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Listen to Excess Baggage for

02 September 2006 

The Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa.  The coastline to the West is only thirty miles wide and the rest of the country is completely surrounded by French speaking Senegal.  

This week Sandi turns her back on the coast and travels inland along the majestic Gambia River.  On route she discovers picturesque villages, stunning bird life, vibrant markets and local festivals, and looks at the ways in which some of the tour operators there are beginning to promote responsible tourism.

"In the mist of the sea there is a horned island
with deep green harbors . . .
. . . a place of light with luminous valleys
under the thunderous clouds . . .

Nobel laureate for literature, Derek Walcott, writing in his epic Poem Omeros about his home island St Lucia.

St Lucia is one of the Caribbean's Winward Islands.  With the World Cup Cricket tour starting next March the country is promoting the Island 's natural beauty, wildlife and entertainment.  Sandi finds out about the many natural attractions on the island including its unique 'drive in' volcano.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

The Pitons on St Lucia

Photo: The Pitons on St Lucia

This week's guests:

Emma Gregg is a travel writer and photographer.  She is the Editor of Travel Africa Magazine, and co-author of The Rough Guide to The Gambia.  Emma went in the spring to update the guide and recommends getting away from the coastal complexes and travelling up country to explore villages, natural environments and nature, particularly its 560 species of bird.

The Rough Guide to The Gambia
Publisher: Rough Guides (20 Nov 2006)
ISBN: 1843537036

The Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust
The project was initially established by Stella Marsden with the Gambian wildlife authorities to protect chimpanzees from hunters and traders.  The trust gives orphaned chimpanzees the opportunity to grow up free and independent in their natural environment.  It is the longest running chimpanzee rehabilitation project in Africa and protects and monitors a total population of seventy-six chimpanzees occupying three islands in the River Gambia National Park.

Geri Mitchell is chairman of Responsible Tourism in Gambia and Runs The Safari Garden Hotel in the Gambia.  With her partner they have nearly completed the building of an Eco-Retreat lodge and Learning Centre, in partnership with local villagers. They are active members of the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET).

International Centre for Responsible Tourism in Gambia

Gambia information site

Sarah Cameron is a travel writer and the author of several guides on the Caribbean including Footprint Caribbean Islands and a separate Footprint St. Lucia.  Sarah explains how St Lucia is able to combine the nature tourism market with the mass tourism market.  She describes The Pitons, symbol of the island, these green volcanic cones whose slopes plunge dramatically into the sea, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Footprint guide to St. Lucia
Publisher: Footprint Handbooks
ISBN: 190477718X

Official Website of the Government of Saint Lucia

Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice web site

Track: Roots Mural Theme
Album Title: Roots - The Saga of An American Family
LP side 1, track 2
Performer: Quincy Jones Orchestra
Composer: Gerald Fried
Label: AANDM AMLH 64626

Track: Masouc
Album Title: West Indies - An Island Carnival
Side 1, track 2
Performer: Village Band , St Lucia
Composer: traditional
Label: ELEKTRA NONESUCH 7559720912

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