Holidays to Gambia offer a small taste of West Africa. Bordered by Senegal with just 50 miles of coastline to call its own, you’ll be surprised by the amount of beauty you’ll find here. Alongside its famous waterways, you’ve got beautiful reserves housing monkeys, crocs and hippos as well as unspoilt beaches promising incredible sunset viewings. Then there’s the people! Nicknamed the ‘Smiling Coast’ the locals here are even more pleasant than the tropical climate.
Things to do
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Gambia, this tiny African country certainly packs in a lot, from its long history to its colourful culture and abundance of wildlife.
Get your binoculars at the ready because Gambia’s animal sightings are one-of-a-kind. Birdwatchers will be in their element with over 500 species hiding in its reserves. But it’s not just birds you’ll spot here. Head to Bijilo Forest Park and observe patas monkeys and monitor lizards hiding among the vegetation.
Or, visit Gambia’s very first reserve Abuko, whose small orphanage rehabilitates hyenas and birds. This is also where you can see its Nile crocs. Speaking of crocs, Kachikally Crocodile Pool is one of Bakau’s biggest attractions. This sacred space is often visited by locals, as its fresh waters are said to treat infertility.
Once you’re done searching for Gambia’s native creatures, it’s time to hit the beach. Right by the mouth of River Gambia, is Cape Point. This family-friendly spot is ideal for relaxing with its thatched parasols and soft grains perfect for building sandcastles.
Swimming is off the cards due to the unpredictable currents, but there’s plenty of tidal pools close by if you need to keep cool. While the touristy Kotu Beach is your safest option with its lifeguard surveillance, Kololi is just as popular with its backing of bars and evening dance troupes. For some off-the-radar sunbathing, opt for Bijilo’s remote shoreline.
But no trip would be complete without a waterway adventure cruising down the famous Gambia River. When you’re not enjoying the sunshine up on the top deck, you could be watching locals going about their daily business, from fishermen catching their bait to women collecting oysters.
For a greater insight into native life, stop by one of the country’s traditional hamlets. Wander the quiet Kololi village and get involved with crafts, or learn a local dance. Want to cook up a storm with a Gambian style culinary lesson? Then, Brufut Heights is just the spot with its renowned cooking school. With guidance from Ida (who has over 20 years experience in the industry) learn how to rustle up an authentic meal from scratch.
Those interested in history are in luck too. Gambia’s past, although linked with the slave trade, is extremely fascinating. Fort James Island (aka Kunta Kinteh Island) is a great day-trip option with its ruined forts and prisons, once used to detain slaves. If you fancy some historical sightseeing in the capital, there’s plenty of colonial architecture worth admiring. Not to mention the impressive 114-foot Arch 22, which was built to mark the military coup d'état of July 22.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Banjul Beach | Bijilo | Brufut Heights | Kololi Beach | Kotu Beach