Best time to visit: December, January, February, March
Average high: 34˚C
Average low: 21˚C
Price of meals: 1/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Romantic
The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty and heart. It can be tempting to think the cosy beaches, year-round sunshine and diverse wildlife are the main attractions of this beautiful country. However, the real appeal is Gambia’s welcoming people. No wonder it is called the smiling coast of Africa!
Holidaymakers craving sunshine can reliably consider Gambia a top destination choice. Even in the summer wet season, sunshine is plentiful, the weather is hot and the Atlantic Ocean is warm and inviting. Quiet beaches, like the pristine Brufut Beach, will feel like private paradises, while more tourist-friendly beaches are full of water sports activities.
The Gambia is proud of its nature and the small country is full of nature parks, reserves and wildlife observation spots. The most important of these reserves is Abuko, which was built not only to protect the wildlife of antelope, crocodiles, birds, porcupines and galagos, but also the water reserve of the surrounding communities. Visitors wanting to get up close with the various species of monkey can take a trip to Bijilo Forest Park. If you’re a reptile fan, head to Kachikally Crocodile Pool to view its residents and hear about the healing powers of the water. Speaking of water, no trip to Gambia is complete without a river cruise along the Gambia River; the beating heart of the nation.
It is worth taking a trip to some of the nearby towns and villages to learn the culture and meet the happy residents. Banjul is full of colonial architecture, an exciting museum and the chaotic but ever-eventful Albert Market. Tanji Village is a relaxing place to enjoy the beach while observing the more traditional lifestyle. Conversely, Serrekunda is The Gambia’s largest town and the best place to watch the nation’s favourite pastime: wrestling.
The Gambia enjoys high temperatures throughout the year and there is a high likelihood of hitting the high twenties and low thirties even in the winter months. Winter is the best time to visit if you want to avoid the highest temperatures later in the year but still soak up some winter sunshine. Those of you preferring even hotter temperatures will still get reliable sun in April and May and October and November, but stay on the Atlantic coast for a chance to use the water and the breeze to counter the high humidity elsewhere in the country. The wet season begins at the end of June and lasts until mid-September and rainfall is high. However, it is the best time to visit for nature lovers wanting to experience the active wildlife of the rainforest.
The Gambia is an excellent holiday location for tourists travelling on a budget or looking for delicious, local food for low prices. Meat, rice, eggs and cheese are all cheap. Consequently, an inexpensive meal for one rarely costs more than £2, while a three-course meal for two averages just £25. Water is cheap, too, at only 50p a bottle. However, alcohol and coffee, while not expensive, are imported and so more costly than local goods; each averages about £2, whether it’s a bottle of beer or a cup of cappuccino.
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