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This small but fascinating destination is popular with visitors, packing a surprising amount into a small area.
Located in the Bakau district, at the northern end of the coastal tourist trip, a visit to Kachikally Crocodile Park Gambia will take you through narrow local streets brimming with life. The entrance to the crocodile pool is hard to miss, with brightly coloured abstract murals decorating the exterior walls.
Entrance cost an affordable D100 in October 2019.
Crocodile pool and encounter
The main draw of Kachikally is its crocodile pool, where up to 80 crocs can be visible on the banks – although the natural undergrowth can make them hard to spot. But continue up the path and you will soon come face-to-face with a number of crocodiles dozing in the sunshine, lured by the promise of fish from the local staff. The crocodiles here roam freely, and are mostly 1m-2m in length. It is possible to touch them and take photos, although it’s essential to heed the advice of the local experts.
Animal encounters can be controversial; the crocodiles at the pool appeared to be relaxed and in good condition.
Kachikally is one of three sacred crocodile pools in the Gambia, traditionally believed to cure couples of infertility. Women struggling to conceive traditionally visit to bathe in the water (today this takes place in an open concrete hut); if a pregnancy results, it is traditional to give the child “Kachikally” as part of their name.
A nature trail through tropical forest is located nearby; look out for monkeys, kingfishers and lizards as well as trees such as baobabs, fig trees and palms.
The Kachikally museum is a series of huts containing exhibits on Gambian history and culture. In particular, don’t miss the display of traditional local musical instruments, or the exhibit detailing the role Gambians have played in British military history.
Souvenirs and refreshments
Local handicrafts are available to purchase on site, and there is also a small bar area selling soft drinks.
Planning your visit
Opening hours are from roughly 9am to 6pm-7pm every day (closing time is flexible). A visit to the pool and museum takes around 45 minutes.
Because of its location, the best way to get to the Gambia crocodile park is by taxi or on an organised excursion.