The Gambia

The Gambia
The Kombo beach hotel resort, Gambia

Gambia is famously called the smiling coast of Africa. Situated in the Western Coast of Africa, this beautiful country is a safe place for many tourists from all around the world and if you’re after some winter sunshine, then, look no further because you are guaranteed hours of sunshine, warmth and the beauty of nature.

Boats on the Harbour, River Gambia

The best time to travel to The Gambia is between October to April. The rainy season lasts for four months between June- September. The average daytime temperature is between 29-35 degrees C with sunshine all year. The sun rises around 7:15am and sets at about 7:15pm. There is a long stretch of beach and coastline along the west with a great unspoilt view and sound of the Atlantic ocean.

What's the food like?

The hoteliers are used to catering for guests from all around the world and so you will find something to suit your taste. The local food is delicious and full of flavour and spices. The main traditional Gambian dishes are served with rice, and include Benachin, Domoda and Yassa. These could be meat or fish based.

Fish Domoda and rice

What's the currency used in the Gambia?

The local currency is the Dalasi. At the time of writing, the exchange rate is 84 Dalasi to 1 British pound.

50 Dalasis

 Things to do in Gambia

You will never get short of what to do in the Gambia. You can choose to have a lazy day and just chill on a beach bench all day long, stroll, or jog along the coast line whilst listening to the crashing waves of the Atlantic ocean, or you may wish to venture out and see other things.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The Kachikally Crocodile Pool and Museum

This is an interesting place to visit. The locals believe that the crocodile pool at Bakau is sacred and that bathing with the waters bring you good luck. The crocodiles settled here many years ago, and are so used to humans being around them. Please be guided and listen to the guides so that you behave accordingly when close to the crocodiles.

Kachikally crocodile pool and museum, Bakau
Kachikally crocodile pool
  1. Walk or jog along the  beach

It so relaxing to simply walk or jog along the beach. Many locals and tourists jog and exercise along this vast stretch, especially in the mornings and late afternoons when the sun is not overhead. There is something just so relaxing about this. Don't be surprised if you're approached by locals who may offer to sell you things. Thankfully, it's not common and if you're not interested, simply say, 'no, thank you', and you will be left alone.

Kotu beach
  1. Visit Fathala Wildlife Reserve

The Fathala wildlife reserve is a Safari in Senegal so you can make it a day trip. The wildlife include giraffes, lions, buffalos, antelopes, monkeys, warthogs, snakes, various birds and much more. If staying on the South side of Gambia, you will cross the River Gambia with a ferry and continue into Senegal. The tour guides are usually very good and supply you with cold drinks and a meal is often included in the package day trip. I noticed that Senegal was slightly hotter than Gambia, so please stay refreshed. If staying at a hotel, you can ask for a breakfast tray to be packed up for you as you would often be picked up early by the tourist guide to start your journey.

There is a wide range of animals and birds to see here. I would suggest having a set of binoculars, incase the animals move away from your truck. It's also a good way to get a closer look at the birds and other wildlife.

  1. Bird watching

There are so many birds to see in the Gambia.  You can hire an official guide who can spot and tell you the names of the species but there are so many birds in Gambia, that you just need to find a good place and you'll spot quite a range. If you're staying near Kotu, the Kotu bridge- just by the canal, is a great place to start. The guides have their office by the canal and they are very knowledgeable.

An Abyssinian Roller perching on a branch
Kotu Creek, a perfect spot for bird watching
  1. Visit Kunta Kinte Island

There is so much history from the Mandinka tribe and the beginning of the slave trade here. There is also a small museum which holds a lot of history. You may be charged a very small sum of 50 Dalasis (at the time of writing) to take pictures inside the museum.

The signpost on the wall of the slave trade museum, Juffureh, Gambia
Kunta Kinte Island, Juffureh, Gambia
  1. Visit the craft market in Bakao or Senegambia 

There is a wide range of hand made crafts in the Gambia. Why not visit the craft markets at Bakao or Senegambia and support the locals by buying some of their beautiful artwork, which range from seashells and trinkets to wood carved crafts.

  1. Bijilo Monkey Park

 Here, you'll find the green vervet monkeys. They are now so used to humans and can be fun to watch. You may also spot a Western Red Colobus monkeys but they don't come as close as the vervet monkeys so keep a keen eye out for them. As at March, 2023, the entrance fee to the park was 300 Dalasis.

Signpost for the Bijilo forest Park

Things to pack when visiting

  1. Yellow fever certificate

You are required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry into Gambia. Also, note that this will be required if you want to travel to neighbouring countries such as Senegal. There are also people who may be exempt from having the yellow fever vaccination, if you fall into this category, you may be provided with an exemption letter from your local vaccination centre or clinic.

  1. Malaria tablets

Protect yourself from the possibility of contracting malaria by getting anti-malaria tablets and bite repellants from your local pharmacy:

Atovaquone/proguanil (also known as malarone)




  1. Sunscreen

Protect yourself from the sun and use a good sunscreen.

  1. Chargers and adapters- If travelling from the UK, the sockets would be similar but remember to get your adapters if visiting The Gambia from other countries which may require conversion.
  2. $20 (U.S) during entry and departure security fee from the airport
  3. Loose, light clothing and slippers- it's hot!


Gambia is a warm, safe country to visit. Remember that all work and no play is bad for your health, so I hope this post will inspire you to take time out of your regular schedule to rest, relax and re-energise. Perhaps you'll visit The Gambia one day and let me know which me of these activities you did.

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