Gambia River


Gambia River

[
Niokolo-Koba National Park]

The Gambia River is a major river in Africa, running 1,130 km (700 miles) from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea westward to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul. It is navigable for about half that length.

The river is known largely because of The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa, which consists of little more than the downstream half of the river and its two banks.

From the Fouta Djallon, the river runs northwest into the Tambacounda province of Senegal, where it flows through the Parc National du Niokolo Koba, then is joined by the Nieri Ko and Koulountou before entering The Gambia at Fatoto. At this point the river runs generally west, but in a meandering course with a number of oxbows, and about 100 km from its mouth it gradually widens, to over 10 km wide where it meets the sea.

Near the mouth of the river, near Juffure, is James Island, a place used in the slave trade which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Connection to 'Roots'

According to Alex Haley's novel "", the Gambia River provided one of the clues that helped him trace his American family history back to Africa. The words "Kamby Bolongo" were among the few words that his family had passed down from generation to generation; he discovered that a "bolongo" was a "moving water" or "river" in the Mandinka language, so he concluded that the phrase probably referred to the Gambia River. His theory was confirmed when he traveled to Juffure, The Gambia, on the north bank of the river, and found that their oral family histories complemented his own. The Mandinka language does not have a /g/ phoneme, so the river is therefore pronounced "Kambiya" rather than "Gambia".

External links

* [http://www.accessgambia.com/information/gambia-river-info.html Gambia River Information & Photos]


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