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Bakau

 
The Bakau resort in Gambia is located on the northern part of the Kombo District. It encompasses the quieter beach area of Cape Point and the livelier Bakau New Town, Old Town & Sait Matty Road. It is a mixed area of affluent seaside beach homes, working class compounds, bars, restaurants & supermarkets. At its busiest heart is the area around the Gamtel, Post Office, market & the road leading from there to the Garba Jahumpa Road almost 1 kilometre away.

The Resort & Beach Area:
The coastal area plays host to a number of hotels and small family run guest houses such as the African Village Hotel (on Atlantic Boulevard),  Cape Point Hotel, Sunbeach Beach, Garden Guesthouse, Romana Afram and others. Its coastline is fringed with palm trees however, the beach area is composed of rocky cliff edges and at high tide the sand can disappear altogether. This is not the case with Cape Point which in the early 2000s had new sand deposited on it to reverse previous coastal erosion and now has a wide golden beach.

Bakau Craft Market:
There are 2 separate markets both located within a stones throw from each other on the coastal Atlantic Road. The craft market is relatively quiet where you will find stalls selling a wide range of wood crafts, beads, batiks and other tourist souvenirs. Nearby is the village market which is a little rough on the edges and is tightly packed with stalls selling a wide range of local foodstuffs, buckets, second-hand clothes among other things. The front of the market which is on the main road is lined with fruit and vegetable stalls selling bananas, oranges, tomatoes, guavas, apples and other tropical fruits as well as other locally produced & imported fruits and vegetables.

In front of the village market is the beach jetty / fishing port of the local Fish Market where stalls can be found either at the quay side or at the road side near the taxi park. A special treat are the shrimps caught fresh and straight from the sea.

Bakau Botanical Gardens:
The garden is often overlooked by most tourists. It is set in an enclosed area within a link chain fence which is situated at the northern end of the Atlantic Road where the craft market ends. A little known fact is that many of the labelled trees and shrubs are actually indigenous to the country. There is a nature trail running within the grounds as well as shaded seating. If you take along some binoculars you might be able to spot red-cheeked cordon bleu, bronze manikins or the odd cattle egret. Its an ideal place to come and relax in the afternoons particularly if you want to get away from all the other tourists in your hotel!

The botanical gardens are open from Monday to Saturday 9 am till 5 pm and there is an entrance fee of D50 per person. You can contact them on 4497354 or 4497343.

Other Places in the area
The local area is also home to the main Military Camp's Barracks which is right next to the Fire Service which in turn is just a stones throw to the local police station. Radio Gambia is also located here on the road leading towards Banjul in an area called Mile Seven. The largest stadium, built as a gift from the Chinese, is on the edge of Bakau New Town and is a venue for some major music concerts, July 22nd celebrations as well as football matches.

History and Background:
The Bakau Village (Geographical coordinates: Latitude 13 48 N, Longitude 16 60 W - Population 48,500 - 2007 est.). was founded by the Bojang family over 520 years ago and is one of the oldest village settlements in the Gambia. It was originally settled by fishermen and their families. Since its establishment waves of migrants have moved in such as the Mandinkas after their westward movements in the 14 & 15th centuries. Other people later came some of whom were refugees from the Soninke Marabout wars of the second half of the 19th century such as the Serer who today still bring in their catch from the fish jetty. During the colonial period the area was a favourite with the British which formed part of British Kombo which was essentially Banjul, its island, and the outlying coastal areas to the west & south of it. These were areas given up to the British between 1820 to the middle of the twentieth century.


   
 


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