YOUTUBE: River Gambia – source-sea 1044km African Odyssey ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

We can’t promote this beautiful tiny West African country enough – after all the turmoil The Gambia has experienced. In particular, recently. Following, is from our extensive archive of travels and adventures, in and around the country:

We did it! We completed the River Gambia Expedition23rd November 2012 – 21st January 2013 – after almost 400km overland in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry into Senegal and then putting our two canoes into the water in Kedougou – we paddled (no engine!) over 700km of the River Gambia to its end, at the Atlantic Ocean in Banjul, The Gambia.

During our travels, we bounced and rattled down the mountains of the Fouta Djallon on the back of motorcycle taxis; hung out with gold miners in Senegal; drank attayah tea with village chiefs and elders; dodged very angry hippos on the River Gambia; and, as we paddled on the increasingly widening ocean-like river, we battled the wind and waves, as we neared the Atlantic Ocean and the end of our journey…’ see more on the River Gambia Expedition blog

#LoveGambia

Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio

Co-expedition leaders/Photographers

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You may also be interested in ‘A Short Walk in the African Bush – 930km African odyssey‘. We walked around The Gambia, completely by foot – ‘bi tamala singo lah

'Silfando' Village chief, Herouna Tunkara and his horse ©Jason Florio
‘Silafando’ Village chief, Herouna Tunkara and his horse © Jason Florio

Boys Hanging out at King Kai’s Barber Shop, Kartong, The Gambia, West Africa

BOYS AT THE LOCAL BARBER SHOP KARTONG © HELEN JONES-FLORIO
BOYS AT KING KAI’S LOCAL BARBER SHOP KARTONG, THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA © HELEN JONES-FLORIO

 

We first met ‘King Kai’ – a young local entrepreneur from the village of Kartong (also known as Kartung), which borders Senegal, in southwestern Gambia – a few years ago, when he had recently opened his small barbershop/hairdresser, which also served the community with cold drinks and expertly hand-crafted (by King Kai, himself) models of traditional masquerades. Never one to rest on his laurels, when we returned a year or so later, KK had expanded his business empire to include an amusement arcade, to entertain the youth of the village – apparently, much to the consternation of the village elders and Koranic scholars, who felt this to be unIslamic behaviour for young boys.

To see more from our West Africa travels, please visit ‘River Gambia Expedition 1044kim source-sea African odyssey‘  and ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey

Helen Jones-Florio

 

Press: ‘River Gambia’ & ‘The Quad Squad’ – Arik Air ‘Wings’ Magazine 25th Issue

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Helen is on a mission! Quad-biking in The Gambia, West Africa, for Wings Magazine (Arik Air). Check the original story out here. Image © Jason Florio

 


 

On day five of paddling, on the River Gambia, in Senegal, a bull hippo sprung from beneath the surface, about 6 metres in front of our canoes. As we careened towards him, he submerged again. Once we calmed down (after scrambling to the safety of nearby rocks) and grew quiet, our Gambian expedition teammates, Abdou and Ebou, almost in tandem, said, “Wow, that was amazing, it’s the first hippo we have ever seen!” (this is after, whilst on pre- expedition planning skype calls, they had convinced us that ‘Hippos? No problem’)!’ River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey

 

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The village chief (‘Alkalo’) of Karantaba, Gambia, fishing in the River Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio, River Gambia Expedition with Helen Jones-Florio

 

Thanks to Wings Magazine /Arik Air – for re-featuring two of Florio’s images (pages: 50 & 78), from our West Africa adventures, in their celebratory 25th Issue.

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Visit Wings Magazine site here.