A visit to some of The Gambia’s most remote villages is a great way to learn about tribal ritual and rural life.
Scenically, eastern Gambia conforms to a stereotyšical European view of Africa – a thin scattering of picturesque villages with grass – thatched huts, fenced with woven millet stalks or pickets of twisted branches, isolated in open countryside where sheep and cattle roam in search of pasture. Outside the villages, women bend over vegetable plots, pound grain, under shade trees, or collect immense loads of firewood to carry home on their heads; under the bantabas, men discuss village politics or just lounge about. The massive, statuesque baobabs that dominate the landscape wherever there’s a settlement – or wherever one used to be – bear witness to the ancient roots of these communities.
Culturally, there is much to discover about rural Gambia in this region, particularly if you have a good guide to translate. Tribal traditions are in many ways more intact here than anywhere else in the country, and villagers are generally proud to share and explain elements of their culture, such as music and dance with interested visitors.
One of the region’s main attractions in the River Gambia itself, which at most times of the year is still fresh water as far west as the rice-growing town of Kau-ur and some way beyond. As it flows through eastern Gambia, the river is not yet fringed by the mangrove forests that characterize its lower reaches; instead, the banks are wooded with palms and tropical evergreen trees, sometimes overshadowed by dramatic laterite escarpments.
Source: The Rough guide to The Gambia