From tree-top towers to African street art

Having woken up to the dawn chorus of Makasutu Forest and then spent the morning taking a ridiculous number of photos of a troupe of baboons - just a few of which I shared in a previous post, The Baboons of Makasutu Forest - we stopped by what is known as Base Camp....

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The Baboons of Makasutu Forest

When we arrived at Mandina Lodges we were given a few words of  warning! "Don't leave your toiletries out in your open-air bathroom as the baboons might steal them." Replanting Makasutu Forest and the return of the baboons When the founders of Mandina Lodges,...

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A night on the river in Makasutu Forest

As I lie in bed I can feel a gentle movement in the decking beneath me or is it my imagination. I listen to the creaks and groans of the wood... splashes of water... silence... another splash. Getting out of bed I draw back the muslin curtains and catch my breath. A...

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Responsible volunteering with ‘people and places’

In my last post I shared with you my concerns about irresponsible volunteer organisations and orphanage tourism. Today I’d like to tell you about a great volunteering organisation that take a very responsible approach. Getting to know 'people and places' As my...

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Justifiable bad press for orphanage tourism

There has been a lot of bad press lately about volunteer tourism and I’ve heard a few horror stories myself, such as local teachers being dismissed because the school knew that a volunteer teacher was on there way. Even more disturbing still though are cases involving...

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Monkeys at play in a Gambian garden

During my last visit to The Gambia I stayed in the area known as the Senegambia strip. It's the largest and liveliest resort in The Gambia, although in late June and early July when I was there, it was pretty quiet. Despite the humidity it is a lovely time...

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The Community Stove Initiative

In May, when I left The Gambia, I had a mission to raise enough money to buy at least ten more of the new design of stoves that run on peanut shell briquettes. The Community Stove Initiative If you have been following my blogs from The Gambia you may want to skip the...

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Exploring Albert Market in Banjul

Whatever country you are in, I think most people would agree, that the local markets are great places to explore and photograph. When I arrived at Banjul's Royal Albert Market our taxi driver found a local guide to take us round. There's huge variety of goods for sale...

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Top 12 things to do in The Gambia on a budget

This wonderful West African country is a fascinating place to explore with golden sandy beaches, year-round hot weather, friendly English speaking locals and no end of interesting things to do in The Gambia, many of which cost very little. Many holidaymakers from...

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A feast for the senses at Tanji fish market

All the colours of the rainbow flash before my eyes. The sound of the waves, squawking seagulls and housewives' banter assault my ears. The smell of fish fills my nostrils and the taste of salt is on my tongue, as I head for sensory overload at Tanji fish market in...

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Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for the day

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for the day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Chinese proverb After visiting  the girl I sponsor in The Gambia, we set off to visit Lamin's family who live just up the road, in a village on the outskirts of the...

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Visiting my sponsored child in The Gambia

In 2005 I started sponsoring a little girl in The Gambia. She was just 6 years old. A few months later I visited The Gambia for the first time and, of course, I arranged to visit her, her school and her family. Nearly 8 years later I am still sponsoring her and...

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On the trail of the mythical Kumpo of Kanuma

When I heard (on Twitter) that a kumpo, a mystical character of the West African Jola tribe, had been spotted near the village of Kanuma, just a few hours drive from where we were staying in The Gambia, there was only one thing for it; I was determined to arrange an...

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Always a warm welcome in The Gambia

In the very early hours last Friday morning my alarm went off. Finally the day had arrived and it was time to start the journey that I had been looking forward to for months. Seven of us were heading off to The Gambia for a few full-on days of exploration, adventure...

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Travel bloggers in The Gambia

In less than two weeks I'll be returning to The Gambia in West Africa. I'm very excited about this particular visit as this time, I'm taking 6 fantastic travel bloggers with me for the very first bloggers press trip to this wonderful country. As well as writing...

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