How to Make Charcoal the Gambian Way – Part 3

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that here at Balaba Nature Camp we’ve been making our own charcoal. I’ve already written two posts about this, which explain how Amadou built the charcoal kiln and lit the kiln ready for the charcoal to be made. We then had to wait over ten days for the charcoal to be ready.

I couldn’t believe how much work Amadou and the others had to put in whilst the wood was burning. Amadou barely left the kiln at all, even sleeping outside next to it, so he could keep a constant check on whether any large holes developed which would allow the wood to burn too quickly.

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How to Make Charcoal the Gambian Way: Part 2

In my last post about our charcoal kiln, I explained how Amadou had built the wood into a huge pile, carefully arranged with very few gaps, so there was as little air as possible within the pile. Once everything had been completed, the pile was ready to be lit.

Amadou had left an entrance to give him access for lighting the fire in the very middle of the pile, and he used a long stick with some palm leaves wrapped around the end to get the fire started.

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How to Make Charcoal the Gambian Way

What do you do when you are planning a barbecue? And in particular, how do you get your charcoal? I know many people have gas barbecues now, but in the good old days we used to go to the local garage or garden centre and buy a sack of charcoal. So have you ever wondered how charcoal is made? I had a vague idea that wood needed to be burned very slowly, but beyond that I hadn’t a clue. However, here at Balaba Nature Camp, something really interesting has been happening – a neighbour has been building a traditional Gambian charcoal kiln. Let me tell you all about it…

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