Gambia — Overview
Due to its small size, Gambia is easy to bypass when exploring Africa’s western region. However, its 50-mile stretch of shoreline makes it a great destination for beach lovers. Enjoy the lovely and enticing coast lined with a mix of busy fishing villages and upscale resorts. If you can afford to go deeper into the country, you will discover an exciting culture, stunning landscapes and interesting wildlife.
One of the smallest countries in Africa, there is more than meets the eye in Gambia. Home to the nature reserves of River Gambia National Park, Baboon Island and Kiang West National Park, St James Island reveals the country’s history of slave trade, while Jufureh is a relaxing retreat from the coast. Those who would like to shop and hone their haggling skills can drop by Serrekunda and the Atlantic Coast or head to Banjul’s markets. Events like wrestling matches and traditional performances by the griots during public concerts, baptisms and weddings are not to be missed either.
Travelers can easily fill their wanderlust here, as there are many daytrips to outside Gambia, including the island of Georgetown, neighboring Senegal and the sprawling Abuko Nature Reserve for bird, monkey and crocodile spotting.
A growing tourist destination, Gambia offers a variety of accommodation choices ranging from independent low-rise properties to luxury hotels, self-catering apartments or bungalows, and budget inns to suit every type of traveler. Plenty of four- and five-star resorts line the bustling Atlantic coastline. For those who prefer to stay in quieter and less commercialized places, head further inland to find lodges and eco-camps, which offer standard comforts. Gambia’s capital, Banjul, is home to a large concentration of business and tourist centers, particularly for European and British visitors. One of its major highlights is the excellent seafood and the locally farmed peanuts, which go well with beer.
Holiday and charter operators are available which makes it relatively easy to get into Gambia. US citizens need a visa from the Gambian High Commission. Bush taxis can be found almost everywhere, as can bicycle rentals, boat rentals and four-wheel drive vehicles. English is the official language of the country so it is easy to get around on your own or there are tour companies if you prefer to sightsee in a group setting.
- Explore the small, but stunning Abuko Nature Reserve to discover Gambian wildlife
- Four-wheel drive across the country
- Spend a day at Sanyang Beach, one of Gambia’s loveliest shores
- Camp or join a boat tour to Gambia River National Park to see baboons, chimpanzees and crocodiles
- Take an excursion to James Island to see the historic slave station, Roots
- Shop in the bustling markets of Serrekunda and Banjul
- Witness wrestling matches
- Attend a traditional wedding, public concert or baptism to see kora performances