20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog


Cape Point


From Widford to The Gambia

Bathroom friend

Beach friend

Forest Friend




Colourful bird

Just when I'd become used to the French Keyboard they've gone and changed all the letters back to the right places and now I can't type again, must be in The Gambia.

I got the taxi to drop us outside the door of a hotel chosen from the LP, some cheeky sod followed us in and told the manager that he had brought new customers. I decided I wanted my own room but the other two shared to save a couple of sheckels. The Guinea-Bissau Embassy was only a short walk away so we went to check out opening times and prices but walked out with the visas in about 15 minutes. The rest of the day was spent exploring the are around Bakau with a walk out to cape point where the Gambia River hits the Atlantic.

On the Friday we decided to try to get both visas out of the way before the weekend so headed into Serekunda, The Gambia's main city and where most embassies are. The Guinea consulate has only just moved from Banjul to Serekunda and we didn't have a precice address for where it was just vague directions from the shell petrol station. After wandering around aimlessly for a long time asking everyone and being pointed in all directions t-shirt seller came up andsaid he knew the way follow him. I think we all thought he was on the make and hoping to find out where it was by asking people in Mandinka but he did know and took us straight there in 10 minutes. I give him a tip, I think we might still have been wandering around now without him, when he left the other two were pleased that he hadn't asked for any money!

The Consul wasn't in the office but there was a phone number of the door, we waited for a while and then I called the number on my mobile. He answered in a flustered tone that he was on his way. When he got there he took us into the office and gave us a seat. We had a brief chat, he was one of the type of honourary consuls who let their ego take over and when we were asking what visa we could get he told us he could give us what he wanted. He talked himself into giving us a 2 month visa instead of one but I never though to ask about multiple entry which is always handy in case you have to backtrack. He wouldn't issue the visa on the spot though and we had to go back at 3pm giving a day to explore Serakunda.

I liked Serakunda more than Bakau, it was a more genuine place getting one with life not pandering to or trying to extract anything from tourism. It also had 101 supermarkets of various descriptions and varieties, many with a bent to a certain country from where the producted were sourced. There was the mainly english one with the full shelves of Britvic products and a very good cheep Indonesian one where I stocked up on Mosquito coils and toiletries. It was so hot that everytime we saw another supermarket we had to go in to get more cold drinks. We got slightly lost trying to find the Consulate again and ended up stumbling through a funeral to get there but eventually had the second visa in two days. Walking back to Bakau we found the English boookshop where I managed to stock up with a couple of classics, including journey to the centre of the earth which I felt was apropriate. Sun shocked me by spending a relative fortune on a French course, he has money just doesn't like to part with it.

Saturday was beach day, we walked to the start of the beach a few k south of Bakau where we had breakfast at a small shack at the junction run by a nice kid but with lots of his hangers on in attendance. We walked the whole length of the beach down to the main tourist resorts probably about a 20km round trip, stopping for a lunch time beer on the beach. By the end of the day I had a lovely tan pattern caused by the straps of my day pack.

On Sunday we took a taxi to the Forest Park South of Senegambia where there are lots of Monkeys and birds to be seen. I didn't think about it until we started walking around but I might as well have taken a herd of elephants as two Asians into a nature reserve, they certainly made as much noise while walking. Sun decided that the best entertainment was to throw coconuts and sticks into the trees meaning that the chaces of seing any birdlife was slim. I tried to walk infront of them but they kept catching up and behind but they kept waiting. Eventually he got bored of throwing things and we did see lots of monkeys and a few birds. When we left the park we went to the nearby main tourist strip where I managed to find a bar showing the Newcastle game but another 2 points were thrown away and the Middlesborough supportes in the bar (who outnumbered me by 6 to 1) left happier.

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