Village and Gunjur beach resort, are in the Kombo South
District, of the West Coast Region, in the southwest
strip of The Gambia, in West Africa. It has an estimated
population of 27,000 made up of mostly Mandinka, Jola,
Fula, Manjago, Balanta, Karoninka and other ethnic
groups, mainly employed in artisanal fisheries and
farming. The settlement is 10 kilometres from Sanyang
and 39 kilometres by road from the capital of Banjul.
About 3km from the main town, and on the coast, is the
bustling fishing village with its fish smoking houses
and rows of multi-coloured African pirogues. North of
the fish centre the beaches
are excellent for miles.
the locality's relative remoteness it has a respectable
selection of good quality seafront resorts and inland
travellers' lodgings. If you really want peace and quiet
then go for the coastal hotels
& lodges such as Nemasu Eco-Lodge, a unique
and Earthy retreat, combining traditional and modern
in 8 huts, a clean place on the sands. The Footsteps
Eco-Lodge is set some distance from the beach but
has a natural swimming pool and well honed services
with 9 huts. There is also the Gunjur
Project Lodge with its 8 chalets. All the above
have ensuite bathing and WC. This part of Gambia is
great for camping backpackers.
seafront area of Gunjur resort is, at most times, gloriously
deserted, save for the odd passing cow and the occasional
The strand is less geared to tourist than
some of the northern holiday resorts
and there are a few dotted beach bars and lodges nestled
on the edge of huge rhun palm clusters and shoreline
bush. Pristine yellowish sand sweeps the edges of broad
bays, presenting impressive views into the distant shoreline,
and the sunsets are magnificent. In terms of natural
beauty, this region's seafront perhaps only comes second
located further north.
village is a tranquil, sleepy quarter, with dirt
roads and simple block-work abodes topped with corrugated
sheets. The community is well served with good paved
road connections along the coast and a highway leading
up to Brikama town; the
taxi rank is located in the edge of town. There are
a few stores, diners and a couple of mini-markets in
town and the village is now connected to the water and
Outside the settlement are large and small farm field
holdings, woodland scrub, some forest and dotted with
a few private residential homes. Between the main village
and the Atlantic Ocean is thick tropical palm forest,
dry woodland, coastal scrub, mangroves, a coastal lagoon,
baobab trees, acacia and cashew orchards riddled with
There are various NGOs
working in the rural and urban community such as the
Trust Agency For Rural Development
the Gunjur Environmental Protection
& Development Group (GEPADG),
and the Marlborough Brandt Group (the village is twinned
with the town of Marlborough in UK).
Founding Family History:
history suggests that the first people to settle
in Gunjur were the Sanyang family who are Bianunkas
of the Biyaro tribe. It is said they established a small
settlement close to an Atlantic coastal lagoon called
Bolong Fenyo. According
to a colonial commissioner's note of 1941, the village
was founded by the Darboe family, who were pagans who
migrated from Manding (Mali) hundreds of years ago and
obtained permission from the kings of Brikama
to make this area of land their home. Their site was
nearer to the sea than the present village in what is
today known as Senga Forest. Some time later they were
joined by the Tourays from Futa Toro, and the Sahos.
Tourist Attractions & Things
the largest fisheries
centre in Gambia, at Bator Sateh, at the end of the
Beach Road, is one of the best ways to experience vibrant
village life. In what would appear to be smoke-filled
organised chaos at the harbour, you can see brightly
painted, multi-coloured African longboats heave, sway
and surge on the often threatening Atlantic Ocean waves.
Women sometimes wade in shoulder high to collect the
catch in wide plastic buckets on their heads. Once the
pirogues are on shore they are then manually hauled
in on chunky wooden rollers to the shouts of fishery
workers. The fish catch, often bonga, is traded by fishmongers,
sometimes gutted and washed, then dried, frozen or smoked
in dim, hazy, rusting sheds and pungent cold stores,
while fishing nets are mended and pirogue hull breaches
repaired. Most of the fishermen are Senegalese, many
of whom live in the town.
• Gunjur Village
in Babilon, the initiative to build the Cultural Heritage
came from Lamin Bojang in 2008, while working at the
Footsteps Eco-Lodge. The small museum, which is now
registered with National Centre for Arts and Culture
(NCAC), aims to preserve the areas oral historical accounts,
culture and artifacts. Among the ancient and more modern
pieces on exhibit are intricately carved human
figurines, wooden stools and bowls, carved wooden masks,
decorated bino horns, clay water containers, hot press
irons, metal cooking pots, musical instruments like
the Kora and Balafon.
[Email: email@example.com - Tel no: +220 643 6637]
• Koofung Private
to the west of the Kombo Coastal Road this is a small
nature reserve where you can see various bird species
and animals such as green vervet monkeys and other wildlife.
