We’re stoked to be on board with Safari Interactive Magazine, who’s readers will follow our journey – the lead up and then, eventually, getting our canoes into one of the last big, free-flowing rivers in West Africa, to make the first recorded source to sea expedition of the River Gambia.
We’ll begin our adventure in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, onto into the hippo-abundant waters of Niokolo National Park in Senegal, and finally into The Gambia,- a country we both know extremely well – where we head towards the Atlantic Ocean, and where the river is over 10km wide, and the River Gambia’s and our journey’s end, after traversing over 1000kms.
Traveling by canoe and foot through the homelands of over seven different tribes, we will be following the same course as the early gold and slave traders have done century’s ago. Along the way, we will collect visual/written/audio stories – through multiple medias – documenting the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the River Gambia. Which we’ll be blogging about, on here and Safari Interactive Magazine , as often as we can.
‘Silafando’ – (a Mandinka word meaning ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey) the ward-winning series of portraits which Florio took on our last expedition ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ – where we walked, the entire way, around the small West African country, with two donkeys (called ‘Neil’ and ‘Paddy’ – yes, really) and a cart, to carry our camera and camping gear – and no cheating! Not one of us, bar Momadou (our donkey handler) jumped on that cart. Believe me, after a day of 1o grueling miles of walking, in 100 degree heat, red dust coating everything, there was many time when I wanted to!
Our head-strong, but extremely loveable (trumpeting-like farting and all!), diminutive, four-legged team mates were kindly loaned to us by Heather Armstrong of The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust , a charity, based in the village of Sambel Kunda, The Gambia. The Trust do fantastic work to rehabilitate abused and injured donkeys, as well educating locals on how to take better care of their donkeys – i.e. not to tether them, with rope, by their ankles – thereby cutting of circulation which can lead to gangrene and, often, the donkeys will be destroyed. A non-working donkey is of no use to a Gambian, who use them purely for transport and farming. Also, most Gambians just don’t have the resources to pay veterinary bills. This is also where TGHDT charity help out – by offering their voluntary vets services for free.
More updates on how our pre-planning of River Gambia Expedition 2012 is going, coming soon.
Thanks for stopping by.
H & Flo – The Florios