Tanji Fish Market

A living museum in The Gambia: Tanji

All the ones who go to the Gambia, visit the Tanji village (pronounced Tanje) settled about 30 km from the capital Banjul. Because of its very active fishing harbour it remains certainly the most wanted of the Gambian tourism. It represents one of the major costal fishing community of the country from where seafood is sold or exported to neighbouring west African countries. We were staying in the area of Senegambia and we reached the Tanjii fish market with the Gambian yellow taxi caught on the main street, just after the Senegambian touristic Area. We have already consulted the Senegambia tourist green taxi price board and according to it the round trip to Tanjii fish market cost 900 Dalasi for small vehicles and 1100 Dalasi for big cars. Having that point of reference and knowing that the yellow taxi was cheaper than the green ones, we have been able to bargain for 750 Dalasi. The driver left us in front of the Tanjii fish market and gave us couple of hours to go freely around the market. We could smell fish right from the taxi itself, it was really stinky but certainly it was one of the crowded and charismatic fish markets of the African West Coast. We were taken there just before lunch and it seemed perfect because we could see the busiest hours of that place. We saw how children, women and men made living from the fish. By the other side we could also see all the smelly and colorful sea creatures ready to be sold, to be exported or to be dried. It was a real chain work: the fish was carried in with baskets from the boats in the sea and once in the shore it was loaded in barrows pushed by men. It was then sorted on the beach by ladies, and then taken off to stalls. 

There were then the “cleaners”, the ladies who clean the fish from morning to evening. Not only big customers but also the ones who buy fish for their daily use could ask the ladies to clean the fish for them for 10 or less Dalasi, depending on how big the fish is. It was very interesting the way they use old freezers to store the ice before the fish were moved on to the other parts of the Africa. As we were staying in an apartment we bought some and asked one of those ladies to clean it for us. The fish was very cheap; we spent 60Dalasi in total, including the cleaning services. Certainly we spent more than what a Gambian would have been spent for the same amount. We were sure about that but even though we decided to buy it because the price was well fine for our pockets.

Everything was very colorful, and we were fascinated to watch and take photos: it was quite primitive but highly effective!

After walking along the beach area we went up towards the road again from the other side of the entrance, passing close to men repairing nets, children playing, ladies cooking and so on and on. There was also a small market incorporated into the seaside selling any kind of things. It was a great visit: Tanji fish market was a living museum in The Gambia; Locals regulary used to go there as the seafood sold there was cheaper than those in the inland markets. One can spend hours and hours there without getting bored. I must admit that two hours haven’t been enough for us, we love taking photos and it would have been nice having had more time. It was said that the late afternoon is incredibly photogenic so try to organize your trip accordingly if you also like photography. I need to remind you that for "unknown reason", they didn't like being photographed, so we had to be careful when clicking because we didn't want to be insulted.  We returned back to our taxi 15 minutes later than expected and the driver asked us 100 Dalasi more so we ended up with spending 850 Dalasi.

Bus would have been the best solution…

Later we learned that there was also a privately owned museum by the fish market with admission ticket costing 200 Dalasi. Sadly we missed it!

Tanji Fish Market Tanji Fish Market Reviewed by Travel Tips on January 08, 2018 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. Wow! It’s really a fresh fish market. I think it will be a good adventure to see this place.


thank you for your feedback