The Fatalah game reserve is a popular destination for tourists travelling through the Saloum delta and day trips from The Gambia are possible as well. We learn a lot about the wild animals that used to be native in Senegal but can now only be found under “semi-wild” conditions in the reserve. The offer to take tame lions for a walk was rejected – as Naturefriends this is something we cannot support.
On two different days our two groups go on a trip through the delta area of the Saloum. A real “vacation day” in the breath-taking landscape. As a national park, the Saloum Delta has an interesting fish population and an impressive bird fauna. We are spending a long time on the Woudjering Island, have a picnic, go for a swim and listen to stories about life on the island. The owner of the island, Mamadou Diouf, created a humble paradise for him and his family, where he likes to greet guests and offers a picnic area, complete with tables and benches.
Today is a day for travelling without a big agenda. Still, our short stop-over in Banjul allows us to experience daily life in a busy African city. The market close to the ferry terminal draws many customers, the small Arabic and African restaurants are always busy – merchants selling souvenirs approach the guests, donkey carts pass through, loaded to the brim with fresh vegetables. When the car and passenger ferry arrives, there is a big crowd but everything is orderly. We need a bit of patience for our turn – but then we are on our back to Senegal.
Today’s agenda includes Tanji with its village museum and the “fishermen beach” and a visit to “Mama Africa“. Our guide informs us: „Along the coast in and around Tanji there is an intensive development of tourism. Hotel complexes are build, investors from abroad take over, rich Gambians establish their second homes, which are rent at very high prices. The local population is displaced by this kind of tourism. There are no restrictions for land acquisition, that protect locals.”
We leave the region of the Landscape of the Year and continue westwards. There are no special action points on the agenda, so we have time to think about the arguments of Omar Jammeh, director of “Just Act”, concerning problems and chances of tourism in the Janjanbureh region, which shall be improved through the Landscape of the Year activities.
Interview with Omar Jammeh, director of “Just Act” (Janjanbureh United for Sustainable Tourism and Community Training):
Omar, the organisation “Just Act” was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to sustainable tourism. What are your aims?
The focus of our work is the support of sustainable tourism, especially by qualifications and trainings of young people for jobs in the tourism sector.
We are on the way to a tree-planting event again – this time in Korop, east of Janjanbureh and close to The Gambia River. We leave the island via a new bridge with an ambivalent feeling: job losses for those working on the ferries versus improvement of the accessibility, also in the name of tourism? On the other hand, tourism is an important employer …