Places of interest and Things to Do in Gunjur
Gunjur Fishing Village
Visiting the largest fisheries centre in Gambia, at Bator Sateh, at the end of the Beach Road, is one of the best ways to experience vibrant village life. In what would appear to be smoke-filled organised chaos at the harbour, you can see brightly painted, multi-coloured African longboats heave, sway and surge on the often threatening Atlantic Ocean waves. Women sometimes wade in shoulder high to collect the catch in wide plastic buckets on their heads. Once the pirogues are on shore they are then manually hauled in on chunky wooden rollers to the shouts of fishery workers. The fish catch, often bonga, is traded by fishmongers, sometimes gutted and washed, then dried, frozen or smoked in dim, hazy, rusting sheds and pungent cold stores, while fishing nets are mended and pirogue hull breaches repaired. Most of the fishermen are Senegalese, many of whom live in the town. However a Chinese Fish Meal Processing company has been established at the Fishing Village which meant that large quantities of fish is processed here for export.
• Gunjur Village Museum
Located in Babilon, the initiative to build the Cultural Heritage Museum came from Lamin Bojang in 2008, while working at the Footsteps Eco-Lodge. The small museum, which is now registered with National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), aims to preserve the areas oral historical accounts, culture and artefacts. Among the ancient and more modern pieces on exhibit are intricately carved human figurines, wooden stools and bowls, carved wooden masks, decorated bino horns, clay water containers, hot press irons, metal cooking pots, musical instruments like the Kora and Balafon.
Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tel no: +220 643 6637
• Koofung Private Forest Park
Located to the west of the Kombo Coastal Road this is a small nature reserve where you can see various bird species and animals such as green velvet monkeys and other wildlife.
• Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve
The 345 hectares of protected coastal and marine park called Bolong Fenyo is managed by the Gunjur Environmental Protection & Development Group (GEPADG) lead by Executive Director Bandra N. Bajo. You can contact them for a tour of the wildlife park, and gain some good community insights into how it combines the preservation of the area's delicate biodiversity to local job creation, and can organise cultural dance performances and food. For birdwatchers, their focus of interest would be the coastal lagoon, a site that draws in over 75 recorded bird species (some claim to have seen 119), including Double-banded Sandgrouse, Green Crombec and Little Crake. There are also reptiles, snakes, mammals and invertebrates such as humpback dolphins and green turtles.
Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve
West Coast Region
P O Box 21,
Banjul, The Gambia
Facebook: friends of Bolongfenyo
Tel: 220 9955063/3453232/7995517/8800986
Contact: Mr Badara N Bajo - Executive Director
• Bird Watching
Visitors to Gunjur who fancy doing a bit of birdwatching can find numerous bird species in variable habitats. Among these are the African Spoonbill, Hybrid Red Bellied X African Paradise Flycatcher, Red-billed Firefinch, Lavender Waxbill, Brown Babbler, Vinaceous Dove, Pied-winged Swallow, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, Bronze mannikin, Spur-winged Lapwing, Western Red-billed Hornbill, Village Weaver, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Black Heron, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Wire-tailed Swallow, Black-winged Red Bishop, Piapiac, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Laughing Dove, Spur-winged Plover, Senegal Firefinch, Striped Kingfisher, Variable Sunbird, Western Bluebill, African Thrush, Black-necked Weaver, Grey-headed Gull, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Blue-bellied roller, Senegal Parrot, Western Bluebill and Purple Glossy Starling.
• Sports Fishing
Shore angling can be quite rewarding among the Gunjur coastline's shallow reefs, sandy bays and rocky outcrops. With the right rod and tackle you might snag Barracuda, Catfish, Guitarfish (Shovel-nosed Rays), and Captain Fish, Butterfish, Stingrays, various Croakers, and Red or Guinean snappers from the seafront. Shore fishing is good throughout the year, at high or low tide.
'Secret Bay' has been deemed suitable for all levels of surfers by wannasurf.com. Waves have an estimated swell size of 1m / 3ft and holds up to 2m+ / 6ft+ and a frequency of 150 days a year, with a good day length of 50 to 150m. The bay is located south of the coastal fish landing site, between Bator Sateh and Gunjar Madina.
• Holy Site
About 1km from Gunjur's main fishing centre is a sacred site called the Sand Dune Mosque, or Kenye-Kenye Jamango ('Mosque soil' in Mandinka), which overlooks a spectacular sweep of beachfront from a high dune. Made famous by a visit here by the much revered Sheikh Umar Futiu Taal in the late 1830s. He had thousands of loyal followers and had imposed his authority from Senegal to Nigeria. The palm-frond mosque, and associated grounds, such as rocks and buildings are all considered sacred, and some pilgrims have been known to stay for up to one year here. A half mile south of here is Tengworo ('6 Palm Trees') where recently circumcised boys are bathed. North of Kenye-Kenye is Nyanitama-Sibindinto, a holy place of prayer where infertile women make offerings in the hope of conceiving. If you want to visit any of these sacred places you should be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
When staying in the rural area beware of animal as well as possible human risks. There are a few poisonous snakes in the bushy areas such as cobra, therefore it's advisable to always wear boots when trekking in the scrub. During the evenings it's best to stay within close proximity of your lodgings, and if you have to go some distance then to only go out at night by car and accompanied. If you are camping on the beach or remote locality, then do be aware of your personal safety when on the coast at night. Use the services of a tourist guide and get advice from one of the local organisations. Finally, don't drink water straight from the tap. Drink purified water, use a portable water filter or sterilizations tablets. If possible bring along plenty of insect repellent, preferred toiletries and sun block cream.