14 days country adventure trek with orientation and training, 2 to 10 months project with optional months overlanding.
This is a sample itinerary which will be adapted to suit local conditions remember that this is Africa.
Day 1 - Arrival:
Fly to Banjul in The Gambia from Gatwick. Arrive in Banjul, West Africa, mid-afternoon, GMT time zone (same as UK), warm 28 degrees centigrade, with the tropical sunset at 19:00hrs. Your Volunteer Africa guide will `meet and greet'! Your Adventure begins. Travel with our guide, to the small fishing town of Tanji, south Banjul. Settle into your Lodge, walk along the beach, see the birds, enjoy a fresh fish dinner.
Day 2 - Training & Orientation Day:
Also, see the strikingly coloured pirogues which supply the fish market, enjoy traditional lunch. Visit the Tanji museum.
Day 3 - To the 'Roots' village:
Getting to know Africa. Cross the mighty River Gambia by ferry to Barra to follow the new North Bank road making a detour to see the villages of Juffreh and Albreda which set the scene for Alex Haley's story of the slave trade and his `Roots'. Stay overnight in a simple hotel having met the village people seen the slavery museum and visited Fort James on an island in The Gambia River.
Day 4 - To the Island of Georgetown:
To Kerewan for our journey to Georgetown. Janjanbureh Georgetown is on an island in the Gambia River and if the ferry is closed your guide will get it to re-open! Overnights at Bird Safari Camp with its delightful red bishops, sunbirds, weaver birds, kingfishers and owls.
Day 5 - Georgetown exploration:
This includes a visit to a family compound, a river trip in search of baboons, hippos and crocodiles. A visit to Africa's `Stone Henge' at Wassu Stone Circles. The historic old colonial town of Georgetown gives a fascinating look at history, whereas the island itself is a birdwatcher's paradise (Gambia is world famous for having 560 species of birds, often brightly coloured and they're in your hotel garden!).
Day 6 - Training and Orientation:
Day 7 - Basse:
To Basse Santa Su, exploration, and relaxation. See a traditional rural village.
Day 8 & 9 - To Senegal: Saloum Delta National Park
On the morning of day 8, we depart early for the drive back to border and on to Toubacouta to visit the Saolum Delta National Park, where we stay in one of Senegal's most beautiful areas, with mangrove walks, pirogue trip and bird watching all included. (It is a memorable place!)
Day 10 - To St. Louis
We trek north to the historic colonial capital of West Africa, St Louis, on an island in the Senegal River, accessed by a spectacular iron bridge, Pont Faidherbe, designed by Eiffel and erected here over a century ago. Indeed the ancient streets and buildings have barely changed in 100 years, and in 2000 St Louis was declared a World Heritage Site, because of its classic architecture and stunning location. St Louis is near the ocean and has terrific beaches and a busy fishing village. Two of Senegal's nature reserves are close by. The city itself has a wealth of historic buildings, a museum and an art gallery. St. Louis amazingly is noted for Jazz music. The old city has jazz clubs and bars, together with plenty of good restaurants. The Senegal River marks the boundary with Mauritania and the Sahara Desert.
Day 11 & 12 - St. Louis and its environment - Training & Orientation:
From days 10 to 12 some time will be taken up with the Volunteer Africa cultural orientation and training. There will be a historic guided walk and time to explore the old and new towns. The beaches are good for long walks, keeping fit and relaxing. Our guide is a local expert.
Day 13 - Desert de Lompoul:
This is a trip to a southern extension of the Sahara Desert. The last night of the trek will therefore be away from St. Louis. It will be a night to remember amidst huge sand dunes, staying in Mauritanian nomad tents, enjoying a picnic in the dunes and a humpy bumpy camel trek.
Day 14 - Your Volunteer Project:
On the morning of day 14, you should be ready to start your project. If your placement is in The Gambia, transport south will commence at the camp. If around Barra or South Gambia you should arrive in time to stay with your folks. If your placement is in or near St Louis you should arrive by noon, direct from the camp on day 14 to take responsibility, lead, learn and enjoy a real life experience in Africa.
You are now prepared and ready for your choice of 2 to 10 months, plus overlanding (backpacking) as below, if you wish. All Good Things: Come to an end? Extra time for overlanding.
Extra time - overlanding (backpacking)
After your project you are free on your own to do whatever you choose, depending on your departure date. You can stay on in St Louis or Georgetown or fly home to that unreal world. Or do your own overlander for a month or two to Mali by road and back to Dakar by slow train. Or perhaps to the lions, warthogs and giant antelope up the road from Gambia and Basse Santa Su to the big game reserve of Nkolo Koba or the lush green forests and tropical beaches of Casamance in South Senegal, even on to Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. So you have several months in several African Countries by the mighty rivers and the ocean. You have the option to join with other volunteers and travel together if you wish. Live it, enjoy it. Work at it.
£2,500 until mid April - up to 12 months flights & accomodation included Senegal & Gambia adventure trek, orientation & training and project placement.