1. Video clips: ‘Gambia, Little Gambia….’ sing the school kids as they welcome us into the village of  in Sambel Kunda, when we visit the home of our expedition donkeys, The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (TGHDT). Then a little r’n’r for footage of the team on an afternoon on the Gambia River.

    Blog Entry: March 2010

    Our first experiment with putting footage from the expedition on You Tube. Its all the rage apparently. We have much more so watch this space.

    'Wobbly Productions' Presents:

    Movie clip 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc6Yt25peZ0 Arriving at Sambel Kunda – home of The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust (and home to Paddy, Neil and Hadley -our faithful road-hardy donkeys). This was one of the most memorable, tuneful and loudest welcomes that we had on the journey. We were greeted by at least 50+ school kids – all singing and clapping as they led us into the stable yard of the GH&DT. Amazing and very very touching.

    A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush

    Movie clip 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qj0vq3Q6qo&feature=relatedA day off on the River Gambia,near Sambel Kunda, for the Short Walk team (Momadou, our donkey handler,  had decided to stay home with his new wife who lives near Sambel Kunda and who he had not seen for a couple of weeks). Being on the Gambia River is one of mine and Florio’s all time favourite things to do; we are on it whenever the opportunity arises! Its so peaceful, as you will see. Also, when the sun is going down, and its getting to the cooler part of the day, the wildllife really comes alive and the air is filled with birdsong and the river with jumping fish……..a truly stunning sight to see.

    Gibril from The Gambia Horse & Donkey Trust passes us on the raod.

    Gibril, the vet, from TGHDT passes us on the road, after we leave Sambel Kunda. He is on route to administer their routine, much needed and free, veterinary treatment to the local villages in the surrounding area’s.

    If you have a moment, please visit the GHDT website to see the amazing work that founder, Heather Armstrong, and her team of volunteers are carrying out in The Gambia. They are a charity so are completely reliant on donations. Even if you can’t donate yourself right now, please spread the word. Lastly, please be aware that there are some disturbing images on the site BUT, there are many great success stories too.

    Many thanks. Florio & Jones

    http://www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk/

    Images: Florio-2009


     
  2. Image by: Florio-2009 James Island - a former slave port, on the Gambia River, Juffereh, The Gambia, West Africa.

    Looking back on the expedition:

    Blog Entry: January 2010

    The Short Walk team visited James Island in December 2009 on our walk back along the north bank of The Gambia. The now tiny island is situated on the Gambia River, about 2 miles off the main land, near the villages of Juffereh and Albreda. After a 15 minute ride on a small colourfully painted pirogue, across the choppy waters of the Gambia River, we planted our feet firmly on this diminishing piece of  historical rocky ground.

    The island has certainly gotten noticeably smaller since the last time I visited around 8 years ago. All that remains are a few weather-beaten baobab trees and the stone ruins of Fort James. The river is gradually reclaiming the land. This is perhaps not a bad thing in the light of what once represented: originally used as one of the important West African ports for transferring the slaves to countries such as Europe and America.

    We were taken over there later in the day (thankfully missing the masses of tourists that are trucked in earlier each day, during the season, by the tour operators) by the Alkalo’s son, Karamo, and as we were leaving at dusk, Florio said what an amazing experience it would have been to set up our camp for that night on the island…..”but why didn’t you say……it is possible….my mother is the Alkalo!”.  Mind you, I’m not too sure how well Neil and (p)Hadley, our donkeys, would have taken to the small pirogue on the river with their obstinate objection to being within even sniffing distance of water.  I think that we may well have unintentionally ended up swimming in it!

    More images to come…….

    Jones & Florio – now back in the snow (and cold!) of England

    Harvest time in The Gambia - Boy collecting waa grass, Tuba Dabbo

    On-the-road-shots by Florio-2009: Harvest time in The Gambia - Boy collecting grasses, Tuba Dabbo village

     
  3. Our last day on the road unfolds in images of what turned out to be the longest day on the road during the entire 6 weeks of walking around The Gambia, West Africa! As you will see, the cart wheel coming off 3 times throughout the day is the reason we were on the road for almost 24 hours - including sitting around time, waiting for the wheel to be attached - yet again - to the cart!!

    Images: Florio & Jones - Barra to Banjul ferry, Banjul (the capital of The Gambia), Kanifing District, Serrekunda and onwards……..

    December 12th 2009

     
  4. The Barra to Banjul ferry takes around 45minutes, once on the ferry. Its the main crossing point over the Gambia River to the capital of Banjul from Barra.

    Images by: Jones, Florio & Janneh - more images from our last day on the road - 6 weeks from the day we began the journey.

