Snake Farm, Gambia

Gambia isn’t exactly full of tourist attractions or official “things to do”, but one of the few attractions I went to was the Snake Farm / Gambian Reptiles Farm (the latter is its name on Google Maps), and it was definitely cooler than I was expecting.

The Snake Farm is located just off the highway between Gunjur and Kartong (closer to Gunjur), so if you’re coming from the north (around Banjul etc.), you would get a vehicle heading towards Kartong and tell them to let you off at the Snake Farm. If you’re already in Kartong or Gunjur, you could just walk along the highway. The sign is quite easy to spot.

snake1

Once you’re on the path, it’s just a 5 minute walk to the entrance, where you’ll pay an entrance fee as shown below.

snake5 As you can see, it’s 200 dalasi per person (£3).

The price includes a guide, as you wouldn’t be allowed to pick up the animals without one, and there are no signs or information boards so you need to listen to the guide if you want to know what the animals are etc.

My guide was really friendly and very knowledgeable about the reptiles and what happens if they bite you etc. Each animal (or sometimes a small group of them) is kept in a different concrete enclosure (mostly with no roof, just sides), and the guide either picks them up with a special stick or with her hands. She let me hold certain reptiles and was more than happy to take photos too. The baby crocodile was my personal favourite:

snake2

She also explained that the Snake Farm hosts school groups from around Gambia to educate the children on the reptiles and to try and break the stereotype of all snakes being bad and dangerous. This one definitely wasn’t dangerous…

snake3

They also rescue snakes from people’s homes and gardens, so it’s positive for everyone because the person who finds the snake can just contact the Snake Farm for them to take the snake away, and then then it’ll be kept safely at the Snake Farm rather than potentially being killed by someone else in a house/garden.

It takes about half an hour to walk around and see the reptiles, and there’s a covered seating area where they sell drinks so you can relax there at the end if you want to.

Overall, I think the Snake Farm is a really interesting place to visit for all types of travellers of all ages, and I’m pretty sure it’s also beneficial to the animals, so I hope you’ll visit if you’re going to Gambia any time in the future.

P.S. Look how tiny this baby terrapin is!

snake4

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