The Gambia

Early in the morning, when it was still dark, I boarded a large old wooden pirogue boat at Niodior (pronounced something like Mordor) that would take me from Senegal to the neighboring The Gambia. It seemed inadequate to cross the open sea but got me there in three hours. The ride was a little bumpy but I could get some rest lying down on a big sack of life vests, which noone was wearing until we were in sight of the Gambian authorities. It had vibes of boat refugees, except that there were only ten passengers and lots of cargo.

There is no pirogue pier, the last meters must be walked in water. Porters are ready to bodily carry passengers on their shoulders. After all my travels I still get surprises! The second picture below shows one.

Banjul is the sleepy capital of The Gambia. After an odyssey to get my passport stamped I was walking all over the place to get my first impression of the country.

And that is that The Gambia is richer than Senegal. All streets are paved, there is no garbage, and there are no shantytowns in the city. The downside is much more car traffic. The majority of cars and almost all taxis are older Mercedes-Benz cars. I am told that’s because they are very robust and very repairable. Funnily, many vans and trucks seem imported and still carry labels like Feuerwehr, Betonglättung, or Sanitärtechnik.

And the people speak English and are very happy to smile, greet, and chat without selling stuff.