Banjul

Banjul, capital of The Gambia

The Happiest Places In The World

Hands up who would like more happiness in their lives? Me too! One way I like to do this is through my travels. But which places from my travels have I found to be the happiest?

Spicy chicken ‘pepe’ soup recipe from West Africa

This traditional spicy chicken soup from The Gambia, a small country in West Africa, is known as a cure-all and, amongst other things, is said to cure the common cold. The Gambians like their food spicy so be warned, pepe soup packs quite a punch! I've visited The...

Get off the beaten path and unwind in The Gambia

As a gentle sea breeze brushes my face, I arch my back in the cat pose. Moving from one yoga hold to another, I unwind and the stresses of life slip away. Lamin expertly guides me through each posture, and after over an hour of stretches and holds while breathing in...

Saving the marine turtles of West Africa

For thousands of years turtles have been visiting the beaches of West Africa to lay their eggs. The few female hatchlings that battle the odds and survive into adulthood return to the very same beach of their birth, some 25 years later, to lay their own eggs. Yet last...

A Traditional West African Wedding

I step out of the taxi onto the dusty lane, in a village much like any other in The Gambia. Today this particular street is unusually busy with a tangible buzz in the air. Ladies in their gloriously coloured dresses are coming and going. Children bring out plastic chairs and line them up against the walls that line the road. Musicians are arranging their drums. Today we are celebrating the wedding of my dear friend Okameo and his lovely bride Asanatou.

Baobab smoothie recipe

While on my travels in The Gambia and Senegal I have often heard from the locals of the many uses and benefits of the fruit of the baobab tree, a vitamin, fibre, and antioxidant-rich superfood. Here I share my recipe for a delicious and nutritious baobab smoothie. The...

White domes, hot stones and a paper G-string!

Sitting on a tiled bench in nothing but a paper g-string is not how I would normally picture the start of a day’s pampering but that is exactly how my morning at Coco Ocean Resort & Spa began; I was there to enjoy nearly 3 hours of utter self-indulgence, in the...

An upcountry adventure with the Jola Tribe

A traditional Jola Festival is the subject of my 3rd podcast from The Gambia with the transcript and plenty of photographs here on my blog. "Unnerving but fascinating to watch, they used everything from cutlasses and razor blades to energetically strike their bodies...

From blue-bellied rollers to little bee-eaters

The Gambia is world-renowned for bird watching, having some 560 species of birds, so I was delighted when I heard that bird watching expert, Malick Suso was going to be my guide in The Gambia for an early evening walk through Bijilo Forest. I had met Malick briefly...

Guide to The Gambia – Where to stay?

Where to stay in The Gambia? In this, my second podcast episode, I talk about the different resort areas in The Gambia and the variety of accommodation available, to help you find the perfect place for you, whether you are looking for cheap and cheerful, upmarket...

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....

Guide to The Gambia

If you have never visited Africa, The Gambia is the perfect introduction. Expect lovely beaches, great weather, a fascinating culture and friendly people!

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, first...

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...

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 regular...

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...

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 of year to...

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