But it was comfy


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I love the old E Class Mercs and they just seem to go on forever, regardless of what may fall off or cease to function along the way. In their distinctive green and yellow livery, these timeless classics make up around sixty percent of the tourist taxi fleet in The Gambia.

Cheap to buy, inexpensive to maintain and rugged, what more could you ask? Particularly when you consider the roads in The Gambia. There are a few tarmac sections, some more reasonable gravelly tracks and a host of rural ‘roads’ which would undoubtedly be considered far too extreme for an Olympic Mogul Skiing course.

The weather doesn’t help, of course, as many of these roads get washed away or heavily rutted each year during the rainy season. However, these old Mercs seem to cope quite well and are generally pretty comfy.

My first journey in one of these local taxis involved all types of terrain. I quickly discovered that there was no point in wondering how fast you were travelling, whether or not the driver was signalling, how much fuel they put in the car, how warm it was or anything else relating to dials or gauges as none of them worked. Even opening a window was a struggle, no handles, but it was comfy. In general, I found that the only thing that consistently worked in any taxi was the radio or cassette player.

Heading down one of the heavily trenched ‘roads’, there was a sudden clatter and we stopped. I looked out of the back window and there, in the middle of the track, was the entire exhaust system. Out we got and for the next twenty minutes or so we sat chatting to some locals outside whose home we had broken down. I assumed that the driver had summoned assistance and that the excursion had reached a premature conclusion.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3304″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]But no. After twenty minutes, the exhaust had cooled down sufficiently to be thrown into the boot of the vehicle and, having said farewell to the local family, we were off again. Got to hand it to these old Mercs.

We then managed the enormous distance of about twenty metres before there was an enormous jolt as the front wheel plunged into a huge crater and punctured the tyre. Out we got again and rejoined the bemused local family for another, lengthier chat and a drink.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3305″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This second stop was much longer but we eventually got back under way and, fortunately, there were no further incidents. Comfy though.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

My 3 favourite Gambia beach walks 👣

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Beach walks, walking is good for the soul and for your general well-being.
It’s also great for your dog and if you didn’t bring one on holiday with you then we have a couple of very obliging mutts at the lodge called 7 and Yoga which are always on hand to accompany you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2960″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walk 1 of 3 is the walk Linda ( my partner ) and I probably do most and this is a 7 km 2-hour walk to The Rainbow Beach bar at Sanyang. It’s so simple to get to, just a short 25-minute stroll to the beach and turn right. We often comment on how we don’t see anyone on the way and often it is just Linda, myself and of course 7. On arrival, you will find several bars to choose from but Rainbow Beach Bar is our favourite offering traditional cultural wrestling each Sunday between 4 pm and 6 pm.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2946″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walks 2 of 3 is in the opposite direction and is shorter at 5km and a little under 1 and 1/2 hours. This takes you to Gunjur Beach where you can visit Gunjur Project and hear about the great work their volunteers are doing in the local community or visit a Turtle sanctuary and see how Gambia Parks and Wildlife are planning the future for Gambia’s turtles and marine life. Stop by at Sankule Beach Bar and meet Kaddi who has been entertaining and looking after her visitors there for more than 20 years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2944″ img_size=”medium”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]Gambia beach walks 3 of 3 is the longest walk of the trio and is recommended that you taxi to your start point in Kartong. This walk will take circa 7 hours if you stop off for lunch at one of the beach bars. It brings you past both Nemasu Lodge and Sandele Eco-Retreat and in total will clock up circa 18km. It also has you passing the new Mosque which was built under Jammeh’s rule, quite spectacular!.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_single_image image=”2942″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]All walks can start at either end by arranging a taxi to drop off or pick up, Happy strolling 😀[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]