“Want to see Gambia by bicycle?” I said to my husband Nick. We are experienced travellers and cycle-tourists, who are always looking for our next adventure.
At the end of 2017, we were seeking a sunny place to visit and decided to book a trip and see The Gambia by bicycle.
We found Footstep’s website and it was exactly what we were looking for.
We booked one of their lovely huts for two weeks in February. And ended up having one of the best holidays of our lives.
A sense of freedom!
When we visit a new place, our favourite mode of transport is the bicycle. It gives you a sense of freedom and you can travel at the perfect speed. You can cover a reasonable distance in Gambia by bicycle but you see and hear everything that is going on.
During our stay at Footsteps, we hired a couple of their bikes and set off exploring. Kartong is a wonderful place to cycle as it’s only about 1 hour away from Footsteps on a quiet road. There are also things to see along the way, including a brilliant reptile centre and an amazing art gallery.
Friendly border controls
Kartong is a border crossing between the Gambia and Senegal. It has a couple of bars, which serve food. So it is the perfect place to sit by the river and watch the fishermen bringing in their catch.
You can also spend hours just watching people clamber in and out of the small boats that endlessly cross the river between the Gambia and Senegal. From Kartong, you can also do boat trips on the river to see the wildlife, mangroves and superb birdlife.
Tanji has a lot to offer
Another interesting place in Gambia by bicycle is Tanji. It’s about 2 hours away and there are places to visit along the way, including the fascinating Tanje Village Museum. Tanji is a bustling fishing port and the Tanji Bird Reserve is nearby. When we did this trip we had to contend with sand trucks for part of the journey. These are large and sometimes fast, so when you hear one coming it’s best to move out of the way!
Wonder Years Centre of Excellence
Because we loved our first trip to the Gambia so much, we returned in March 2019 for another two weeks. This time exploring the East of the country and doing voluntary work at the Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (WYCE). I volunteered at their school and Nick volunteered at their bike project. We used bikes to commute to WYCE and had a truly fantastic, fun and rewarding experience. We also gained the important skill of cycling on the sand! Here’s a picture of me leaving work and being chased by the friendly children.
More parties yea!
It’s impossible to cover in this blog all of the wonderful things that we experienced during our two trips to the Gambia.
But I hope that I have given you a small insight into how amazing Gambia by bicycle can be!
We can’t wait to go back, so we can be reunited with our Gambian friends and have another adventure and some more parties!
Top tips for cycling: the roads are flat so you won’t need many gears and fat tyres are recommended for the sandy bits!
A few cycling pics for the road …
Written by Jeanette Gurney.