For many years now, The Gambia has been a firm favourite amongst UK travellers in search of winter sun. The shortish (6 ½ hrs) jet-lag free flight and guaranteed sunshine have been the main draws, aided by the fact that the locals speak English.
The Gambia has miles of stunning golden sandy beaches – including Cape Point, Bakau, Kotu, Kololi and Bijoli. Hotels from 3 star budget to 5-star luxury line the coastline that basks in temperatures of between 26-34 degrees all year round, making it a perfect R&R location. And its noticeable when you talk to UK visitors in The Gambia how often they mention that, "we come back every year".
The future of tourism in The Gambia
We see that the potential growth in tourism for The Gambia will not be restricted to sunseekers, as slowly, more visitors are recognising that there is so much more to be discovered just a short distance away from the coast. The kind of attractions that draw the modern tourism, keen to experience the true nature of their chosen destination.
Voyage deeper into the country to experience the very best that West Africa has to offer – bustling markets (including the Senegambia), vibrant villages, truly welcoming local people, African food to savour and wildlife viewings to delight in.
The Gambia is one of the world's premier birding destinations, with over 600 species to be seen. It is in a transition zone between semi desert and tropical forests, so you find species from both those areas, along with endemic West African species. It also hosts large numbers of migratory birds, who either pass through or stay for the winter. The Gambia is thankfully blessed with a phlethora of outstanding professional birding guides, who combine their expert knowledge with a genuine passion for avian life.
The Gambia also plays host to a surprisingly wide array of mammals, with primates being a firm favour for many visitors. As well as chimpanzees (especially in Abuku NR or at the rehabilitation project), other top sightings include green vervet monkeys and the endangered western red colobus, which can regularly be seen in Bijolo Forest Park.
The entire country mirrors the flow of the River Gambia. Travel along its length and you will pass working fishing villages, busy markets and witness the everyday life of our local people. Stop a while and you'll soon be invited into local homes to chat and share a meal or drink.
The Gambia River National Park, with its five islands (including Baboon Island) provides plenty of opportunities to see the country’s abundant wildlife including primates, hippos, crocodiles and small antelopes.
Wassu in the North, is home to numerous mystical sites made up of ancient stone circles. UNESCO states that they are the largest concentration in the world. Said to be burial places, as well as ceremonial sites, they have been in place from anywhere between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD.
Elsewhere its possible to visit the village of Juffure, made famous by Alex Hayley’s best-selling book and TV series, Roots. From here his ancestor was dragged into slavery and taken to the USA. Also nearby is the Albreda slavery museum and the ruins of Fort James Island.
All-in-all, Kamageo believes The Gambia has the potential to become a destination where you might not even visit the coast, or save this for some R&R at the end of a tour.
The Gambia is known as 'The Smiling Coast of Africa' for good reason. Gambians are renowned throughout the region for being warm, friendly and hospitable...and as we've said, you'll smile too if you give this charming country a try.