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About Banjul

Something a little different now - the capital of Gambia, Banjul, is a maiden call for P&O Cruises. Lying at the mouth of the winding Gambia River, the island is connected to the mainland by several bridges. American novelist Alex Haley wrote about the slave trade in this region in his book 'Roots' and the main character, Kunta Kinte, conveyed the suffering experienced by so many Africans. Today you can visit Kunta Kinteh Island, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, to learn more about the trade and its abolition. Just a few miles outside the city, hippos wallow, hyenas snigger and monkeys screech in the region's nature reserves.

 

Shore excursions in Banjul

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Abuko Nature Reserve

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

Learn about the conservation of Gambian wildlife, on a guided walk around the Abuko Nature Reserve.

The Abuko Nature Reserve could be described as a jungle in the middle of the savanna, so it’s a pretty unusual sight in Africa! It was the first nature reserve to be established in The Gambia, and today it’s the most visited attraction in the country.

On arrival, your guide will introduce you to life on the reserve. Here, in the animals’ kingdom, some of the creatures are free to roam around, whilst others are confined to certain areas. During the guided walk you may catch a glimpse of crocodiles, monkeys, hyenas, antelope and lizards among the residents. Remember to look up as well though; an estimated 250 species of exotic birdlife has been recorded as living within the forest gallery.

Return from this nature experience with a much greater understanding of The Gambia’s efforts to protect and conserve the environment, and what lives within it.

Essential information

This tour operates by coach and on foot.There is approximately 1 ½ hours of walking on this tour. Please bring along your Cameras, Sun glasses, Sun Creams, hats, Insect repellents, Covered Shoes, long Trousers and Water. Passengers are advised that ground within the Reserve is uneven. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes are recommended. Please note that the animals do not all roam freely, they are all part of an ongoing conservation programme, and some are housed and caged. Sightings of wildlife are not guaranteed.

African Highlife Evening Show

Activity mediumRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 3½ hours

A great introduction to the culture and traditions of The Gambia.

It’s just a short minibus ride to the Ebujan Theatre, where your hosts for the evening will greet you with a welcome drink. Follow your guide on a brief tour of the theatre and admire the exhibition of artwork, by one of the country’s finest artists, Njogu.

Take your seat and settle down for the evening. You’ll be entertained by the performance of a traditional play. Portraying the story of Gambian history, this will give you a true insight into the unique and vibrant culture and traditions of this West African region.

During the interval light refreshments will be offered, before it’s time for the grand finale - an upbeat performance of farewell drumming and dancing. Get your dancing shoes at the ready though, you may well find that you’re tempted to join in!

Essential information

This tour operates by minibus.There is very little walking on this tour, however passengers must be able to negotiate the steps onto the bus

Banjul Highlights

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 4¼ hours

Discover the diversity of The Gambia in half a day, on this multi-highlight tour.

A learning experience awaits you at the National Museum in Banjul. Housing 3 floors of exhibits, you can discover the country’s political and cultural history, understand its musical heritage and study photographic archives that detail over 70 years of Gambian life.

A short drive through the city brings you to Banjul’s general market, where you’ll truly experience a taste of African life. Expect an explosion of unusual sights, sounds, smells, noise and colour. Witness the hive of activity and observe how the locals buy and sell anything from live chickens to herbs and vegetables and even wigs!

Continue to the bustling market town of Serre-Kunda, to visit a well-known Batik Factory. Observe the art of tie-dye and batik making, from the initial design to the waxing and boiling process, through to the finished article.

At the coastal resort of Bakau you’ll stop at a local bar before heading to the craft market for a spot of souvenir shopping. The town is also home to one of the most famous tourist spots in the country, the Kachikally Crocodile Pool. The site is the subject of many local legends; the pool itself is said to be sacred and it’s believed that some of the residents even have mystical powers! Here you can meet the crocs, visit the small museum, or take a stroll along a nature trail housed within a mini-forest.

In just a few hours you’ll return to the ship having gained a glimpse of the diversity of Gambian life.

Essential information

This tour operates by mini-bus and on foot. by Photography is not permitted in the Museum. There is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour, as well as some inclines to negotiate. Crowds and queues are to be expected at the markets. Excursion itineraries are subject to deviation and order of sights may vary, to avoid delays. Passengers are reminded that they should keep their valuables close to them at all times and not engage in lengthy conversations with street vendors.

Lazy Day Cruise

Activity lowMeal included

Duration: 6½ hours

Cruise the Gambian waterways and explore the scenery, wildlife and local lifestyle.

The river that shares its name with the country dominates The Gambia, running right through its very heart. Within the region of the Tanbi Wetlands, the banks of Oyster Creek are fringed with dense mangrove swamps, interconnected by a meandering maze of saltwater bolongs (tributaries).

Embark your riverboat, where you’ll be welcomed aboard with a cup of tea or coffee - a tot of brandy is optional! Find your spot and prepare yourself for a relaxing journey.

Your boat will travel through the mangrove sandwiched waterways, where time seems to stand still. With a bucks fizz in hand, look out for scenes of local life; women fishing for oysters from dugout canoes and fishermen casting their huge nets. Listen and watch out for an array of tropical birds that call the waterways home, as you admire the vibrant colour of their lush habitat.

The boat will anchor at a secluded spot, to allow you the chance to take a refreshing swim, before a delicious buffet style lunch is served.

To complete your lazy day on the waterways, you might like to try your hand at a spot of fishing before you head back to Banjul, where you’ll be met for the return transfer to the ship.

Essential information

This tour operates by boat.Passengers must be able walk approximately 400 yards to reach the river boats and to negotiate the gangway onto and off the boats. Many of the riverboats used have 2 or 3 decks and are local boats without elevators. Please wear a swimsuit under your clothes and remember to bring sun protection, hats, insect repellent and a towel.

Roots

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 8 hours

Embark on a memorable journey ‘up river’ to the land of the epic novel and TV series ‘Roots’.

Roots: The Saga of an American Family was a book written by Alex Haley that was televised in the 1970’s. The story re-captures the history of the author’s family and traces his ‘roots’ back to his great-great-great-great-grandfather ‘Kunte Kinte’, who resided in the village of Juffure in West Africa.

Depart Banjul by boat, for a relaxing cruise to the ancient trading station of Albreda, located on the north bank of the River Gambia. Nearby is Jeffure village, where the Museum of Slavery will allow you an insight into the effects of the slave trade in West Africa. Afterwards, there’ll be time to walk around the village and meet the Chief, before heading to the original home of Alex Hayley’s descendants, still occupied by the family today! Before leaving, you’ll also have the opportunity to browse the local craft market for souvenirs.

Back on board the boat a delicious buffet lunch will be served before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of James Island. Here you’ll transfer into a pirogue (a small canoe type boat) for the short journey to the shore. This was the last piece of African soil that many slaves saw before they were forced to board the slave ships bound for the Americas. Although the island was abandoned in the 1830’s, the ruins of colonialism and slavery can still be seen here today, including caves and prisons along with military cannons.

Following your visit, you will re-join the boat for the return journey to Banjul.

Essential information

This tour operates by boat , mini-bus and on foot.There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour. Please bring along your Cameras, Sun glasses, Sun Creams, hats, Insect repellents, Covered Shoes, long Trousers and Water. The boat is very basic and does not have air conditioning. The seating on deck consists of plastic chairs that are not bolted to the floor, please use caution when moving around. When disembarking the boat into the canoes passengers will need to bend and step over seating.

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