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Cape Point - Beach & Town Area
 
 
INTRODUCTION:
The Cape Point beach resort makes up the north-eastern part of the town of Bakau, in the Kombo St Mary District, in the West Coast Region of The Gambia, and is 12km to the west of Banjul capital. The district is a promontory and its beach area is where the River Gambia and the Atlantic Ocean merge at the estuary. To Cape Point's eastern coastline is a wide seafront of fine, golden sand, while much of its north-western coastline starts at sea level, then, as you head south west it rises up to over 15 metres, and is mostly characterised by laterite cliffs dotted with palms along a narrow strand. Further to its southeast are the brackish mangrove swamps of Cape Creek, frequented by wetland birds.

ACCOMMODATION:
The tourist enclave is in a very quiet part of town and close to a scenic seafront, which is fringed by hotels, palm trees, bushes, and up-market private residences. There are a number of smaller hotels and guesthouses offering budget accommodation such as the Cape Point Hotel. The main tourist-class hotels here are the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort and the Sunbeach Hotel & Resort.  If you prefer self-catering in deluxe surroundings with a small shared pool, then try one of the 12 luxury holiday apartments of the Cape Residence.

BEACH AREA:
Cape Point beach and its adjacent area is one of The Gambia's most family-friendly holiday resorts, and here the wide, beautiful strip of sand is lined with mature palm trees, grasses and thatched sunshades. You might also see some basalt boulders strategically place along part of the shoreline to counteract erosion of the sands.  Although erratic currents make it unsuitable for swimming, it's perfect for sunbathing, volleyball, strolling, picnics, and making sandcastles, and there's a broad choice of restaurants and beach bars close by. In the country as a whole there are often sightings of roaming livestock, so don't be surprised if you see the odd goat or cow trudging along the sand roaming and looking for anything edible to eat. There are also juice stands near the southern part of the main strand selling various juices such as mango, melon, coconut, baobab, orange and grapefruit.

Sundays is the main day when local Gambians come to the strand to relax with their families or play a bit of football or volleyball.



GENERAL AREA:
Not only is the district's shore area a tourist magnet it is also an exclusive residential location which has a large number of people from the diplomatic community, such as Britain's diplomatic residence, 'Admiralty House', well-to-do businessmen, politicians and some well established family compounds. The vast majority of these homes are within the triangle formed by the Kofi Annan Street, the Old Cape Road and Capepoint Road.

At the tourist centre is the tourist craft market, several bureau de change, mini-markets, some bars and restaurants and green tourist taxis; all accompanied by a high level of security provided by security guards and official paramilitary police. This makes the general locality the safest place to live or go on holiday. Furthermore, the water and electricity supplies are more stable here and you are less likely to experience power outages.

A LITTLE HISTORY:
Ocean Bay HotelThe promontory was 'discovered' by Portuguese navigators of this part of West Africa in the 15th century, and they named it 'Cabo de Santa Maria' (Cape of Saint Mary). The name overflowed to the nearby island when the British established the capital Bathurst (now Banjul). It was part of 'British Kombo' in the mid 1800s.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
 Birdwatching
The most fruitful areas for birdwatching are around Cape Creek, which is traversed by the Old Cape Road southeast of Bakau, and Sting Corner, at the intersection of Sait Matty Road and the Serrekunda to Banjul Highway. The road that cuts through the creek is a pleasurable stroll at any time of day during the winter season, going past a thinly wooded area of baobab trees, oil palm trees, tamarisk, tall grasses and rhun palms. The Creek is surrounded by swamp mangroves and brackish mudflats; this sector produces sightings of many bird species such as parakeets, marsh harriers, blue-bellied rollers, gull-billed and Caspian terns, blue-cheeked bee-eaters, black kites, blue-breasted kingfishers and starlings; while the mudflats are frequented by birds such as the Senegal thick-knees and spur-winged plovers. In the creek you may see fish-eating birds such as ospreys, reef herons, pied kingfishers, long-tailed shags and red-chested swallows.

Red chested swallow

While on route from Bakau to Sting Corner via Sait Matty Road you will see the vegetable gardens tended to by the Bakau Women's Cooperative, and, especially in the rice growing season, this is an excellent place to spot cattle egrets, lily-trotters and squacco herons.

 Crocodile Pool
The lagoon was  initially cut into the sands by the ocean and is in front of the Calypso Restaurant. The lagoon was then expanded and made more permanent when the Gambian owner of the diner found a few West African crocodiles had decided to make it their home. It is now partly lined with large laterite rocks and grasses, and has become a local tourist attraction for holidaymakers and locals alike.  In fact as you head south towards the creek there is an increased likelihood of seeing wild crocodiles among the vegetation.

 Craft Market
Called the Sunwing Tourist Craft Market it is located on a road island occupying half of one side. There are numbered shop units selling a variety of souvenirs such as batiks, tie & dye hangings, wooden carved masks, necklaces, drums, necklaces, shoes and trade beads. Nearby you can find women selling a variety of tropical fruits from their street side stalls.

 Horse Riding
It is possible to do some horseback riding on Cape Point's strand which are available from the Ocean Bay and Sunbeach hotels. Often you will find them exercising their horses up and down the beachfront; all you have to do is stop one of them and ask the price for a session.

 Botanical Gardens
Tropical palmsThe Bakau Botanical Garden is situated just after the end of the northern point of Atlantic Road and was established in the last decade the 19th century. The trees and shrubs are surrounded by a fence and is signposted on the main road. There is a walking track that works its way around the garden's labelled trees as well as a grass roofed shaded area to sit in and relax. It is at its most green towards the end of the monsoon season. There are also an assortment of bird species fluttering between the trees and you might be lucky to spot a bulbul or mannikin among others.
(Tel no: 7774482)

 Restaurants
Among the various restaurants in the area are the following:

Fan Fang Chinese Bar & Restaurant

Calypso Beach Bar & Restaurant

Sandplover Restaurant

Italian Connection

Sunshine Beach Bar

African Heritage Guesthouse

Frank's Hungarian (Tel no: 4497362)

HEALTH & SAFETY:
The Cape Point enclave is renowned for the high level of security and safety due to the presence of numerous security personnel working in the area.

TRAVEL INFORMATION:
Despite not being a major through route there are yellow (standard) and green tourist taxis constantly in the area around the Sunwing Craft Market to take you to the nightspots in places such as Kololi and Kotu.



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[Geographical coordinates 13 29' 21" N, 16 40' 09" W / Kombo North Saint Mary District (Ksmd, WCR)














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