FestivalsThere are two annual festivals, at Kartong and Abene, both within driving distance of The Guesthouse, as well as a small one in Bakau itself.
There is also the Gambia's official, biennial, Roots Festival usually held in early June every other year; based at various locations from Bakau to Brikama. The programme is very varied and includes music, excursions, workshops and lectures, as well as fashion shows and theatre productions.
The Roots Festival is for anyone interested in the Culture of West Africa, but is especially aimed at people of African descent living in the diaspora. It hopes to offer you an opportunity to reunite with your roots in Africa.The Roots Festival 1st June 2010 was canceled! The Gambian government chose to host the AGM of the African Travel Association instead of having the roots festival.
******* In 2011 the dates were February 4th to 10th.********
Banjul (Yundum) is the closest airport for all the festivals including Kartong and Abene, in the Cassamance region of Senegal. Why not recover from the flight and spend some time aclimatising with us in Bakau, before dealing the drive down to southern Gambia or Cassamance.
We are offering those attending the festivals a discount on our usual accommodation rates, to spend a few days (or a few weeks!) with us in Bakau, adjusting and unwinding from 'western stress' before taking the trip south to the extremely laid-back atmosphere in Abene.
We can supply you with totally trustworthy, excellent drivers, who are also very nice people, to take you to Kartong or Abene. You can go with cold drinks stored in the boot & a packed luch, if you wish. Maybe have a picnic on the beach and do some sight-seeing on the way. We are experts with vegetarian versions of African food, which is almost impossible to find generally in West Africa. So veggies / vegans will be in safe hands with us, able to completely relax & enjoy all our meals. For attending the various venues of the main Roots Festival, we are ideally located, within walking distance or short taxi rides.
Consider us a bridge between cultures, gently helping you adjust to Senegambian ways before you go on to the depths of Cassamance & Abene. We hope you will appreciate our facilities in The Gambia; 20 minutes drive from the Airport and 10 minutes walk from the sea. We can meet you at the airport, introduce you to the culture & music of the region, for a few days, then drive you down to the festivals.
How long you stay with us is up to you. Our rates are negotiable, depending on whether you want room only or half board & if you are veggie or not. Group and couples discounts also apply, so contact us with full details of your situation & requirements & we will "quote you happy".
This wonderful festival has been running every year for over a decade now. Based in the coastal village of Abene, in the Cassamance region of Senegal, it is just a few hours drive from us in The Gambia.
The Kartong festival started in 2006 and was a great success. We saw and filmed our friend Pa Bobo Jobarteh from Brikama, as well as the Drummers and Dancers from Abene. This week-long Festival is held in March in Kartong, a small village by the sea, on the southern border of The Gambia with Cassamance.
Since 2010 there is another festival in a neighbouring village to Kartong that takes place the weekend after the Kartong festival.