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.
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
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 & exhibits are
divided into four parts:
• Ethnographic and Natural History Gallery;
• Traditional Crafts - Weaving, Smithery etc.;
• Traditional Gambian Compound;
• Nature Trail &
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.
Travel Information & How To Get There:
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.
Contact Address Details:
Tanje Village Museum
Kombo South District
West Coast Region
P.O. Box 1562, Banjul
The Gambia, West Africa
Tel no: +220 9926618
[Geographical coordinates 13.3500° N, 16.7833°
W / Kombo South, Western Region]