Gunjur is a large sprawling coastal town with a population of around 25,000 inhabitants situated 2km from the coast and 25km from Serrekunda, one of the largest towns in the region. Gunjur established a link with Marlborough town in the UK in 1982 and have benefited from years of knowledge and human resources exchange with the English town since the inception of the link over three decades ago.
Gunjur's twining with Marlborough in Wiltshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1982 meant that over 1700 people have travelled between the two communities through The Marlborough Brandt Group.
There are eight Kabilos or wards in Gunjur largely made up of different extended family groups, the Tourays, the Darboes, the Bojangs etc. They are structured with both head men and women of each Kabilo who represent that Kabilo at Elder's and Women's meetings.
It is the largest fishing community in The Gambia, mostly fished by Senegalese fisherman, many of whom reside in Gunjur. In the centre of Gunjur are the market and the mosque. A ‘bush taxi’ station is found on the outskirts of the village, only a short walk from the centre. Taxis are cheap and crowded, they will take you to the beach in 10 minutes or Serrekunda in less than an hour.
95% of the population of The Gambia is Muslim and Gunjur is an important Islamic centre. The fishing industry at the beach, local vegetable gardens and rice, groundnut, cassava and maize fields provide the principal employment for people living in Gunjur. There are shops and two mini markets where most basic commodities are available. Electricity arrived in Gunjur for the first time in 2013 and piped water will arrive in early 2014. There are very few vehicles in the centre of the village.
The rainy season is hot and humid and normally lasts from June to October when it returns to a dry and less hot climate during the months of November through to May
FOUNDING FAMILY HISTORY:
Oral history suggests that the first people to settle in Gunjur were the Sanyang family who are Bianunkas of the Biyaro tribe. It is said they established a small settlement close to an Atlantic coastal lagoon called Bolong Fenyo. According to a colonial commissioner's note of 1941, the village was founded by the Darboe family, who were pagans who migrated from Manding (Mali) hundreds of years ago and obtained permission from the kings of Brikama to make this area of land their home. Their site was nearer to the sea than the present village in what is today known as Senga Forest. Sometime later they were joined by the Tourays from Futa Toro, and the Sahos.
The seafront area of Gunjur resort is, at most times, gloriously deserted, save for the odd passing cow and the occasional passer-by. The strand is less geared to tourist than some of the northern holiday resorts and there are a few dotted beach bars and lodges nestled on the edge of huge rhum palm clusters and shoreline bush. Pristine yellowish sand sweeps the edges of broad bays, presenting impressive views into the distant shoreline, and the sunsets are magnificent. In terms of natural beauty, this region's seafront perhaps only comes second to Sanyang, located further north.
The village is a tranquil, growing rural settlement of about 20,000 inhabitants The community is well served with good paved road connections along the coast and a highway leading from The Senegambia Tourist Strip up to Brikama town; the taxi rank is located in the edge of town. There are a few stores, diners and a couple of mini-markets in town and the village is now connected to the water and electricity utilities.
Outside the settlement are large and small farm field holdings, woodland scrub, and forest dotted with a growing number of private residential homes. Between the main village and the Atlantic Ocean is thick tropical palm forest, dry woodland, coastal scrub, mangroves, a coastal lagoon, baobab trees, acacia and cashew orchards.
There are a number of local NGOs working in the rural and urban community such as the Trust Agency For Rural Development (TARUD), the Gunjur Environmental Protection & Development Group (GEPADG), and Environmental Concern Group (Gunjur)
Gunjur is about 45 minutes’ drive from Banjul International Airport and about 30 minutes’ drive from the popular Senegambia Tourist Strip.
As such, Gunjur has a respectable selection of good quality seafront resorts and inland travellers' lodgings. If you really want peace and quiet and want to explore real Gambia, then go for the coastal hotels and lodges that are found on this beautiful region of The Gambia.
A unique and Earthy retreat, combining traditional and modern housing comprising of 8 traditionally made huts.
The Footsteps Eco-Lodge
This eco lodge is set some distance from the beach but has a natural swimming pool and well-honed services with 9 locally made huts.
The Gunjur Project Lodge:
With its 8 chalets, The Gunjur Project Lodge is set a few hundred meters away from the sandy Gunjur Beach with a large swimming pool. All the rooms have en-suite bathing and WC. This part of Gambia is great for camping backpacker and the lodge provides camping facility for travellers.
Gunjur can be reached by taking one of the yellow normal taxis or one of the four wheel drive green tourist taxis from the northerly resorts of Kololi and Kotu, and travelling south along the Kombo Coastal Road, it is about 10 km after Sanyang. To get back to the Senegambia Tourist Strip go to the taxi rank on the outskirts of the village, and consider taking a shared bush taxi (van) all the way to Brusubi, then take a cab from there. This last trip can be reversed making it the cheapest option of travel.
If you are visiting this area then do pack plenty of your most essential supplies. There are some mini-markets now open in town that sell most essential items you may need.