Tourism and Culture Minister Hamat N.K. Bah has expressed anxiety over the current situation of the Makasutu Culture Forest in Kembujeh village, West Coast Region.
The minister, who visited the renowned and award winning Makasutu Culture Forest with his delegation in his recent visits to tourism facilities across the country, emphasised that under no circumstance should the management and stakeholders allow the place to run-down.
Mr. Bah, who had taken his time to conduct a thorough tour of the ecotourism facility lamented with heavy heart that “Makasutu has won so many international recognition, prizes and awards. It is a unique project in Africa but to see it dilapidated is a blow in our hearts.”
“To be honest, this place should never be like this. It is very disappointing. This place is extremely good but its present condition is very bad for our tourism,” Minister Bah added.
The workers affirmed to the Minister that the place is among facilities that had received the disbursed Covid-19 support for resilience and recovery fund. The minister then advised them to start the renovation gradually without further delay no matter how small or big the amount.
He suggested to the management that the renovation can start from the public area gradually “because if the public area is done there is chance for attraction as people can come for lunch and other activities as usual.”
Minister Bah reiterated that “something needs to be done because we cannot let this place dilapidate, we will not, because it is part of the qualities we are expecting and the name and brand of the place cannot be left to go down.”
“I want this place back to its glory days. Really, we want to talk to them (the management) that can make decision on over this place, we want to talk to him (proprietor) to know how prepared he is. What need to be done and see how to move forward because this place cannot be grounded; it is not possible.”
Myths and facts about Makasutu Culture Forest
In brief, Makasutu Culture Forest is located inside huge forest. Covers over 500 hectares piece of bush while the rooms are built on water and called them floating house. Myths and facts about this famous ecotourism place is that people in the surrounding areas called the bush a devil’s home. The narration is that there in the forest is a devil in form of a dragon that protect the hidden crown and clothes of King Jatta who was from Busumbala. But King Jatta was killed over 200 years ago by the Moslem King – Kombo Sillah on his way to the East to take over the country. But Jatta’s men collected the crown and clothes and for safe keeping hid them around Makasutu a place known as the ‘Big Forest.’
The place was left untouched by the people of Kembujeh and its environs until 1992 when a British architect and a friend British engineer discovered the vast land and decided to make it a perfect location for retreat and oasis for overland travelers. Since the place was bought, the bush once again found a new protectorate.
However, Makasutu Culture Forest over the years has become a model for ecotourism beyond the destination Gambia and West Africa but Africa as a whole.