old Commissioner's Quarters now inhabited by the district governor, and a monument to Fort George outside the police station. The fort was built by the British in 1823 after the local king asked for their protection against a neighbouring tribe. West of town is the Armitage High School, a historical building of vague interest to anyone keen on colonial architecture.
Those with a penchant for ancient historical features should take a trip to Lamin Koto Stone Circle. It's a smaller and less impressive monument than the famous Wassu Stone Circles, but sitting only 1.7km away from the north bank, it's closer and thus in good reach for those who can't make it to Wassu. The circle is on the right (northeast) side of the road, under a big tree.
Was this article helpful?