The small Gambian village of Juffure (aka spelt Juffureh) became famous in the 1970s
following the television
release of the bestselling book, "Roots",
written by the African-American author Alex Haley,
a descendant of Kunta Kinte. The series told the story of
Kinte's capture in Juffure by slave traders and his subsequent enslavement in America round 200
According to local oral history the founder of
Juffure was a man by the name of Samba Taal.
When he migrated to The Gambia to settle down in the early part of the
1500s he found the Portuguese were already there.
After 1661 the local economy of Juffure was closely linked
to those of James Island.
Due to the good relations between the colonialists and the
local Mandingos the Niumi 'king'
gave the British, under Major
Robert Holmes, permission to dig a water well, create
gardens and a trading post at 'Gilliflee', 'Jithrey' or 'Jillifrey'.
African Company's employees and slaves lived there on
a continuous basis and it was used as a back-up whenever the
nearby fort was rendered uninhabitable.
Both Juffure Village
(Latitude: 13.339°, longitude. -16.37°, altitude 25 metres) and Albreda (aka Albadarr) are
30km upstream in the Upper Niumi District, Western Region (see
map) of the
Gambia River and lie just 500
metres apart on the river bank (both have now physically merged).
Juffure has a population estimate of 5,800 They
are Serer &
Mandinka tribal villages which have since
the mid-seventies been the main tourist destination for Roots Heritage
Tours. Both are located in the Niumi District of the north bank
of the river. Very close to both villages is
(which is the colonial period ruins of a slavery station)
and the 'Portuguese chapel' of San Domingo
which later came to be known as Sandi Munko Joyo. Nearby there are also the
old ruins of Maurel Freres and the CFAO trading
village can easily be reached from Banjul and continues to draw in the
tourists though now to a lesser extent.
Another place worth
visiting is the tranquil village community of Albreda which is only 500 metres from Juffure and is
home to the Slavery Museum
opened in 1996 in the Maurel Fréres building
which was built by the British in the 1840's. Here you will
find some historical artifacts of enslavement on display such as chain neck-locks,
foot-locks, yokes, Kissi pennies & Bronze Manillas as well as a
comprehensive historical testament to the diabolical trade in 'Black
Ivory' which shows
that 10% to 20% of people died on the so called 'Voyage of No Return'. Another attraction that tourists
come to see in Albreda are the ruins of the 'factory' - a
fortified slaving station built by the French in the late 17th
Not far is a shop selling some of the finest batik in the country. While there take
an opportunity to visit Kunta Kinte's family relatives such as
Binta Kinte, the widow of the
griot Fofana who narrated the story of
Kunta Kinte to Alex Haley. And there is of course the ubiquitous local tourist
To get to
Juffureh you can either go by organised boat trips (many boats are for
private hire at Banjul's Denton Bridge) with a "Roots"
tour operator or take a
ferry crossing from Banjul to
Barra then proceed by
Places to Visit:
Museum at Juffure
National Museum of the North Bank
Places to Eat:
Rising Sun Restaurant
Nearest places to stay:
Kunta Kinte Roots Camp
Juffureh Rest House Tel: 9955736
Home At Last Motel Tel:
There is a new 5 star hotel being planned.