Janjanbureh is in the interior of the Gambia, and is located inside an island with the same name; therefore, the town and the Janjanbureh Island in the Gambia share denomination. The island lies within the River Gambia , in the Central Region of the country, about 300 km from the capital of Banjul.
Although it is relatively close to the coast, visiting Janjanbureh is quite an adventure. The access roads, one by the north of the river and the other by the south of it, are in good condition, but also the journey takes time. The road is shared with other means of transport, animals, walkers … the rhythm is slow.
You have to enjoy the trip and feel the present … perceive the natural and human landscape that offers us to travel to African rhythm … without haste. No rush kills.
The island of Janjanbureh has 20 square kilometers of area, 10 km long and 1.5 km wide. The island is accessed by a bridge from the south shore, and small ferries from the north shore.
Janjanbureh, a little history
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the island was called Lemaine by European merchants, who maintained temporary trading stations there.
They used the island as a slave-gathering area, pending shipment to slave markets abroad.
Formerly, the river was used to reach the coast. The prevailing means of transport was navigation through the River Gambia.
The King of Lower Niani, Kolli Camara yielded the island to Great Britain in 1823.
In this way the British colonial settlement took place. Lemaine Island was renamed MacCarthy Island by Governor Sir Charles MacCarthy and the town was named Georgetown.
In 1995, both the Town of Georgetown and MacCarthy Island were renamed Janjanbureh respectively. Sometimes, it is still called by its old name.
Places of interest on Janjanbureh Island in The Gambia
The town of Janjanbureh is a port town and is located on the north side of the island. It has a Methodist Church inaugurated in 1835 (it is said to be the oldest Methodist Church in sub-Saharan Africa). There are some historic buildings in the town that speak of their colonial past.
As a reminder of the slave trade, The Tree of Liberty is in a small park. This elephant tree was planted after the British banned slavery in 1807.
There is a natural reserve area, Forest Park. 142 hectares of magnificent fluvial forest, of palms and hard wood, with numerous species of monkeys, birds and reptiles. From the bird watching platform, you can spot birds such as eagles and vultures, among others. Along the riverbank you can see crocodiles sunbathing.
Another interesting option is to take a boat trip on the river. In the river area near the island of Janjanbureh, excursions are made to see hippos … if lucky, because they are not easy to see. If they feel threatened they are dangerous. You have to approach stealthily so as not to scare them !!!!
Undoubtedly, a simple and extraordinary place at the same time … Janjanbureh offers nature and pure life in the river Gambia .