Drive from UK to Janjanbureh!
27th - 30th May
12th - 23rd June
Barcelona to The Gambia
A 'rough' route -
Click on the maps to open up each stage
Mauritania to Senagalese border
Tangiers to Essaouria
A report from Jane Smith, Founder of Just Act Gambia
Written on my calendar for 23rd May is pencilled in “Visit from Dave?”
I have known Dave for several years now both in the UK and in The Gambia and always enjoy and benefit from his company. How did we meet? In October 2012 Dave was on his way to Ghana travelling through a variety of West African countries to get there, landing in Banjul airport, The Gambia to start his journey. Having stayed a time at the coast in Kartong he began his supposed long journey and travelled upriver staying overnight at Janjanbureh. He never travelled any further.
Settling there and setting up his social enterprise, Fair Play, Dave began to hear about Just Act Gambia and realised it reflected many of his own values and ideas. On return to the UK we met and we began to work together, Dave bringing in many innovative ideas and for a while he became Director of the charity.
Now living in The Gambia with his Gambian wife Anta and two sons, Dave is developing his business enterprises Fairplay Gambia River Cruises , all designed to support sustainable tourism and providing income for Gambians. I have particularly enjoyed watching the fruition of a developing plan for a traditional boat drawn on a scrappy piece of paper, whilst visiting About Time for the Kartong Festival in February 2015. The plan had started the day of the attempted coup, a few weeks before, Dec 29 2014.
“Sat on the highway towards Banjul having breakfast. Streets empty. Only the army and police out!” This has developed into the beautiful handcrafted 'The Fula Princess’.
He is a man who truly knows The Gambia and his background and qualifications in sustainable development means he supports The Gambia in the most positive manner. To find out more about his development of The Fula Princess go here to Facebook Fair Play Gambia https://www.facebook.com/fairplaygambia/
Over the last few years Dave has returned to his home in the UK to care for his ailing mother but on her death and the sale of the home, he decided the time was right to be based permanently in The Gambia and he would make several farewell visits to his friends throughout the country.
Sadly, that visit had to be scrubbed off my calendar.
Typical of Dave, responding to a possibility, his plans changed. Having had his trusty 20-year-old camper van pass its MOT, he suddenly decided that he could not bear to part with it. What better than to drive it to The Gambia ……… 18th May I receive a message
“I've just booked my ferry crossing Dover to Calais for the 27th! Woohoo - me and the van are off to Gambia” and in all he had to do, a visit to my area was not possible. And when you talk ‘camper van’ do not think of a conventional fitted one. Dave fitted this himself some years ago so he was not going to be travelling in luxury……..I recall him fitting a bed base and cleverly concealing a shower under it. But nothing deters Dave…….
Dave sought both a possible companion to share the journey with him and any advice from experienced travellers on The Gambia Tourism Forum. Advice came flooding in, both positive and grave warnings but no one was able to make that journey at such short notice. I knew of two people who could give real advice and indeed it proved particularly helpful at the most difficult time.
The publicity did provide him with one companion on the way for a short while, then another member of Just Act Gambia, Victoria Goodall , having JUST returned from months in India developing her love of permaculture, decided to join him in Spain and complete the journey to Janjanbureh with him.