Feb 13, 2009, 4:56 AM
Eco-tourism contributes greatly to the development of tourism in this country. One such place that promotes this in The Gambia is Sandele Eco-Retreat, a beautiful sight to behold and a natural environment for attraction of both tourists and people in the area.
Sandele Eco-Retreat and learning centre is situated right in the heart and soul of Kartong, the Western Region of The Gambia the Smiling Coast of Africa.
The place is surrounded by nature with pleasing and refreshing quietness, which also makes it the favourite of most tourists.
It is quite different from many hotels because of its naturalness and touristic characteristics on the backdrop of a local setting which makes it a beautiful sight to behold.
Speaking in an interview with The Point Tourism and Entertainment on Monday at Sandele Eco-Retreat, the proprietress of Sandele, Geri Mitchell, said Sandele Eco-Retreat is a community-based project with an agreement of 25 years of operation, five of these years have already been spent.
At the end of the agreement, the land will be handed over to the village of Kartong, she said, adding that most of the workforce at Sandele comes from Kartong.
The Sandele Eco-Retreat director told Entertainment that one of the big achievements the Retreat enjoys is good season. “And we are working effectively for the development of the area,” she said.
Elaborating on the achievements of the Retreat, Madam Mitchell also said that while the season is coming to an end, they are now working to complete ten more rooms to prepare for the next season.
“Our other achievement is the development of the craft production area, which was assistance from the German Embassy of which we are very grateful,” she said. “Now our plan is to work in this area where tourists can come and see the products.
“I am very excited for the season because we have the visitors of two presidents of the Global Eco village Network (Gen) and the purpose of their visit is Africa, and the alkalo of Kartong was very impressed about their visit.”
Madam Mitchell went further to state that the Eco-village design educator programme, which is a month-long training, will run in Sandele in February 2014.
Lamin Camara, assistance manager of Sandele Eco-Retreat, said many changes have taken place and “this season is really good”.
Camara added that this year’s tourist season for Sandele is great, saying the environment is vey conducive for both tourists and the local people.
“In Sandele, we are very well known for local products and we are trying to come up with more local products from the village,” he said.
Camara said further: “The waste that we think is going to affect the village we will also find a way forward to develop it so that it can also create more employment for the people of the area.”
He therefore thanked his staff for the “wonderful cooperation” without which “we would not have achieved what we have achieved today”.