Banjul, Gambia

2018 HAL World Cruise

Monday, April 16, 2018

 

In 1816, Captain Alexander Grant (by order of the British Colonial Office) established a military post on Banjul Island.  He renamed the island St. Mary’s and named the settlement in honor of Colonial Secretary Henry Bathurst.  The settlement was meant to suppress the slave trade out of Western Africa and, also, served as a trade outlet for the merchants who were ejected from Senegal when the French took over.  Eventually, it became the capital of the British colony and protectorate of Gambia.  With Gambia’s independence, it became the national capital.  The name was changed to Banjul in 1973.

This is a very poor country.  The people are very nice and look happy but we wonder what it is like to live here.  Our guide, was a port guard who took the day off to earn extra money as a guide and driver.  Four of us hired him for 4 hours and paid him U.S.$80.00 for his services.  Not only did he perform as a guide; he was our protector as he fended off over-zealous hawkers and (no doubt) potential pickpockets!

It is our custom to start a port day by taking photos from the aft deck.
It is our custom to start a port day by taking photos from the aft deck.
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In Gambia, you can see all the main sites without ever leaving the ship! Arch 22 was built to commemorate the military coup of July 22, 1994, when President Jawara was overthrown and replaced by Yahya Jammeh, also replaced in 2017 by Adama Barrow.
These are the twin minarets of the King Fahad Mosque.
These are the twin minarets of the King Fahad Mosque.
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We disembarked the ship and looked for a taxi. Most of our cruise mates were taking organized ship’s tours.
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One of the bridge guards introduced us to a driver (a port employee earning extra money on ship day). We walked across the bridge to the police station, loaded up into Seedy’s vehicle, and set out for Kotu Beach.
Seedy and his car for our trip to Kotu Beach.
Seedy and his car for our trip to Kotu Beach.
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As we were exiting the port gate, we saw about a dozen of these carts coming in. This is merchandise, from all over the island, that will be set out at the dock for a pop-up market!!!!
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As we left the port area, we passed Dobson Street, an old neighborhood with distinctive buildings buit by the Portuguese. It was a bit of a disappointment. The buildings are there, but in disrepair. So sad.
Dobson Street
Dobson Street
Markets set up along the road to Kotu Beach
Markets set up along the road to Kotu Beach
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This is a very poor country. the people are very nice but the living conditions look challenging.
Schoolkids playing soccer without a soccer ball.
Schoolkids playing soccer without a soccer ball.
School girls carrying no books.
School girls carrying no books.
Ahh, ther's always another mosque!
Ahh, ther’s always another mosque!
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Arriving in Kotu Beach where we find a commercial district set up to provide services for the condo dwellers. There’s a supermarket, gas station, restaurants, and lots & lots of vendor stalls!
Vendors are selling wood carvings, jewelry, fabrics and clothing.
Vendors are selling wood carvings, jewelry, fabrics and clothing.
Kotu Beach
Kotu Beach
Walking along Kotu Beach.
Walking along Kotu Beach.
Enjoying the local brew at Sailor's Beach Bar.
Enjoying the local brew at Sailor’s Beach Bar.
Eye-catching wall mural.
Eye-catching wall mural.
Even the stonework is lovely!
Even the stonework is lovely!
Leaving Kotu Beach and heading back to the city.
Leaving Kotu Beach and heading back to the city.
Approaching the port.
Approaching the port.
Entertainers on the dock to see us off.
Entertainers on the dock to see us off.

This experience was eye-opening and thought-provoking!

 

Our next port is Dakar, Senegal.

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