Gallery: a traditional fishing village in Bakau
The catch was brought in hours ago. But the fishing quay in Bakau, in northern Gambia, is nevertheless a hive of activity.
Many of the colourful pirogues are pulled up on the beach. Others are floating offshore, as the fishermen check and mend their nets and other equipment. Those that have finished their work sit chatting or try to make a few extra delasi by showing tourists around.
Stand firm – you don’t need a guide to wander around here and take some photos, though you should of course be discreet when taking ones of individuals. You could of course ask permission; but getting it could mean a tip and that could prove expensive if you want lots of photos!
Fish caught here include barracuda, captain fish and lady fish, all of which you find on hotel and restaurant menus. There are also smaller fish which tend to be eaten only by locals because of the large number of bones they contain.
Some of the fish is processed here before being sold, so there are smoking houses. Some stalls cook and sell the fish too.
And of course, as anywhere where fish are caught, there are plenty of small cats and large birds (here mostly egrets) hoping for a bite too.
All along this coast you’ll see these same colourful fishing boats at work offshore. I watched them a lot from the gardens and beach at our hotel in Fajara, Ngala Lodge, and made a little video of some of the fishermen at work. It’s a bit shaky as I had to use a long zoom, but it shows the fishing method well. The nets are left out overnight, marked by buoys and flags; the fishermen go out first thing to haul them in with, hopefully, some fish caught inside. Once the fish are offloaded at the quay the nets are checked, repaired if necessary and then taken back out to sea ready for the next night’s catch.
The fishing village in Bakau offers a wonderful opportunity to see something of Gambian life outside the tourist hotels. It’s more than worth running the gauntlet of the would-be guides and so-called bumsters to visit this decidedly fishy place, my Something Fishy offering for the Friendly Friday challenge.
I visited Bakau in 2014
Your photos give a great sense of the activity on the beach. It reminds me of the fishermen in Bali – a collective effort to bring the boats in, excitement to see the catch to market and followed by a relaxed caretaking of the nets.
Thank you Sandy 😀 I think fishing communities must be the same the world over as we saw similar in Kerala too (see my post https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/the-fishermen-of-chowara-beach-in-kerala/ if you’re interested) and in Oman 🙂
Beautiful photo’s Sarah! So colourful and lively … I can almost feel the vibe of the people on the beach and in their boats 🌸.
Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed the atmosphere here!
Fabulous studies. That would have kept you going in ‘One person from around the World’ for weeks and weeks!
Very true 🙂 Maybe I’ll tag this retrospectively if ever I’m stuck for ideas for that challenge, but I have plenty lined up at present 😆
Great photos Sarah. We love people shots too and if you are lucky you can catch some real emotion in those faces. Colourful fishing village, haven’t been to that particular village but saw a similar vibrant village in Gambia which was wonderful. Would certainly visit Gambia again.
Thank you 🙂 Was it Tanji you visited? That’s a bigger and more famous fishing village, in the southern part of the country. We were due to go one day but I was ill overnight (too much sun I believe) and didn’t feel up to it. We’ll go for sure if we go back to the Gambia 🙂
No it wasn’t Tanji, was further South. Stayed in an eco lodge near Kartong and the fishing village was Gunjur just a bit north of there
Sounds good – I love a good eco-lodge 🙂
Very vibrant and colorful photos. Interesting that they eat barracuda. As an apex predator here, we’re warned off them because they can accumulate toxins from their prey.
Thank you Graham 🙂 That’s interesting about the barracuda. I suspect that the locals wouldn’t have the luxury of turning it down for that reason but I think I remember seeing it on the menu in tourist restaurants too, where you might think it would be more of a concern.
A wonderful, dynamic and vibrant shot, Sarah. An image that tells a story.
Thank you Jane – I really appreciate that compliment from an excellent photographer like yourself 🙂
Taking people pictures is my favorite. But most of mine are of children so must be cautious these days since they are ones in my care 🙂 Someday they’ll be adults tho and watch out!!!! haha
I’m the same, I love to take people photos and that includes kids. I quite often take them when I travel but I try to make sure their parents are aware I’m doing so and could stop me if they didn’t like it.
You’ve captured a very colourful scene here in your many photographs. Quite a noisy experience too, I should imagine, not to mention smelly!
Thanks Mari – yes, pretty smelly as I remember, although I enjoy a lively fish market enough to ‘tune out’ the smells 😆