Village and Gunjur
beach resort, are in the Kombo South District, of the West Coast
Region, in the southwest coastal strip of The Gambia, in West
Africa. It has an estimated population of 27,000 made up of mostly
Fula, Manjago, Balanta, Karoninka and
other ethnic groups, mainly
employed in artisanal fisheries and farming. The settlement is
10 kilometres from Sanyang and 39 kilometres
by road from the capital of Banjul.
About 3km from the main town, and on the coast, is the bustling
fishing village with its fish smoking houses and rows of multi-coloured
African pirogues. North of the fish centre the beaches are excellent
the locality's relative remoteness it has a respectable selection
of good quality seafront resorts and inland travellers' lodgings.
If you really want peace and quiet then go for the coastal
hotels and lodges such as Nemasu
Eco-Lodge, a unique and Earthy retreat, combining traditional
and modern in 8 huts, a clean place on the sands. The Footsteps
Eco-Lodge is set some distance from the beach but has a natural
swimming pool and well honed services with 9 huts. There is also
The Gunjur Project Lodge
with its 8 chalets. All the above have ensuite bathing and WC.
This part of Gambia is great for camping backpackers.
seafront area of Gunjur resort is, at most times, gloriously deserted,
save for the odd passing cow and the occasional passerby. The
strand is less geared to tourist than some of the northern holiday
resorts and there are a few dotted beach bars and lodges nestled
on the edge of huge rhun palm clusters and shoreline bush. Pristine
yellowish sand sweeps the edges of broad bays, presenting impressive
views into the distant shoreline, and the sunsets are magnificent.
In terms of natural beauty, this region's seafront perhaps only
comes second to Sanyang, located further
village is a tranquil, sleepy quarter, with dirt roads and
simple block-work abodes topped with corrugated sheets. The community
is well served with good paved road connections along the coast
and a highway leading up to Brikama town; the taxi rank is located
in the edge of town. There are a few stores, diners and a couple
of mini-markets in town and the village is now connected to the
water and electricity utilities.
Outside the settlement are large and small farm field holdings,
woodland scrub, some forest and dotted with a few private residential
homes. Between the main village and the Atlantic Ocean is thick
tropical palm forest, dry woodland, coastal scrub, mangroves,
a coastal lagoon, baobab trees, acacia and cashew orchards riddled
with dirt roads.
There are various NGOs
working in the rural and urban community such as the
Trust Agency For Rural Development (TARUD), the
Gunjur Environmental Protection & Development Group (GEPADG),
and the Marlborough
Brandt Group (the village is twinned with the town of Marlborough
FOUNDING FAMILY HISTORY:
history suggests that the first people to settle in Gunjur
were the Sanyang family who are Bianunkas of the Biyaro tribe.
It is said they established a small settlement close to an Atlantic
coastal lagoon called Bolong Fenyo.
According to a colonial commissioner's note of 1941, the village
was founded by the Darboe family, who were pagans who migrated
from Manding (Mali) hundreds of years ago and obtained permission
from the kings of Brikama to make this
area of land their home. Their site was nearer to the sea than
the present village in what is today known as Senga Forest. Some
time later they were joined by the Tourays from Futa Toro, and
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
• Gunjur Fishing Village
the largest fisheries centre
in Gambia, at Bator Sateh, at the end of the Beach Road, is one
of the best ways to experience vibrant village life. In what would
appear to be smoke-filled organised chaos at the harbour, you
can see brightly painted, multi-coloured African longboats heave,
sway and surge on the often threatening Atlantic Ocean waves.
Women sometimes wade in shoulder high to collect the catch in
wide plastic buckets on their heads. Once the pirogues are on
shore they are then manually hauled in on chunky wooden rollers
to the shouts of fishery workers. The fish catch, often bonga,
is traded by fishmongers, sometimes gutted and washed, then dried,
frozen or smoked in dim, hazy, rusting sheds and pungent cold
stores, while fishing nets are mended and pirogue hull breaches
repaired. Most of the fishermen are Senegalese, many of whom live
in the town.
• Gunjur Village Museum
in Babilon, the initiative to build the Cultural
Heritage Museum came from Lamin Bojang in 2008, while working
at the Footsteps
Eco-Lodge. The small museum, which is now registered with
National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), aims to preserve
the areas oral historical accounts, culture and artifacts. Among
the ancient and more modern pieces on exhibit are intricately
carved human figurines, wooden stools and bowls, carved
wooden masks, decorated bino horns, clay water containers, hot
press irons, metal cooking pots, musical instruments like the
Kora and Balafon.
