Part of the
Hurtigruten Group

The Gambia – Roots by Land


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9 hrs
Available all year
Min. number
0 travellers
Booking code

Step back in time as your tour takes you through five centuries of history, focusing on the slave trade and the Gambian Kunta Kinteh, who was forced into slavery in the 18th century.
  • Drive inland in The Gambia.

  • Discover the history of the slave trade in The Gambia.

  • Trace the origins of Kunta Kinteh, the Gambian man taken to North America and forced into slavery.

  • Cruise to Kunta Kinteh Island, which played a vital role in the slave trade.

You will catch the Banjul Barra ferry to the north bank. After the approximately one-hour ferry ride, you will reach Barra, where you will join our vehicle.

You will drive through villages on a bumpy road—it’s the African way—for approximately one hour before reaching Juffureh Albreda in the north bank region of the mouth of the Gambia River.

Visit the freedom flagpole and a slave museum here. Albreda used to be a French trading post during the era of slavery. There is also a church here, which was the first of its kind to be built in West Africa by the Portuguese. We will stop here to explain how the freedom flagpole came to be. It has been one of The Gambia’s national monuments since 1970.

From here, proceed onto Juffureh, the village that was home to the famous young man who was forced into slavery in the mid-17th century: Kunta Kinteh. This man is the basis for Alex Haley’s bestselling book Roots, which recounts the events of the transatlantic slave trade.

The main highlight of the trip based on Roots is a visit to the Kinteh clan. On the way back to the boat, make a stop at the museum, which recounts more than 400 years of a slave trade that contributed to the depopulation of the continent.

Following the walk, join a pirogue for a two-mile sea cruise to Kunta Kinteh Island (formerly James Island). This island used to play a vital role during the slave trade. It is located about two miles from the village of Albreda. This tiny island, which used to be six times bigger than its current size, was used to keep slaves for a maximum of two weeks before they were shipped to Gorée Island. The most characteristic feature is the dungeon, the only one remaining on the island out of the original 14. They were washed away either by erosion or a gunpowder explosion in the mid-18th century. The dungeons were used to punish slaves who rebelled against the slave master. Their hands and legs were chained and they were served only one meal a day to weaken them.

After taking in the sights and information at this historical landmark, cruise back to the village for lunch in a local restaurant before driving back to Barra to catch the ferry to Banjul.

Practical information

  • Language: English.

  • Included: Salad, chicken yassa, rice, domoda, fries, local fruit.

  • Remarks/requirements: Appropriate clothing and comfortable walking shoes.

  • Walking information: Flat walk.

  • Wheelchair accessible: No.

Penguins perched on the ice of Cuverville Island, Antarctica. Credit: Espen Mills / HX Hurtigruten Expeditions

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