Top-rated Tourist Attractions in The Gambia

Kunta Kinteh Island

One of the famous islands in The Gambia is Kunta Kinteh Island formerly known as James Island. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in The Gambia inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003 taking into consideration that it has important relics of the West African slave trade. 

It is a small island on the Gambia River where captured slaves were kept before finally being sent to the new world’s plantations in the western world. Despite erosion eroding the island gradually the ruins still tell very sad and emotional stories of the past. 

However, ‘Kunta Kinteh Island is one of the key sites in the history of the British in West Africa. It was the first European foothold in The Gambia. This with Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, they were at the center of British interests in West Africa for 300 years.

Kunta Kinteh Island remains an important part of the package for the celebration of the biennial famous International Roots Homecoming Festival known as Roots Trail Pilgrimage because it is through this island Kunta Kinteh himself was kept and transported through a slave ship to Maryland in America.

Kunta Kinteh Island is unique and very original compared to other slave routes as the visitors to the place can see the ruins of the slave trade infrastructure, such as the caves and prisons where slaves were imprisoned before being shipped off to the American colonies in sub-human conditions. The originality is well confirmed as the novelist, Alex Haley, author of the famous book – Roots traced his Gambian ancestor from America down to this small island where Kunta Kinteh was transported through to America as a slave in the latter part of the 1700s. Thanks to the wonderful novel – Roots which covers the story of the six generations from the capture of Kunta Kinteh in 1767 up to now. This novel adapted into movie series is well known all over the world, especially for Afro-American people, who consider a trip to Albreda and Juffureh as a return to their roots.


Juffureh/Albreda is the name of two communities that are inseparable as far as their history goes. Juffureh is the birthplace of the famous Mandinka warrior – Kunta Kinteh while Albreda, a stone throw from his compound, was where he was captured, kidnapped, and sent to James Island (now Kunta Kinteh Island) before finally transported to the plantation farm in America. Juffureh and Albreda villages are very symbolic in the history of The Gambia, especially before the abolition of the slave trade.

In these two villages are a series of sites associated with the early European occupation of the African continent including the remains of a Portuguese Chapel and a colonial warehouse (CFAO Building) in the village of Albreda, the Maurel Freres Building in the village of Juffureh, the remains of the Small Portuguese settlement of San Domingo. Also is the family house of Kunta Kinteh where you will meet his left behind family/generation in The Gambia.