Beats Within

Impact Beyond

Journey into the heart of Africa with our immersive Gambian Study Tour. Dive deep into rich traditions, vibrant music, and captivating culture, all guided by King Marong, a master of Senegambian rhythms. Tap into the spirit of the ‘smiling coast’ and let its rhythm be your guide.

Beats Within

Impact Beyond

Journey into the heart of Africa with our immersive Gambian Study Tour. Dive deep into rich traditions, vibrant music, and captivating culture, all guided by King Marong, a master of Senegambian rhythms. Tap into the spirit of the ‘smiling coast’ and let its rhythm be your guide.

A Vibrant Cultural Exchange

This tour features several intensive day workshops with musicians, dancers, and acrobats from five different tribes, all with different and unique performance styles and costumes. No matter what the tribal background, music, and dance are an integral part of daily life in the Gambia.

Participants will have unique experiences as they witness what they are learning in its cultural context.

As well as a focus on music there are many other activities suitable for singles and families alike. The local cuisine of the region is unique and delectable and its preparation is a fine art to master, you too can learn how to cook with local women.

The bustling open markets are a cultural experience unto themselves and the range of local textiles impressive, for those artistic folk, there is endless inspiration.

If you come from a health or education background, there is the opportunity to share your skills with the local schools and hospitals, a truly enriching experience for all involved. This tour supports socially responsible travel, whereby activities result in positive outcomes for the local community.

ROOTS
WASA
LUNG

King Marong

About
The Gambia

The Gambia, well known as the ‘smiling coast’, is a small country on the north west coast of Africa. Situated on either side of the large and powerful Gambia River that dominates the country.

About 300 km long by an average of 40 km wide, Gambia is surrounded by Senegal. It has about 80 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and it is also where the river meets the sea.

Gambia is vibrant, colourful and fascinating with many different tribes, traditions and a rich cultural heritage. Gambia is a melting pot of cultures with communities from every country in West Africa keeping their culture alive through their music, this makes it possible to experience the customs and become familiar with music of several different cultural groups.

Climate
The climate is subtropical with wet and dry seasons (dry from November to May). Average temperatures 25-35 C.

Language
Numerous tribal languages are spoken in Gambia but English is the official language, making it convenient to communicate and engage with the community.

Welcoming
Ceremony

Join us on the ‘smiling coast’ of West Africa for an immersive month of music, culture, and rich traditions with your host, King Marong. As part of the Gambian Study Tour, you’ll be greeted with a vibrant Welcoming Ceremony, where local dancers move rhythmically to the pulsating beats of Gambian drums—a festive introduction to the joys and cultural depth you’ll experience.

Discover the sophisticated music, savor the unique food, admire the array of traditional textiles, and delve into the historical significance of this enchanting region. This tour is designed for anyone with a passion for African music and culture, offering a profound and intensive cultural exchange that promises to be a life-changing journey.

Tour Courses

Drum and Dance Courses

The courses will be held in the small coastal fishing village of Bakau . A beautiful area with many long sandy beaches, river estuaries, palm trees and baobab trees. Bakau is within easy walking distance to all amenities.

You can choose between drumming and dance or you can do both. There will be a 2 hour session in the morning followed by a break then a 2 hour session in the afternoon from Monday to Friday.

Dance Workshops

Dance workshops will teach a number of local techniques, dances, steps and cultural styles, many of which culminate in a traditional ballet.

Kora Program

Other workshops available in conjunction with drum and dance are Kora (a 21 string gourd harp), Balafon (an African wooden xylophone) and Fulani Flute. There is also the opportunity to take lessons in other local instruments including bolombata (gourd bass) and conting/ngoni (lute) at an extra cost.

The ‘Language of the Drum’ with its different rhythms and techniques will be taught, using both hands and sticks on Djembe, Sabar, DounDounba and Boucarabou drums.

The emphasis will be on learning different structures of rhythms, how to keep time using maracash, palm clappers and bells, the relationship between beat and offbeat and experiencing the feeling of rhythm in your entire body. There will be workshops to cater for beginners and also those advanced students who wish to refine their technique and take on more complex rhythms.

authentic

immersive

discovery

vivid

enriching

Food, Living
& Transport

Embrace an authentic Gambian lifestyle during your stay, filled with cultural immersion, delectable cuisine, and easy exploration.

Accommodation will be shared with two or three others in small houses, with toilet and shower, typical of the area. Gambia has an abundance of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables.

During the week 2 meals a day will be provided with lunch, the main meal of the day comprising delicious Gambian fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. A small kitchen will be available for tea & coffee or smaller meals. During the evenings the group will be visiting local nightspots and parties to experience the music in its cultural context, meals may be purchased at local restaurants for around $5 or less.

On Saturday and Sunday you are free to explore Gambia on your own or with the group at organised events such as weddings or naming ceremonies. This can also be time to practise.

Local transport is cheap easy and convenient to use. Travel costs covered when travelling as a group, travelling on one’s own certainly won’t break the bank!

Tour Details

Gambia is a country rich in culture, the openness and generosity of the people will leave a lasting impression.

Dates
Annual JUNE TOUR – commences early June to coincide with semester break.
Annual JANUARY TOUR – commences early Jan. Includes a 28 day stay in The Gambia

Costs
– $5000 for 4 weeks of accommodation, meals, and workshops (Kora, Djembe, other percussion) 
– $1000 deposit non refundable
– Full payment a month in advance
– Flights to The Gambia should be arranged separately by travellers; assistance is available. 

Insurance
All students are required to take out medical and travel insurance. Details provided with booking confirmation.

Vaccinations
The Gambia ‘s only mandatory health requirement is a yellow fever vaccination. Anti-malaria medication is recommended.

Visa
1 month visa granted on entry to The Gambia, renewals as required.

Embark on a life-changing journey that deepens your musical knowledge and immerses you in the rich tapestry of African culture and traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions about our workshops, classes, or programs?
Check out our FAQ section below for answers to your most common questions.

What kind of accommodation is provided during the tour?

The tour provides shared accommodation, typically in small houses that have a toilet and shower. You can expect to share with two or three other participants.

Are meals included in the tour package?

Yes, two meals a day are provided during weekdays, with lunch being the main meal. These meals consist of local Gambian cuisine, including fish, meat, and vegetarian dishes. You can purchase additional meals at local restaurants during evening outings.

What activities can I participate in during weekends?

On weekends, you have the freedom to explore Gambia at your own pace or join group activities such as local weddings or naming ceremonies. This can also be a good time for personal practice of the music and dance skills you’ve learned.

How do we get around in The Gambia?

Local transport is inexpensive and easy to use. Group travel costs are covered in the tour package, but individual exploration is affordable and encouraged.

What do I need to prepare health-wise before the trip?

The only mandatory health requirement for entering The Gambia is a yellow fever vaccination. We also recommend taking anti-malaria medication. Ensure you’ve taken out appropriate medical and travel insurance, details of which will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Ready for the Adventure of
a Lifetime?

Found the Gambian Study Tour intriguing?

Begin your immersion into vibrant African culture by filling out our booking form.

Should you need any help or have questions about the booking process, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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