A beach and bird-lovers paradise
For a country that is just 500km long and 50km wide, the Gambia packs a mighty punch as a beach holiday hotspot. Glorious sandy stretches rest next to the Atlantic Ocean providing sun-worshippers with a piece of paradise. Add to this the manageable 6-hour flight and no time difference with the UK - and therefore no jet lag - and you’ve got yourself an extremely tempting destination. But it’s not just beaches that are popular in Gambia: bird-lovers are also seduced by Africa’s smallest country, drawn by the numerous species that reside in its compact territory. Gambia’s capital, Banjul, is a port town located near the mouth of the Gambia River, and its bustling markets and harbour scene make for an interesting diversion from the beach.
Up to 10 hours of sunshine a day, heavenly white sandy beaches, the opportunity to get close to nature, friendly locals, delicious fresh fish and colourful markets make for a memorable trip. Gambia is a wonderful place to rest and unwind while sampling African culture.
When to Go?
The dry, warm months from November to February are considered the best times to visit Banjul, this is also a great time to see the birds and wildlife. The wet season runs from late June to October and the heat and humidity encourages short but spectacular rainstorms and some roads become inaccessible.
How to get there?
The tourist season runs from October to April with several scheduled flights to Banjul International Airport (BJL). Shuttle buses and taxis are available to take passengers to the town centre. Direct, year-round flights to Banjul leave from Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham. During the summer East Midlands and Glasgow also operate direct flights.
Test your negotiating skills at Banjul’s market where bargaining for everything from crafts to shoes is the name of the game. Pack your camera and take a tour of River Gambia National Park, also known as Baboon Island. Chimps, hippos, snakes, and exotic birds abound, a visit here is truly exhilarating. Taste some of Gambia’s traditional food, such as Domoda - meat stewed in peanut puree and served with rice - or Superkanja - a mix of meat, palm oil, onions and pepper.
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