Gambia Holidays 2019
The Gambia is a small country situated in West Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, known as 'the smiling coast'.
The sub-tropical climate, exotic nature reserves, dazzling beaches and vibrant fishing villages, make it a haven for tourists who love the outdoors. Find out even more reasons why we love the Gambia.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 6h 30m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Things to do in Gambia
The beaches and slow-paced way of life are undoubtedly Gambia’s biggest draws, but this country has plenty more to captivate visitors. The Gambian capital of Banjul is a fascinating little port city, which hosts the colourful King Albert Market, a treasure trove of food, textiles, crafts and more. Check out the top 10 things to do in Gambia here.
Things to do in Kololi:
- Bijilo National Park – This nature reserve is perfect for birdwatching and admiring tropical plants. You may also come across other wildlife like monkeys.
- Senegambia Craft Market – If you love the hustle and bustle of markets, you’ll love it here. There’s a wide range of stalls offering a variety of items from souvenirs to wooden crafts.
- Katchikally Crocodile Pool – Located in Bakau, this sacred pool features crocodiles and is known for fertility rituals.
Things to do in Kotu:
- Play golf – In Kotu, you’ll find many golf clubs near the resort’s main strip. Head to Fajara Golf Club for a competitive game of golf across 18 holes.
- Visit Kololi – The resort of Kololi is close-by, so it is worth visiting for a day where you can see the market and other sights.
Things to do in Cape Point:
- Bakau Craft Market – Roam around this market and discover a range of arts and crafts.
- Head out on a safari – Gambia is home to wonderful wildlife, so there’s no better way to see them than with a safari in the Cape Point area.
- Bakau Botanical Gardens – There are hundreds of different birds here as well as reptiles.
Gambia family holidays
Gambia is a fantastic destination for a family holiday. The guaranteed sunshine and sandy beaches are a big draw, but the Gambia also gives kids the chance to get up close with all kinds of exotic wildlife. The Abuko Nature Reserve in Banjul is a fantastic place for kids to explore, with monkeys, crocodiles and all kinds of exotic birds to spot. Other animal-themed attractions include the Bijilo Forest Park (known as ‘Monkey Park’) near Kololi and the Kachikally Crocodile Park, in Bakau’s Old Town. A cruise along the Gambia River is always a hit, particularly if your kids spot the endangered hippopotamus. In Tanji, your kids might enjoy the Tanji Village Museum, a recreation of a traditional Mandinka village, where you can see performances of local music and dance, or join in with craft-making workshops.
Top family-friendly hotels in Gambia:
Gambia history and culture
The Gambia boasts two fascinating UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites which should not be missed. The first is Albreda, Juffureh, and Kunta Kinteh Island (also known as Fort James Island), a collection of three sites relating to the slave trade on the shores of the River Gambia.
The second is the Wassu National Monument, a remarkable collection of ancient standing stones erected between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD to mark the burial mounds of kings. For an insight into traditional Gambian life, visit the Tanji Village Museum, which has a recreation of a traditional Mandinka village that you can explore, and also hosts displays of local music and dance and craft-making workshops. The Makasutu Culture Forest, a private reserve, is also a good place to see traditional music and dance, as well as to explore the beautiful nature trails along the river bank.
Gambia is no clubbing hotspot, but there’s still plenty going on in the evenings.
Kololi - one of the liveliest resorts which is also home to ‘The Strip’. This stretch of road (officially known as the ‘Senegambia Strip’) which leads down to the beach is without doubt the epicentre of Gambia’s nightlife. It is packed with cocktail bars, pubs, jazz bars, restaurants and clubs – you’ll find something to suit all tastes.
The all inclusive hotels offer their own range of nightlife, from sophisticated cocktail bars to live bands. If you’re looking for something more relaxed, there are lots of laid-back parties on the beach, as well as local open-air bars playing African music.
The Gambia has an 80-kilometre-long coastline, making it perfect for beach holidays.
- Kotu Beach –the focal point of the vibrant resort of Kotu, is one of the most beautiful and best equipped beaches. Amenities include parasol-rental, beach cafés, and facilities for water sports.
- Kololi Beach – This beach can get busy due to its popularity, but it is still lovely for a stroll. It’s also great when you’re feeling a bit peckish as there are loads of restaurants and bars nearby.
- Bijilo Beach – This beach can be found in the south of Kololi. It is quite a secluded spot and is also quiet and peaceful.
- Brufut Beach – Yet another quiet beach, if you’re looking for a peaceful beach day, this is the place to go.
- Cape Point Beach – You’ll have plenty of space here as well as sun loungers and thatched parasols. With a beach bar towards the east of the beach, you’ll have everything you need when it comes to food and drink.
Couples holidays in Gambia
Romance is built into the Gambian way of life, which is slow and relaxed. You can amble hand in hand along beaches of golden sand, stop for a relaxed drink at a beach bar, and watch the sun set. There are lots of places along the Gambian coast where you can forget the rest of the world exists and just enjoy each other’s company. You could pamper yourselves with a couples’ massage and spa treatment or enjoy a delicious seafood dinner right by the water’s edge. You could take a kayak or a cruise along the Gambia River, or sign up for an activity – there are plenty to choose from, whether you’re foodies and want to do a cooking class, or prefer something musical like a class in African drumming or traditional dance.
Top hotels for couples:
Food in Gambia
While you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving international cuisine in the main resorts, it’s well worth seeking out local eateries to try delicious Gambian dishes. Traditionally, Gambians gather around a large platter of food and eat it together, using their right hands. White rice is a staple, usually topped with different kinds of stews and sauces.
One of the most popular is domada, a tasty peanut stew with tomatoes and onions, or okra stew, which is made with beef, okra, vegetables and spices. Another favourite is benachin, a rich stew which is usually made with fish but occasionally prepared with chicken. Yassais a tasty chicken dish with chilli, lime and onion; sometimes it is made with seafood or vegetables. To drink, try some baobab juice or the surprisingly potent palm wine.
You can get excellent value for money during your holiday in Gambia. Eating out can be cheap to come by. In fact, a three course meal for two can cost you around £35. Drinks can be quite cheap too with a can of fizzy drink costing 90p and beers for the same price.
People also ask
Is it safe to travel to Gambia?
Travel in Gambia is typically trouble free, however tourists should take the usual safety precautions. One of the most common crimes is pickpocketing so keep any valuables safe at all times. As a tourist, you may come across ‘bumsters’, these are often young men offering help in the form of being a guide etc in order to earn money. Remember to check for foreign travel advice before your trip.
How long is the flight?
The flight from the UK to Gambia is approximately 6 hours.
What are the hottest and coldest months in Gambia?
The hottest months are April and May whilst the coldest month is January, although it is still warm during this time.
When is the best time to visit Gambia?
During the dry season which runs from October – June, these months experience great temperatures and a lack of humidity.