The Kick-Off Meeting with Omar Jammeh and the team was
held on Jan 24th, following the agenda below:
Baobab River Trail Kick-Off
- Primary objectives
- The Project
- The Organisation
- Sustainable Impacts
- The Business Case
- Further Proceeding
The establishment of hiking trails at the Gambia River and its promotion internationally with Nature Friends Internationale (NFI) shall be considered as a sustainable contribution for the Landscape of the Year 2018/2019 in Senegambia.
As per today 3 parts of the trail have been explored and found worth to be chosen as program options for the hiking groups.
While the temperatures for hiking in the early morning hours until noon are ideal, in the afternoon they rise to a stage where hiking might be not confortable anymore for the one or the other hiker. Thus the decision was taken to limit the daily hikes to an extent of 4 hours along the river side and then take a boat to return to the base in Janjanbureh (JJB).
So far 3 male Gambian guide trainees accompanied me during the first sections of the trails. Further potential guides including females showed interest and will join the next hikes. The guides still require certain basic knowledge regarding principles for hiking with larger groups. The number of hikers in a group should not exceed 10. Yesterday we were exploring an area with bicycles which enabled us to extend the radius. Only in single cases we will have to use cutlass to find our path through the forrest. In general the existing pathes need to be made accessible with less effort.
The actual stage of defined trails see below:
Trail 1: East and west side of JJB on the river Island
Trail 2: North Shore Trail heading east
Trail 3: South Shore Trail heading east
Trails 2 and 3 will terminate on the river banks, where a passenger boat will return the hikers to JJB.
Trails 4 and 5 are to be defined which is planned for the coming weeks.
After the hiking week the groups shall be returned to the coastal area for a further one week stay in an Eco Lodge. The program for this week which shall be a suggestion only, will be set up also in the near future.
Today in JJB I met Isaton Ceesay who is the founder of the Women Initiative Gambia. Isaton, a very impressive woman has founded in her village Njau this initiative which meanwhile has spread over the Gambia and various workshops were opened where women are creating their own income by manufacturing goods out of recycling materials e.g. plastic foils or rubber from bicycle tubes. Further they manufacture cosmetics and soap of organic materials and the variety of products is still growing.
A visit of one of the Women Initiative Gambia workshops in the coastal area should be a must during the week in the Eco Lodge.
Women Initiative Gambia