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Sanyang - Beach & Village Area
   
 
INTRODUCTION:
Sanyang Village and Sanyang Point beach resort are located in the Kombo South District in the West Coast Region in the southwest coastal area of The Gambia in West Africa. The old village is located 5km from the coast on the Kombo Coastal Road, and 31.54 km by road from capital of Banjul, and its estimated population of about 7,000 is comprised mostly of Mandinka, Wolof, Fula and Jola. The main economic activities here are farming and artisan fishing. There is a tarmac road that goes east from the centre of town, through Jambanjali (Jambanjelly) and Jalabang  and onwards to the district capital of Brikama town.

ACCOMMODATION:
Not far from the holiday beach resort and just off the 'How Ba Road' is Kobokoto Lodge, with 20 rooms in huts and the main building, each with ensuite shower and WC. The Guesthouse Gambia has 3 double rooms and shared bathing and kitchen facilities. It has a pool, barbecue and four acres of garden. There is the Sanyang Nature Camp which has 32 African style round huts with ensuite shower, WC, bar and restaurant, and a big nature garden. On the beachfront is the Rainbow Lodge, with African style round huts, ensuite bathing, toilet and diner with bar.

BEACH AREA:
The 4.8km wide curve of finely grained Pelican, Osprey and Paradise Beach (jointly known as Sanyang Beach), were already drawing tourists to the area when the adjacent settlements were still far off the tourist trail. It is considered by many to be one of the best beachfronts in The Gambia, and which seems to have escaped much of the earlier coastal erosion. South of the fish centre the seafront is at its most remote and deserted, backed by inland lagoons fringed with mangroves.

About half a kilometre to your left is the fish landing site. The easiest way to get to the palm tree fringed sands is by the wide How Ba Road, which starts at the village crossroads and leads almost directly to the shore. To get to the vibrant coastal fishing centre you take the Sanyang Fishing Village Road which leads you through residential areas, farmland, scrubland, wooded areas, a mangrove fringed lagoon and onto the fish centre on the shore. This section has a bustling fish market where you can see small cold stores, women busy gutting and cleaning catches, crabs and seagulls picking at scraps, fishermen mending their nets,  and dozens of colourful local and Senegalese pirogues.

Pirogues

During the tourist season and on Sundays throughout the year the main 'Paradise Beach' can get a little busy, but 250 metres further south it's a lot quieter. The strand has been described as "...a broad smooth sweep of firm sand backed by coconut palms..." (Rough Guide to West Africa, Trillo, 2008).

GENERAL AREA:
At Sanyang Village you will find the alkalo's residence, and in the centre a taxi rank lined with tired looking Gambian 'Gelle Gelle' taxi vans, tyre repairers, street vendors, barbers, shops and the market's vegetable stalls. Concrete block houses with corrugated roofs dominate, and between them are sandy roads overlooked by huge mango trees providing residents with much needed shade. Along the high street is where Brikama Area Council have a collection office where you can make payments for your annual property rates.  In 2006 villagers were grateful to be finally connected to the electricity grid, along with their own power station.

The best locations for nature and beach enthusiasts is between the main highway and the coast, in between is the sloping land area peppered with many hectares of woodland savanna with  lofty 'koni' palms, cashew, baobab trees,  casuarina, and further down are mangrove swamps, creeks, inland pools, dune swales and crop fields.

One of the earliest, large property developments in the region is the fenced, residential community at Aquasun Gardens with twelve, 3 bedroom, 2 storey villas with shared pool.

FOUNDING FAMILY HISTORY:
Oral history says that Sanyang Village was founded around 1918 by the Mandinka Bojang family, on what was mostly forested land. They were followed by other 'founding' families called Kore, Namba, Jabak and More Kunda who settled in nearby areas. The population continues to grow fairly rapidly as a result of migrants from southern Senegal, and people from the north west towns such as Serrekunda seeking to buy land on which to build houses.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
 Bird Watching
Sanyang is abundant in migratory and Gambian bird species due to its rich vegetation, variable habitat and wetlands. While birdwatching within the region you might be able to spot various raptors as well as African Paradise Flycatcher, Sanderling, Black Shouldered Kite, Turnstone, Hueglin's Masked Weavers, Ringed Plover, Bar Tail Godwit, African Palm Swift,  Grey Plover and Whimbrel.

The lagoons and creeks are thriving with birds including, Spur Winged Plover, Grey Headed Gull, Greenshank, Pied Kingfisher, Black Headed Heron, Caspian Tern, Ringed Plover, Cattle Egret, Lesser Black Back Gull, Long Tailed Cormorant and Intermediate Egret.

 Sports Fishing
The best areas for angling are in the ocean and along the streams and lagoons close to the shore. To get to the inland waters just make your way to the fishing village on the shore; just before the main sheds to your left, is a wetland with mangroves where you can find Catfish. While sea fishing you can expect to catch Bobo, Longneck and Cassava Croaker, Snapper, Mackerel, Bonga, Sunpat Grunt, Stingray, Butterfish, Captain Fish and Guitarfish. Going further out to sea by boat it's possible to catch Tarpon.

 Sanyang Fish Market
FishermenAt times a hectic spot where you will see up close vibrantly coloured Gambian pirogues parked on the shore. The air is full of the smell of fish and sea snails, and hoards of flies make their way from fish pile to fish pile, while men pull the heavy wooden pirogues onto shore. The market has three stores, as well as a special vegetable and meat market. Smoking, chilling and salting is carried out in the curing sheds at the rear. While there you can buy some unfrozen, fresh fish and sometimes crabs, lobsters and 'edible' sea snails (Cymbium).

 Nature Treks
With its well shaded footpaths and varying habitats there is plenty of wildlife, scrub and trees in the area.

 Beach Bars & Restaurants
During the winter holiday season you are likely to see a number of juice bar stalls dotted along the sands catering mostly to tourists. Most of the coastal bars in Sanyang were demolished in 2013 by orders of the Gambian authorities.

Black and White
Freeman's Place
Marcus's Beer Garden
Rainbow Bar - Tel: 9976806
Osprey Beach Bar & Restaurant - Tel no: 7775174

 Sanyang International Cultural Festival
Held each January, the first event was held between the 24th to 27th January, 2013, which had amongst its performers was the Kora player Jaliba Kuyateh. The festival is 4 days of contemporary and traditional world music, cultural dance,  a tourism fair, African cuisine, kid's games, arts and crafts, visiting historic places and sacred shrines. Some of the money generated goes to helping poor school children and improving school facilities.

HEALTH & SAFETY:
The area is more remote than the resorts north of Tanji and there is a lot of wilderness here. Daytime is fairly safe but at night do not go out unaccompanied. Use a vehicle in the evening if possible, otherwise stay close to your lodgings at night. Also carry your mobile phone and a pocket torch.

TRAVEL INFORMATION:
To get to Sanyang Village take one of the green tourist taxis at Banjul Airport and head southeast towards Brusubi. At Brusubi turn left and continue past Tanji, Batokunku, Tujering and other settlements until you get to the village junction. The other route is from the airport go south to Brikama, then directly west into the settlement's centre. See if your accommodation offers airport transfers as this is most advised.



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[Geographical coordinates 13 16' 47" N - 16 44' 25" W / Kombo South, Western Region (WCR)]















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