    December 12th 2009

     
  5. Image: Florio-2009 Jones and the ‘Short Walk in The Gambian Bush’ team make the early morning crossing over the Gambia River from the port of Barra to Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa (Dec 12th 2009)


     
  6. Around The Gambia in 280 (PG Tips) teabags! Heading back to Makasutu (home!) via the Barra-Banjul ferry, across the Gambia River. TV Stars-are-us! thanks to Ibrahim Jatta and his ‘Expedition Gambia’ interview he recorded with us right at the beginning of the journey for GRTS (Gambia Radio & Television)

    Blog Entry: Saturday 12th December 2009. Distance walked to-date: 889km

    We are sitting on the side of the road in Kanifing area, waiting for Adama, the mechanic, to come from Makasutu Culture Forest to put our cart wheel back on! More on that in a minute.

    Last night we spent the night by the Gambia River in Barra, on the North Bank, so that we could catch the first ferry in the morning over to Banjul to begin the final leg of our journey back to Makasutu - home. Our accommodation, kindly provided by the Alkalo, was a disused warehouse smack bang in the middle of the fish market on the shores of the river Gambia. At first we were a little disappointed as it was not the most salubrious of camp sites to-date (especially after having spent the previous night in a beautiful orchard, beneath a giant neem tree, in Chamen Sosseh).

    There was nowhere to pitch the tents as the compound was completely concreted over. So, we hung our mosquito net, put down a couple of mats and slept with a canopy of stars and the waning moon above us. It truly was quite wonderful.

    When we got to the port in the early hours, people were approaching us to say that they had seen us on tv and that most Gambians thought that there was no way we could walk around The Gambia – especially ‘the toubabo’s’ as they don’t walk anywhere!! Ha! they of little faith! We have the photo’s to prove it too!

    Whilst waiting in the cold morning air for the ticket office to open, we enjoyed a cup of hot Nescafe with condensed (sweetened ofcourse!) milk from a Senegalese trader, made on his little cart.  Believe it or not, for instant coffee, it has the most delicious taste– Florio and I got quite addicted to it when we were in Senegal last year! It’s the whole ritual of making it too, that adds to the taste – putting the coffee in the cup, pouring in the water, then adding the milk, then pouring the coffee numerous times from one cup to another to get the mix just right. The Senegalese love coffee but The Gambians don’t seem to go for it as much (its more about their atayah green tea) so it’s a rare treat to find one of these sellers in The Gambia. And all for D7 (about 16 pence)!

    Once the ticket office opened, there was the usual scramble for tickets (Florio and I have both been to this port before) – people running for the booths like it’s the sale of the century, despite there being fenced, single-file walkways to the booths!

    We cajoled Neil and (p)Hadley onto the ferry – that was hard work (particularly when you’ve spent most of the previous night, lying awake, looking up at the stars). As previously mentioned, Donkeys do not like water at all and I swear they can smell it for miles to come! Eventually, we set off on a pretty choppy crossing around 7.15am – all of us a little green around the gills when we disembarked in Banjul after lurching from side to side for the past 45 minutes.

    Once back on Banjul terra firma we found a roadside ‘diner’ (a rickety wooden table covered with a plastic tablecloth and benches) where we all enjoyed a celebratory breakfast of omelette in tapalapa for Florio and I, cous cous and salty fish for Janneh, Samba and Momadou and more coffee (not as tasty as the Senegalese cuppa we had earlier, I have to say). After having spent 6 weeks eating sardines and bread for breakfast this was like breakfast at Tiffanys!

    M’conna fata (I have a full belly), we headed out on the July 22nd Highway from Banjul on the last 35km’s of pur journey which, ironically, turned out to be the most challenging of all.

    get the coffee's in Jones!

    Colour Image: Florio - 2009 ‘Get the coffee’s in Jones!’ Barra Ferry Terminal – on our way home – 6am and feeling the cold!

    B&W Image: Jones-2009 Florio, Momadou & Samba. Early morning, leaving Barra on the ferry for Banjul

    www.makasutu.com

    http://www.edenproject.com/support-us/become-a-friend/index.php

    http://www.gambia.co.uk/ (specialising in flights to West Africa)

     
  7. The expedition team make their nightly camp in the grounds of the Kuntaur Agriculture Station in the Central River Region, The Gambia, West Africa.

    Image: Florio-2009 (B&W)

    It was such a peaceful spot to camp in. Just a few feet beyond our campsite was the beautiful Gambia River. A local woman came along with a bucket of fresh fish that her fisherman husband had just caught. So the watchman’s wife very kindly cooked some up for us - along with onions, tomato’s, spices, chilli and rice. Delicious!

    Neil and (p)Hadley were in heaven too…..surrounded by all that grass and a fresh batch of groundnut hay!

    Distance walked to-date: 659km

    Blog entry: 1st December 2009

     
  8. Images: #1,9 Jones-2009 2-8 Florio-2009

    Basse Santa Su street and River Gambia scenes - The Gambia, West Africa

    Taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush - a 930km african odyssey’

     
  9. Images: #1, 7 Jones-2009  #2,3,4,5,6,8 Florio-2009

    On the road and Bansang town, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009

    Taken whilst on A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush - a 930km african odyssey

     
  10. Images: Florio-2009 The Gambia, West Africa

    Taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush-a 930km African Odyssey’