Kartong – Tendaba


N13°06’24” W016°45’57” – N13°26’24” W015°48’29”

Feb 15. & Feb 16.

Km on Feb 16:165

I get up a little past 6, pack my camera and head to riverside café for my bird watching appointment – but nobody there! After ten minutes a soldier from the first checkpoint at the border comes and tells me it will only take a few more minutes. The sound of the birds from the opposite (Senegalese) river bank is amazing so I decide ten minutes later to go alone. The soldier obviously expects me to circle around a little and then give up trying to move the boat with one paddle only so he hands me the paddle without hesitation. Five minutes later I see his surprised face only from far away. I go to the other riverside but cant really take pictures when stirring the boat.

When I come back my “guide” is sitting there with the soldier and an old guy. After he excuses himself the old guy suddenly grabs something out of his pocket and everyone of the three guys is rolling himself a joint. I cant believe it and look questioning at the soldier. “No problem, I am first police post in the Gambia” he says offering me some. I say “thank you, no” and hop on the bike to meet Mike in the village. I give him the coordinates of my last stop in Senegal (the place where I slept the first night there) and we agree to meet there at 19. He tells me about Collin, a guy from GB who is doing some serious scientific bird watching here and has a kind of his own reservation!

I directly go there and its really amazing. In the first five minutes I see a crocodile again while talking to Collin and his fellow. I make a walk circling around the area and decide to come back in the evening. Leaving the area I check out a small road on the motorbike and nearly get stuck in the sand. Well, nearly only and I really can practice my sand skills in that half an hour it takes me to get out again. After that I handle sandy spots on the bike much better!

Sleeping all afternoon I return just a little before sunset. What to do I think and decide to come back early next morning before leaving.

The moonset and sunset are amazing at the reservation. After this experience I get a coffee at the village hoping to see Mike and then go back to check out. The nice lady who cooked my first food with love is there again and offers breakfast for free! That is really the first time in Gambia I stay at a place where not all is about money! I can truly recommend this place! Nice and lonely beach, good food and very good vibes! You will easily find it following the satellite coordinates! Just bargain a little!

The day is pretty chilly again (around 28°C only) so I really enjoy the ride on the bike to Tendaba! At the last little village before Tendaba I stop and ask for a place to sleep. I get an opportunity to sleep FOR FREE at a real nice place so I unload the bike. Little later I go to Tendaba to see the posh River Side Camp there. The place is not expensive but not really nice too so I just ask for the boat trip. Maybe at seven maybe at eight, however a bargain for 6 euro only.

I decide to check out the tiny village of Tendaba for a coffee and get offered a really amazing room (in my eyes at least) above the water for an affordable price. Boat trips and food are possible too. I count my money and the guys make a real nice all inclusive price including 2 boat trips and three nights and no need to do the way to a money changer before crossing the border to Senegal on Wednesday!

I quickly want to go back to the village to collect my stuff and talk to the for sure little disappointed people there. In my happiness about the amazing place I stand next to the bike on the wrong side when taking it of the main stand. It loses balance and the right side mirror breaks off. I am such a dumb idiot (sometimes)! At the village I promise to come next evening to make music and as I’ve seen a hornbill I haven’t caught on picture yet (again) on the way to the village I will spend some time around there anyway.

Later I sit a little further out on the bridge my hut is on (kind of my balcony) and enjoy an amazing sunset and excellent bird watching! More or less sitting above the water in my new home. What an amazing place! And it either seems like I slowly start finding the right people too. They are even disappointed when I don’t make music this evening…

The internet signal is blown away by the cold wind today. Got a bunch of amazing pictures and will try to upload them when its less windy!