Gambian Pirogues!

I love to see Gambian Pirogues out on the water. They glide through the water effortlessly as if they had always been part of the sea.

On a sunny day with blue skies, their colours pop and sparkle against the water.

local fishing
Gliding through the water1
Pirogues in Gambia
Alahein, this is where our sunrise/sunset trips leave from

In The Gambia, Pirogues are the same as in Senegal which is where most of them either originated or were built. However, The Gambia produces its fair share too and they are beautiful.

The word ‘Pirogue’ is a generic term meaning any kind of small boat, especially dugouts and native canoes. Interestingly Senegal took its name from The Wolof ” Sunu gaal, literally translated as meaning “our pirogue”

Why Pirogues?

There are several reasons why Pirogues are the most popular type of fishing boat in The Gambia and Senegal.

First and foremost is the cost, it is much cheaper to build than let us say a metal, fibreglass or clinker type boat. Second, the materials are readily available and these boats are made from redwoods and are hollowed out from a single log.

Art and design

Pirogues being built in Gambia
a work in progress
Typical Gambian fishing boat
a new paint job

If the craftsman and his team work full steam, a small canoe can be ready to go in the water in one week. A 23m boat like the one top right can take a month at a cost of circa £4,500.00 and if you want a fancy paint job like the one above that is extra and it takes longer😉

Pirogues in Gambia
For Gambian women the work is never done
Pirogues in Gambia
Preparing to a days work on Gambian waters!

If you would like a trip on one of these beautiful boats there are several ways you can achieve this. You could go fishing or maybe take a day trip to Barra. And instead of using the commercial ferry, use one of the local skippers. They take people back and forth all day and service stops at 1 am.

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