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ethical africa

 

 

description:  Here we will explain as much as possible about our holidays in The Gambia, the smiling coast of west Africa. We offer you an alternative to the usual hotel or 'luxury safari' rip-offs. We are first and foremost about 'reality' and are not stuffy, nor pretentious. We believe in giving you real value for money and a genuine experience of this country, its culture and its wonderful people.

Let me emphasise that this is not a hotel-based holiday. Here you will be living in much the same way as our neighbours do, although with a little more western comfort. Whilst here you will be part of the local community. As such you will gain insights into culture and tribal customs that would not be open to you if you were at one of the hotels. We get invited to naming and 'right of passage' ceremonies, weddings and to other compounds as friends, rather than as tourists. The natural friendliness of the people may overwhelm you at first. We Europeans are not used to this open-hearted warmth and generousity of spirit. You will also meet genuine 'griots' {the Bards or minstrels, who carry the histories of the tribes. See links page for more info..} at their homes or at our place.

 

 

 

 

Originally from Senegal, Haruna is a mine of information about tribal ways and local languages. He's our manager,and has been living on site, since we first built on our land here. Haruna will meet you at the airport, and from then on his first duty is to look after you. He can accompany you on trips to other areas and over the border to Senegal, if you wish. He's available 24/7 for anything you may need and can introduce you to many locals. He is an excellent woodcarver, so see him for any face masks, statues or necklaces etc., that you may want as souvenirs. 

Like Haruna, the first people you will meet are all artists or artisans. Also cooks, batik makers, builders, gardeners, masseurs, musicians, scrabble champions {in English!} all 'salt of the Earth folks' like silversmiths and tailors. Then there are the neighbours. All of them are my good friends and can be the same for you, if you wish.

 

 

We offer drumming tuition as an optional freebie. It is my area of expertise after all, and a good way to appreciate this aspect of West African culture. There is a lot of drum and dance at the ceremonies we attend, and in the evenings at places of entertainment. Hopefully, our daily drum lessons will give you a better understanding of the drumming you experience out and about in The Gambia. If you wish, we can set you up with teachers from the various tribes, on their various types of drum. However, I realise it is not for everyone, so tuition is organised to be unobtrusive, not disturbing other guests.

 

 

location:  We live in a cul-de-sac, in a quiet part of Bakau, a town large by Gambian standards, small compared to Europe. It is safe, secure and the crime rate is low compared to USA/Europe. Personally I feel safer walking around Bakau alone at night than in UK towns. We've built on land reclaimed from a disused rubbish tip, so we have good black soil for growing our flowers and fruit trees. We can walk to anything we may want, from bank to bazaar, sea to supermarket. Here is a view of our nearest beach, looking north.

 

 

other details:   About 15 minutes walk away there is a supermarket, post office and craft shops. Nearby, bikes can be hired for about 1 an hour or 8 daily. There are internet cafes and fax / phone centres around. You can get your photos developed in town. There many bars and a community centre within 10 minutes walk, they often host some interesting events. The national stadium is also within walking distance. Here you may see big sporting, cultural or musical events,  even Yousou N'Dour, if you're lucky. The women's vegetable garden cooperative is close by, as are the botanical gardens.

We only employ Gambians and other West Africans settled in The Gambia. We pay good wages, without inflating the local economy. All your money for the holiday is spent in The Gambia on local goods and services, except a small advertising budget which is spent in the UK.

This is a not a for profit endeavour. We keep guest numbers low, so we do not make too much impact on the area while we are there. We have water and energy saving measures in place and minimise our use of motor cars. 


 

accommodation:   Rooms face on to our bahama-grass lawns which have both shady and sunny areas for you to relax in. All rooms have mosquito-netted double beds, sheets, pillows, blanket, built-in wardrobe and shower area. Windows have mosquito nets and curtains; doors have curtains and individual padlocks. We have solar shower bags, for the occasional hot wash, and you can always boil a kettle, but most of the time you will prefer a cooler shower at tap temperature.

Our kitchen is fully equipped with fridge, cooker, juicer, electric kettle, cutlery, cooking pots, crockery, double sink and built in cupboards. We keep it stocked with tea, coffee, local herb teas, fruit, jam and marmite, margarine and bread. You can help yourself at any time. Nyima, our chef and a good friend, arrives around 5pm daily to clean the kitchen. Whilst she cooks for us, our guests may choose to learn from her about African cuisine. Nyima will invite you to both her husband's compound and her mother's, where you could learn more about cooking in West Africa.

We also have 2 apartments available; check the website for details.

        

 

 

 

pricing: We can organise groups to travel together on the same flight. However, you will be travelling independently. Each of you pay, separately, the travel agent of your choice, for your flights. This gives you all the usual assurances of ATOL or ABTA bonding. Expect to pay around 300 for your flight, from UK. We take care of Gambian airport taxis, daily drum workshops, your room, meals in our guesthouse, and your general welfare.                                                                                                                      

Based on 200 per person, per week, for half board. We have discounts for couple, families and returning guests: see website for details. We are very flexible about lengths of stay, from weekends to months. If you want more details or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me, I am happy to chat with you on the phone or via email. However, if I am away in Africa, it could take a couple of weeks for me to respond to phone messages. PLEASE DO NOT FILL UP MY ANSWER PHONE. Leave a very BRIEF but clear message, with your name & number and I'll get back to you ASAP. You'll nearly always get an email response with a day or two.

 

contact details

Tel: Paul 01234 270373 anytime. 

Please leave a message if Paul is not there to take your call.

(If Paul seems not to be available call Tony: 0114 2700 800 during office hours only.)


However, email should be your first avenue of contact
with us, either use the form on our website; www.realgambia.net
or email to Paul's webmail which he can pick up anytime, worldwide.

email : realafrica2007ATyahoo.co.uk

 please replace AT with @ in the eMail address above. this is to foil the spam robots!!

 www.realgambia.net 

 

if you are traveling somewhere remote, or to a country with an unstable political climate, please check the travel advice section first


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