small Gambian village of Juffure (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 Kunta Kinte's
capture in Juffure by slave traders and his subsequent
enslavement in America round 200 years ago.
has a population estimate of 5,800. Nearby is Albreda
village, both are Mandinka
and Serer tribal villages.
Since the mid-seventies this area has 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 James
Island (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 post.
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
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 craft market.
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'.
The Royal 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 of the Gambia
River and lie just 500 metres apart on the river
bank (both have now physically merged).
The village can easily be reached from Banjul and continues
to draw in the tourists though now to a lesser extent.
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
crossing from Banjul to Barra
then proceed by taxi.
Places to Visit:
Museum at Juffure
National Museum of the North Bank
Places to Eat:
Rising Sun Restaurant
Nearest places to stay:-
Jimbana Park Eco-lodge Tel: 770 7976
Kunta Kinte Roots Camp Tel: 9914508
Juffureh Rest House Tel: 9955736 / 4398439
Home At Last Motel Tel: 9926276