Postcards from The Gambia – Favourite Destinations Photo Series

The Gambia was only recently visited and instantly became a favourite destination. The reasons are numerous, it is the smallest country on the African mainland with a culture which is very different to our own. It provides a great opportunity to take some candid photographs of Africa.

Photographs of Africa; Repairing the nets amongst the pirogues on the beach near Tanji market in The Gambia, west Africa on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-36 gambia_pirogues

Beachside repairs at Tanji market

It is a diverse country. There are long, sandy beaches where fishermen with hand thrown nets struggle through powerful waves to catch dinner for their families or pirogues battle beyond the breakers to bring home a catch suitable for selling at the markets. Thousands of oysters attach themselves to the roots of the many trees which line the mangrove swamps, providing a home to an abundance of birdlife. A variety of egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants and dozens of other species including pelicans make it a popular destination for birdwatchers from all over the world.

Photographs of Africa; A tree climber trims a palm tree in the west African country of The Gambia on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-42 tree_climber

A palm tree climber at Ngala Lodge

Photographs of Africa; Fisherman returning home, passing Mandina Lodges in the Makasutu Forest in The Gambia on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-2

Homecoming in the mangrove

Mischievious baboons freely roam through the woods and townships like gangs of delinquent teenagers searching for food and the chance to cause a little trouble.

Photographs of Africa; Colourfully dressed woman market stallholder in Tanji market in The Gambia on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-37 gambian_woman

Colourful stallholder at Tanji market

The cities always seem busy, bustling streets where cars, motorcycles, donkey drawn carts, rickshaws and pedestrians come at the unsuspecting from all angles. Street hawkers offer their services as guides often ignoring the fact that there is already an official guide present.

It is often not pretty, barefoot children play in the backstreets, kicking well worn footballs around the uneven surface of the roads. Effluence freely flows down the perimeter like small brooks and garbage is often commonplace.

Photographs of Africa; Children playing in the backstreets of Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia, west Africa on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-40 children_gambia

Shy children

There are several busy markets, all of which can be manic. Colourfully dressed women browse the stalls searching for the best cuts of meat, freshest fish and ripest fruit and vegetables for their families dinner. There seldom appears to be a single foot of spare space available, women sell fruit from baskets on the floor while men fillet huge six foot long barracuda in front of their customers on trestle style tables.

Cats pick through fish remains and even the contents of nets freshly turned out onto the sand, the fishermen seem remarkably tolerant of the feline scavengers. The curious sight of sheep picking through the garbage of the beachside Tanji market seemed bizarrely natural.

The roads out of the city are lined with ramshackle buildings with men generally sat doing nothing much. The exception are the shops and workshops where a number of men can often be seen doing roadside vehicle repairs or sometimes construction work.

Further afield in the outlying villages, the buildings can appear even more rundown. Solar lighting is provided for the fortunate, water comes from wells, barefoot children play and chase vehicles while hens and other livestock roam freely between the houses.

Tourism is increasing in The Gambia, it is benefitting from the Arab Spring, however it is not the sanitised kind found elsewhere. It is a safe destination, the people are friendly, there are also good restaurants and even luxurious hotels available but ultimately it is the raw culture of the country which appeals most.

Photographs of Africa; The bustling Tanji market in the west African country of The Gambia on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-300-39 tanji_market

Tanji market

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Comments 9

  1. Elizabeth Manneh

    I really enjoyed seeing these photos of the Gambia, and reading about your experiences. I spend several months each year living in The Gambia, and I am always interested to find others who love it as much as I do.

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  2. Deb

    It’s difficult at times traveling through Africa. Lots of poverty and suffering and yet there is great beauty like what you have captured in these photographs. So colourful. I think I agree with you when you say ‘raw culture is what appeals most.’ This is something that draws me there. Thanks for sharing, I am looking forward to going one day soon.

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      Iain

      Thank you Deb, it’s always a pleasure to read a comment from you on my site 🙂 I’m glad you like the pics and pretty sure it won’t be too long before that talented husband of yours is capturing some images from The Gambia too.

  3. Spencer

    I went to the Gambia several years ago and absolutely loved it! The people were so friendly and the food was amazing. We also got a really nice hotel as well which helped. I wouldn’t mind going back there one day.

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      Iain

      I totally agree about the people and food Spencer and of course it’s always great to have a good hotel to return to each evening. I also hope to return, apparently the ‘Green Season’ when it is quiet but hot is a worthwhile time to visit.

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      Iain

      Thank you Sallie, a very special place, can’t wait to get back there. I’m glad you feel the post does it justice.

  4. ANJANA

    AS YOU SAID GAMBIA IS WELLY KNOWN FOR IT’S DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM & FOR THE WILDLIFE.GAMBIA MAY BE The SMALLEST COUNTRY ON CONTINENT BUT IT’S REALLY ATTRACTIVE & BEAUTIFUL TO VISIT THERE…

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