Gambia small group tour
Description of Gambia small group tour
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThe Gambia is a developing nation whose economy is based on subsistence farming and tourism. It has one of the lowest per person carbon footprints of any nation in the world.
The fastest growing sector within the Gambia is eco-tourism, particularly visits which are away from the busier winter sun beaches and concentrate on travelling upriver to its wonderful national parks, river gallery forest and sustainably run lodges. Your visit to the Gambia adds value to these areas and helps encourage their conservation.
Almost nothing in the Gambia comes packaged, no doubt one of the reasons the Gambia has such a low carbon footprint. The little waste we do generate is disposed of as sensitively as possible.
Water Bottle re-use scheme
The Gambia is not short of water though sadly outside of the city it is unsuitable for drinking which means all drinking water is provided in bottles. In 2007 we solved this with our water bottle re-use scheme. It came to our notice that children would often come to us and ask for the empty bottles. Something that we would send for recycling or worse to the dump, was here in the Gambia a much sought after item. Often schools in rural areas have poor or non-existent drinking water supplies and the water bottles used by our group are donated to local schools to enable children to bring water with them. While for most of the world the indestructability of a water bottle has caused massive environmental concern, here in the Gambia those same qualities enable children to take clean water to school every day.
Food miles are almost zero - The Gambia is a land of subsistence farms, rice paddies, mango trees and carts pulled by horse and donkey. Meat is limited to free range chickens and fish caught by local fishermen. There is no refrigerated transport system in rural Gambia and our trips help support local producers by always using food which is available “on the spot” and freshly prepared.
In the Gambia, animals roam wild; vegetables are fenced in.
You will see these fenced-in areas, about the size of a football field scattered throughout the country. Many were initially founded by charities to increase nutritional diversity and it is here that Gambians grow exotic foods such as tomato, carrots and cabbage! These are nearly always irrigated using solar power from Gambia’s ample water table. For us, it means we can enjoy food that is sustainably produced and directly benefits the local economy.
Whilst we use a minibus which has a diesel engine (there is no other option in the Gambia) we believe that by joining a small group tour and sharing the travel we are reducing the impact of our tour as much as possible. Where we can remove the need for powered transport we have done so; our first excursion, a fabulous wildlife spotting short trip along the Allehein river takes place in several large canoes, paddled by local Gambians who double up as guides.
PeopleOur guide, Paul, engages local guides and drivers for the whole tour and this is particularly important in places where their expertise and local knowledge will enhance your experience including understanding the historical context of some locations, how to stay safe and respect the wildlife and on the environmental impact of your visit. Throughout the tour you will have many opportunities to engage with local people in ways that allow you to better understand how your visit can make a fair and respectful impact upon them and how you can learn from them
We are proud to stay at two full eco lodges (Boboi and Janhanbureh Camp). Fully sustainably run and powered by solar energy. Tendaba, our other camp, has a limited electricity supply available in the evening we encourage guests to charge items such as cameras and phones using the Solar panel and charger we bring with us. Sunshine in the Gambia is as close to a sure thing during the season we run our tours. Food at all eco lodges is locally sourced and often involves daily trips to the market by the chef - don’t be surprised if when sitting down for breakfast if you are asked what you would like for your evening meal!
Vegan & Vegetarian
Many Gambians eat vegetarian food daily, though most Gambians follow a pescatarian diet, only eating meat on special occasions and holidays. There is very limited access to dairy produce in the Gambia due to the lack of refrigeration so most meals are naturally vegan. One bit of warning, the peanut is the national crop of the Gambia and many meals are cooked with these. The Gambia is therefore not an ideal destination for those with a nut allergy. For those of us that love them, they are available from sellers at every road stop – along with fresh bananas, oranges and even water melon.
As a company we employ responsible policies such as recycling paper, ink cartridges, glass and cardboard; we minimise the use of electricity and conducting the vast majority of our correspondence and promotion via the internet and email, minimizing the amount of paper used for our activities. We also compost waste in our company garden.
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