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The Tanji Village Museum is The Gambia's first privately operated museum, and was set up in 1997 by Mr. Abdoulie Bayo, a former curator at the National Museum in Banjul. It is located 32km from the capital of Banjul, about 2km south of the the fishing village, and lies along the Kombo Coastal Road. The various structures that hold the ethnographic exhibits, such as tribal artifacts, a photo gallery of the vegetation and birds of The Gambia, are inside African style round huts.

This is a tourist attraction that has been set up to be more akin to an African hamlet - a 'living museum' of sorts.  The centrepiece of the various exhibits is a reconstruction of a traditional Mandinka compound, depicting how they lived over 100 years ago. It consists of a few round-houses that hold a carefully chosen selection of artefacts and traditional furniture, such as wooden beds, stools, spears, hats and horse hair fly swatters.

The compound's thatched huts are shown divided into a men's and women's sections, reflecting villagers' traditional roles. There are also farming implements, a seed store, kitchen, cooking utensils, such large wooden mortar and pestle, large calabash containers, and a livestock house.  You can view the 'Natural History Gallery' of bird and fish prints; dyes, nets, horns and maps; seashells, snakeskins, turtle shells, a circumcision face mask, and a box of bugs. There is also a fine selection of traditional musical instruments, including Koras, Djembe drums, Balafon etc., and on-site performers show visitors how these are played. They can often be heard playing in the background during your meal in the restaurant or Bantaba picnic area.

A quiet nature trail, filled with trees, herbs and shrubs tells you about The Gambia's fauna and flora, as birdsong can be heard overhead in numerous indigenous trees. A flyer indicates and describes all the vegetation, explaining their traditional uses, whether it's for construction materials, food or medicine. Further along the track you can observe craftsmen, such as woodcarvers making masks and drums, blacksmiths making tools, knives and African jewellery, using hand-pumped bellows, and weavers producing lengths of cotton cloth on hand-looms. You also get the chance to buy souvenir handicrafts and DVDs  from their store.

The complex and exhibits are divided into four parts:
Ethnographic and Natural History Gallery;
Traditional Crafts - Weaving, Smithery etc.;
Traditional Gambian Compound;
Nature Trail & Vegetation.

At the back of the complex there are several huts, each with one or two beds, mosquito net over 'traditional' concrete beds, with a foam mattress, shower room with sink and toilet.

To get to the Tanji from the Kololi or Kotu resorts you take one of the taxis southbound until Brusubi, then turn southwest, past Brufut, Ghana Town, and onto the bridge which marks the start of the rural settlement. You then go 2km further south and the complex is on your left-hand side.

Monday to Sunday (7 days a week) 9am to 5pm. The entry fee is about 2.

Tanje Village Museum
Kombo South District
West Coast Region
P.O. Box 1562, Banjul
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 9926618
            +220 7057045


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[Geographical coordinates 13.3500 N, 16.7833 W / Kombo South, Western Region]

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