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Friday, 03 July 2009

Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia

Written by Lies Ouwerkerk
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You may be picked up by motor boat from the capital of Gambia, Banjul, if the owner of Madiyana Safari Lodge happens to be in town. Though chances are you’ll have to find your way to this remote island by ferry, bush taxi, a pinasse boat, or perhaps … a donkey cart. Don’t let this discourage you; it will only add to your Robinson Crusoe experience!

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies Ouwerkerk

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkDon’t be deterred by the lack of electricity, running water or the basic grass hut accommodations either. The Madiyana Safari Lodge does not allow more than ten occupants at a time. What you’re giving up in conventional luxuries will be made up for in solitude and peace.

 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkAmenities that are provided include comfortable beds with mosquito nets (very important), annex make-shift "showers" (buckets, that is!). There is also a truly magnificent view of the Atlantic Ocean, the soothing sounds of rolling waves, and a veranda to enjoy the glorious starry nights.

 

 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies Ouwerkerk

A very imaginative chef conjures up the most delicious candlelight dinners which are served on a breezy outdoor lounge. The menu often features the catch of the day including Captain Fish, Jack Crevalle, and Large Guitar Fish. The entrée is followed by finger-licking deserts and fruit platters. For those interested in a night-cap, the bar is always well-stocked.

 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkAdding even more beauty to these pristine, isolated beaches, is a plethora of exotic birds. The island has both migratory and resident species, like the Senegalese Parrot which showed up on my veranda each morning. The lodge provides binoculars and bird encyclopedias for the eager bird spotter, which surprisingly became quite an addictive sport.

 

 

 

 

 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkThe welcoming, yet low-key staff will leave it up to you how you spend your time. You can go off alone, meditate or practice the art of doing nothing. However, if you prefer a more active trip, the staff will gladly organize a variety of activities for you such as fishing, beach biking, bush safaris, or village visits.

 


 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkThere are two villages on the Senegalese side of the island, and another two in The Gambia's most northern point. As you walk through the bush with your guide to each village, you’ll be amazed to see the extensive fields of marijuana plants. The fields are carefully tended to by most of the villagers, while the officials turn a blind eye, as it is their main source of income.

 

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies OuwerkerkEach village is distinct and there are plenty to explore. You can visit a local school, a “hospital”, or just spend time getting to know the locals. All the villagers we met were friendly and seemed genuinely excited to have visitors.

 

The Gambia's main language is English, in contrast to the majority of West African countries where French is spoken. The Gambians also speak a several tribal languages.

 

While the West African franc (CFA) is used in most surrounding countries, the currency of The Gambia is the Dalasi (GMD).

Madiyana Safari Lodge, Janick Island: an Unspoilt Paradise in Gambia, travel Gambia, Banjul, Lies Ouwerkerk

For more information on how to get to Jinack Island or for reservations contact Paradise Tours at www.paradiseisland-gambia.com or Hidden Gambia at www.hiddengambia.com .

 

 

Lies Ouwerkerk

 

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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