I was looking for a quick African adventure, and I was not disappointed. Bissau delivered on the feel of being on the edge of civilization.
When we landed we went straight to a hotel and we asked them what time the bus was going to leave. Online I’d heard it was sometime around 7, but something to do know about African buses is they leave when they are full. The hotel front desk encouraged us to be ready by 6am. Sure enough without asking for a wake up call, we got a call at 5:30am telling us to get ready to go and a car was ready and would take us to the bus. Before light the bus was nearly full of people. We got on the list and there was only 1 or 2 spots left. It took another 45 minutes to fill the last couple spots and to fill the top and side of the bus. This bus for about $10 USD would take us all the way to the capital of The Gambia including two border crossings as it would pass into southern Senegal before arriving in Banjul. Apparently there’s a bridge under construction so this route may end up being more efficient soon.
This young girl brought fresh cakes to sell. Very easy to get great snacks along the route.
Day 1: Arrive in Bissau – Explore Bissau, Guinea Bissau
Day 2: Depart for Banjul by Large bus arrive 4pm – Explore Senegambia
Day 3: Explore The Gambia: Banjul & Senegambia – Depart by Ferry then catch a smaller bush taxi or van toward the border (about 1 hour ride), then short 2Km ride to the bus stop to catch a ride to Dakar.
One of the great things about road trips in Africa is the various different markets you’ll see where the tribes and local villagers come together. Trade is one of the things that makes the world go round.
How many stores or commerce do you see in this photo?
I see no less than 4 different stores. The local industry is really thriving and people are very passionate about what they are selling. No need to give money away, you can help out the local economy by buying fresh bread, fruit, nuts, and getting a ride across town.
On the bus we made a lot of friends with the friendly people. The relatively short 6-7 hour bus ride cross from Portuguese speaking Guinea Bissau through French speaking Senegal to English speaking The Gambia. Many of the people also speak a couple of different tribal languages. Incredibly diverse.
When we arrived in the greater Banjul area we got some advice from our new friends to head toward Senegambia the beach area. Huge variety of food including local varieties and also European and even Thai varieties. I was trying to get some cultural experiences and local food.
The wild monkey fit the bill. We listened to local drumming and dancing while we had some vantastic local food.
Here the locals mix a spicy peanut sauce with a variety of meats
Local dish usually served with Rice known as Domoda
“Caramelized onions, chicken and tomato stock, and hot chili peppers are also added. Maggi bouillon cubes are readily available in many parts of Africa and are commonly used in African cooking, including this dish.
In The Gambia there are some great opportunities to see African Animals. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I was anxious to see the Chimpanzees of Chimp Island. There are apparently 3 islands that have over 75 individuals. It’s not easy to get to, so when I was offered a ride to a Chimp Reserve. Unfortunately the driver was mistaken and he instead took me to a place with Baboons. Not the same. If I had more time I would have tracked down the Stone Circles of Wassu which is a lot like the Stone Henge of Africa. There are a couple of UNESCO sites in The Gambia.
Sites of The Gambia
Sunset in Senegambia
Beautiful beach of Senegambia. These beaches are shared by the hotels and the fisherman.
China Aid is building a massive convention center. China has the most interesting agreements in injecting stimulus into so many countries in Africa. It blew me away the projects I saw in Ethiopia. Incredible.
Big variety of African birds
green vervet monkey
We bought a thing of natural peanuts to give to the troop of monkeys in a small reserve area. They are very use to humans.
There’s a monkey park with 3 different varieties of monkeys with a couple
The Monkeys are so amazing
I love the baby monkeys! So cute!
I do really love the monkeys. Such beautiful animals. So human like in their features.
Gateway to Banjul
The old city has seen better days, but it’s quite interesting to wander
My ticket from Banjul to Bara on the ferry. The cost was less than 1 US dollar.
Getting ready to unload the fascinating colors of The Gambian people with their loads get off the Ferry
Fisherman off the coast of Barra. These boats become an alternative method to getting around the port as well.
Cars last a lot longer in Africa. I’m sure this van had seen 1 million miles. The duck tape keeps it together. We stopped asking for AC and started trying to just make sure we got a window. One of the tricks to local overland travel in Western Africa is learning that for comfort you can simply buy more seats. Rather than simply trying to negotiate a private car which would have cost us 200-300 euro to get from Barra to Dakar, we instead took the local transport to the border for about $10 or less then negotiated buying seats next to us to give us more room. When we couldn’t do that in the vehicle that was ready to leave, they offered to put us in the next vehicle, and it was there that we’d negotiated 4 seats for the 2 of us, and since they considered 6 seats as full we simply needed to pay for 2 more and we were on our way for about $40 USD, saving us hundreds of dollars from a private taxi.
transportation in a lot of the smaller villages is still by donkey cart, but they go far for efficiency. It’s not unusual to see large groups on a cart.
The race to Dakar…
Spires of the mosque at sunset
The majestic beauty of the Baobabs. The locals have superstitions that keep them from cutting them down… which is fantastic. There are so many more for us to appreciate.
Interestingly along the way we saw another vehicle that was having issues, and we took half their passengers on in our vehicle. More the merrier.