THE HISTORY OF MAKASUTU CULTURE FOREST
The story began in December 1992 when two Englishmen were looking for a spot in The Gambia where they could build a park in the Gambian wilderness. They found the place and managed to buy over a thousand hectares of land. Eventually 15,000 trees were planted and dozens of wells were dug. There was an old man who had already been living on that territory and was said to be a prophet or a holy man. He wanted to leave the park, but the Englishmen wanted him to stay – so he still lives there nowadays.
ON THE RIVER GAMBIA
Guide will take you to the Base camp in the middle of the park, where they will offer you free hot drinks, a coffee or green tea. Then you will walk up a four storey view tower, from which you could see a river and an endless plain with tall palm trees.
After seeing surrounding from the tower, you will go on a canoe ride among the mangroves and creeks. There are different sizes of wooden canoes, some are for approximately five people some are meant for bigger groups. On the shore you can see the monkeys called baboons, which are jumping and screaming around. Sometimes you will see locals swimming in the river or women that are cleaning oysters. Locals are making plaster out of oyster shells, which is then used for plastering houses, colouring and also as food for chicken (shells contain calcium). When you reach the other side, you will continue walking through the forest to the Base camp.
IN THE WILD FOREST
On the walk through the forest you can see many typical African trees and berries. The guide will tell you about their medicinal purpose which is still commonly used by the local people. They use different things – roots, leaves, bark and fruits. In the forest you will hear sounds of different animals: birds, monkeys … If you are lucky you will also see squirrels and lizards. Big termite houses are everywhere in the forest.
OLD AFRICAN FORTUNE TELLER
When walking through the forest you will see a small wooden cottage with a few chickens around it. Inside the cottage an old man who is called to be a fortune teller was living there for many years. He died in 2014. His eldest son is now there to tell you what your future will look like! Usually he put a mirror in your hand, he look into it and tell you the future in Mandinka language. The guide will translate everything for you if you decide to pay extra for fortune telling.
You will continue the walk through the forest. It last about one hour, but with the strong African sun it is quite exhausting. The walk ends by the place where some locals produce palm wine. You can taste it – it is like a grape must. One local man will show you how this juice is collected into pots. He will climb the palm tree using a rope – it looks simple to do it but if you try it, you will realize that it is quite tough to do it.
LUNCH AND TRADITIONAL PERFORMANCE
From that point you will go back to the big baobab tree where your journey began. Surrounded with trees, bird singing and walking monkeys you will have a traditional Gambian lunch – fish or meat, vegetables, rice and different sauce. It is always very tasty. If there is enough people at the place, they will also organize traditional Gambian dance and musical performance.
In the end of the place, there is a small craft market. You can buy some souvenirs but don’t forget to barging for the prices.
Note: the program can change due to weather conditions, law & high season, etc.