• Bolong Fenyo
Community Wildlife Reserve
The 345 hectares of protected coastal and marine park
Fenyo is managed by the Gunjur Environmental Protection
& Development Group (GEPADG
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel no: 8800986 / 4486001). You
can contact them for a tour of the wildlife park, and
gain some good community insights into how it combines
the preservation of the area's delicate biodiversity
to local job creation, and can organise cultural dance
performances and food. For birdwatchers,
their focus of interest would be the coastal lagoon,
a site that draws in over 75 recorded bird species (some
claim to have seen 119), including Double-banded Sandgrouse,
Green Crombec and Little Crake. There are also reptiles,
snakes, mammals and invertebrates such as humpback dolphins
and green turtles.
Visitors to Gunjur who fancy doing a bit of bird
watching can find numerous bird species in variable
habitats. Among these are the African
Spoonbill, Hybrid Red Bellied X African Paradise Flycatcher,
Red-billed Firefinch, Lavender Waxbill, Brown Babbler,
Vinaceous Dove, Pied-winged Swallow, Common Bulbul,
Abyssinian Roller, Bronze mannikin, Spur-winged Lapwing,
Western Red-billed Hornbill, Village Weaver, African
Pygmy Kingfisher, Black Heron, Western Grey Plantain-eater,
Wire-tailed Swallow, Black-winged Red Bishop, Piapiac,
Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Laughing Dove, Spur-winged
Plover, Senegal Firefinch, Striped Kingfisher, Variable
Sunbird, Western Bluebill, African Thrush, Black-necked
Weaver, Grey-headed Gull, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Snowy-crowned
Robin-Chat, Blue-bellied roller, Senegal Parrot, Western
Bluebill and Purple Glossy Starling.
can be quite rewarding among the Gunjur coastline's
shallow reefs, sandy bays and rocky outcrops. With the
right rod and tackle you might snag Barracuda, Catfish,
Guitarfish (Shovel-nosed Rays), Captain Fish, Butterfish,
Stingrays, various Croakers, and Red or Guinean snappers
from the seafront. Shore fishing is good throughout
the year, at high or low tide.
Bay' has been deemed suitable for all levels of surfers
by wannasurf.com. Waves have an estimated swell size
of 1m / 3ft and holds up to 2m+ / 6ft+ and a frequency
of 150 days a year, with a good day length of 50 to
150m. The bay is located south of the coastal fish landing
site, between Bator Sateh and Gunjar Madina.
• Holy Site
1km from Gunjur's main fishing centre is a sacred
site called the Sand Dune Mosque, or Kenye-Kenye
Jamango ('Mosque soil' in Mandinka), which overlooks
a spectacular sweep of beachfront from a high dune.
Made famous by a visit here by the much revered Sheikh
Umar Futiu Taal in the late 1830s. He had thousands
of loyal followers and had imposed his authority from
Senegal to Nigeria. The palm-frond mosque, and associated
grounds, such as rocks and buildings are all considered
sacred, and some pilgrims have been known to stay for
up to one year here. A half mile south of here is Tengworo
('6 Palm Trees') where recently circumcised boys are
bathed. North of Kenye-Kenye is Nyanitama-Dibindinto,
a holy place of prayer where
infertile women make offerings in the hope of conceiving.
If you want to visit any of these sacred places you
should be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide.
Note that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque.
Health & Safety:
staying in the rural area beware of animal as well as
possible human risks. There are a few poisonous snakes
in the bushy areas such as cobra, therefore it's advisable
to always wear boots when trekking in the scrub. During
the evenings it's best to stay within close proximity
of your lodgings, and if you have to go some distance
then to only go out at night by car and accompanied.
If you are camping on
the beach or remote locality, then do be aware of your
when on the coast at night. Use the services of a tourist
guide and get advise from one of the local organisations.
Finally, don't drink
water straight from the tap. Drink purified water,
use a portable water filter or sterilizations tablets.
If possible bring along plenty of insect repellent,
preferred toiletries and sun block cream.
can be reached by taking one of the yellow normal taxis
or one of the four wheel drive green tourist taxis from
the northerly resorts of
Kololi and Kotu, and travelling south along the Kombo
Coastal Road, it is about 10 km after Sanyang.
To get back to your hotel go to the taxi rank on the
outskirts of the village, and consider taking a shared
bush taxi (van) all the way
to Brusubi, then take
a cab from there. This last trip can be reversed making
it the cheapest option of travel.
If you are visiting this area then do pack plenty of
your most essential supplies. There are some mini-markets
now open in town.
[Geographical coordinates 13.1833° N, 16.7667°
W / Kombo South, Western Region]