Today’s “A little place I know” is a little different to others in the series – for a start, it’s not focussed on a hotel, but rather on a destination. Anna K has so beautifully captured her experience, that if you’re even vaguely tempted by a honeymoon that’s a little bit different, you’ll find a lot to inspire you here. I’m also especially pleased to be sharing it with you because Anna is one third of the fabulous Any Other Wedding – to call it a wedding blog feels like a little bit of a disservice, as it’s so much more than that, so really you should just go and check it out now, or rather, as soon as you’ve read what Anna has to say. Over to Anna:
Tell us about one of your favourite places to visit
Kartong is a small village of huts and treehouses situated along an expansive, deserted beach on the coast of The Gambia, close to the border of Senegal. You can only reach Kartong by car, and it’s not on most maps; it’s a secret fiercely guarded by the locals. Kartong doesn’t have frills or swanky bathrooms. What it does have is soul. Soul it has by the bucketload.
What’s so special about it?
The pleasures in Kartong are the simplest and life’s best. Swimming, exploring, watching the fishermen landing their catch, and sleeping in the shade by day. Sitting at the bar drinking local bottled beer and watching the sun set into the Atlantic. Building a bonfire on the beach at night. Lying back and looking at the stars and marvelling that the rest of the world marches relentlessly on but here, on the west coast of Africa, time stands still.
For you, what was the highlight of your stay/visit here?
Staying in one of the treehouses. Once I’d overcome my fear that I would fall out in the middle of the night, there is nothing greater than sleeping amidst a pile of sleeping bags and pillows in the outdoors, listening to the sighing and creaking of the trees, the wind through the leaves, and the rhythm of the waves. It is an almost spiritual experience and one everyone should have at least once, to remind them that radiators and air conditioning and closed windows are not the way it has to be.
What’s the local area like?
Kartong is situated between river and sea and as such, nature rules supreme. It’s far, far removed from the hotels of Banjul, the capital, or the chaos of its markets and streets. There are a few ramshackle shops and a bar on the beach that sells local beer by the bottle.
Would you visit again? Or, if you have already – what was it like returning there for a second time – did it live up to the memory?
I would visit again, without a doubt. I’d take my husband and show him the opposite of life as we know it. Travelling through The Gambia and Senegal changed me in so many ways and Kartung was the perfect place to relax, take stock and just be.
All photographs courtesy of Anna K