The Gambia, Africa - A journal from our May term student travelers!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

During the final week of the West Africa study abroad, the group traveled "upcountry" in the Gambia. We were definitely off the beaten path and had a chance to experience life without WIFI, electricity, and sometimes even running water.

It was a hot and trying week, but the students were tough and were able to enjoy seeing rare wildlife, including hippos, birds, monkeys, and even chimpanzees.

Photo of a malachite kingfisher.

Prior to leaving for upcountry, students had drum lessons on the beach at Bakau, then we traveled to the

After returning from upcountry, the students went to the capital city of Banjul, where they visited the 22 Arch and the national museum.

Christy Wolovich

 

Photo of students on a boat ride through the Gambia River National Park.

Photo of students among the Wassu stone circles.

Photo of students pointing out a gecko during a night hike in the Kiang West National Park.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

During the past week the West Africa trekkers have had a full schedule, visiting nature reserves and towns in Gambia and Senegal as we soaked up the ecology and culture of the area. Here are some highlights of the stops we made in the past week:

The students also presented their ideas for conservation projects to Gambian wildlife biologists during a Primate Conservation Workshop.

Christy Wolovich

 

Students walked with lions at Fathala Nature Reserve (Senegal).
Students walked with lions at Fathala Nature Reserve (Senegal).

Derek Crouch met with a 92-year old marabou in the Makasutu Culture Forest.  Makasutu means holy forest in mandinka.
Derek Crouch met with a 92-year old marabou in the Makasutu Culture Forest. Makasutu means holy forest in mandinka.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Photo of students arriving in the airport.

After an exhausting 24+ hours of traveling in cars, buses, trains, and planes, students finally arrived in the Gambia. They quickly learned that traveling in the Gambia is very different than in the United States. The Gambia is known as the smiling coast, and the students received a kind welcome at their hotel. During their first day in Africa, students participated in a Wolof language lesson in which they learned how to spell their names and how to greet locals. At their visit to Bijilo Forest park, a protected area adjacent to the beach, students had their first opportunity to observe monkeys, birds, and lizards.

In the upcoming days, students will visit other wildlife parks, an art village, and a sacred crocodile pool.

Christy Wolovich

 

Photo of students on a hike posing with a monkey.

Photo of the group.