- Tel no: +220 643 6637]
Private Forest Park
Located to the west of the Kombo Coastal Road this is a small
nature reserve where you can see various bird species and animals
such as green vervet monkeys and other wildlife.
• Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife
345 hectares of protected coastal and marine park called Bolong
Fenyo is managed by the
Gunjur Environmental Protection & Development Group (GEPADG
no: 8800986 / 4486001). You can contact them for a tour of the
wildlife park, and gain some good community insights into how
it combines the preservation of the area's delicate biodiversity
to local job creation, and can organise cultural dance performances
and food. For birdwatchers, their focus of interest would be the
coastal lagoon, a site that draws in over 75 recorded bird species
(some claim to have seen 119), including Double-banded Sandgrouse,
Green Crombec and Little Crake. There are also reptiles, snakes,
mammals and invertebrates such as humpback dolphins and green
• Bird Watching
Visitors to Gunjur who fancy doing a bit of
birdwatching can find numerous bird species in variable habitats.
Among these are the
Spoonbill, Hybrid Red Bellied X African Paradise Flycatcher, Red-billed
Firefinch, Lavender Waxbill, Brown Babbler, Vinaceous Dove, Pied-winged
Swallow, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, Bronze mannikin, Spur-winged
Lapwing, Western Red-billed Hornbill, Village Weaver, African
Pygmy Kingfisher, Black Heron, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Wire-tailed
Swallow, Black-winged Red Bishop, Piapiac, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu,
Laughing Dove, Spur-winged Plover, Senegal Firefinch, Striped
Kingfisher, Variable Sunbird, Western Bluebill, African Thrush,
Black-necked Weaver, Grey-headed Gull, Yellow-crowned Gonolek,
Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Blue-bellied roller, Senegal Parrot,
Western Bluebill and Purple Glossy Starling.
• Sports Fishing
Shore angling can be quite rewarding among the Gunjur coastline's
shallow reefs, sandy bays and rocky outcrops. With the right rod
and tackle you might snag Barracuda, Catfish, Guitarfish (Shovel-nosed
Rays), Captain Fish, Butterfish, Stingrays, various Croakers,
and Red or Guinean snappers from the seafront. Shore
fishing is good throughout the year, at high or low tide.
Bay' has been deemed suitable for all levels of surfers by wannasurf.com.
Waves have an estimated swell size of 1m / 3ft and holds up to
2m+ / 6ft+ and a frequency of 150 days a year, with a good day
length of 50 to 150m. The bay is located south of the coastal
fish landing site, between Bator Sateh and Gunjar Madina.
• Holy Site
1km from Gunjur's main fishing centre is a sacred site called
the Sand Dune Mosque, or Kenye-Kenye Jamango ('Mosque soil'
in Mandinka), which overlooks a spectacular sweep of beachfront
from a high dune. Made famous by a visit here by the much revered
Sheikh Umar Futiu Taal in the late 1830s. He had thousands of
loyal followers and had imposed his authority from Senegal to
Nigeria. The palm-frond mosque, and associated grounds, such as
rocks and buildings are all considered sacred, and some pilgrims
have been known to stay for up to one year here. A half mile south
of here is Tengworo ('6 Palm Trees') where recently circumcised
boys are bathed. North of Kenye-Kenye is Nyanitama-Dibindinto,
a holy place of prayer where infertile women make offerings in
the hope of conceiving. If you want to visit any of these sacred
places you should be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.
Note that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
staying in the rural area beware of animal as well as possible
human risks. There are a few poisonous snakes in the bushy areas
such as cobra, therefore it's advisable to always wear boots when
trekking in the scrub. During the evenings it's best to stay within
close proximity of your lodgings, and if you have to go some distance
then to only go out at night by car and accompanied. If you are
camping on the beach or remote locality, then do be aware of your
personal safety when on the
coast at night. Use the services of a tourist guide and get advise
from one of the local organisations. Finally, don't drink water
straight from the tap. Drink purified water, use a portable water
filter or sterilizations tablets. If possible bring along plenty
of insect repellent, preferred toiletries and sun block cream.
can be reached by taking one of the yellow normal taxis or one
of the four wheel drive green tourist taxis
from the northerly resorts of Kololi
and Kotu, and travelling south along the
Kombo Coastal Road, it is
about 10 km after Sanyang. To get back
to your hotel go to the taxi rank on the outskirts of the village,
and consider taking a shared bush taxi (van) all the way to Brusubi,
then take a cab from there. This last trip can be reversed making
it the cheapest option of travel.
If you are visiting this area then do pack plenty of your most
essential supplies. There are some mini-markets now open in town.
[Geographical coordinates 13.1833° N,
16.7667° W / Kombo South, Western Region]