5 top tips on how to get the best of your Gambia5 mins read
The legendary country of The Gambia offers much more than just a sunbathing holiday or being a winter sun-filled destination. It has countless experiences to offer and you can easily pack up a week or two with a variation of activities! Perhaps one visit is not enough, a third or fourth visit maybe required! Don’t worry, we have collected a few tips on how you can make the most out of your Gambia experience! They are the following:
- Be curious and go local
Don’t be a hermit and sit inside of your hotel area. – get out of your comfort zone and explore! Likewise, add value to your experiences and visit places with a local guide. Tell them what interests you and what you want to explore, they will try to include everything to your needs. That was you will get one of a kind experience, in fact once in a lifetime! How about asking for day trips that re not necessarily on their normal tourist menu? The local dishes are very tasteful. Why not learn how to cook them, so you can brag by showing and serving your friends and family back home!
Gambians are also very friendly and welcoming; so don’t be surprised if they invite you home to meet their family!
- Be active and walk the beach stretch and the trails
The Gambia faces the serene Atlantic Ocean with a stretch of 80 km from the north to south. The whole stretch is the beach. During a week, you can easily walk the length of segments of it. Try walking from the lodge to lodge and consume the varieties of what the beaches have to offer.
Visit the peaceful and stunning Jinack Island where you will hardly come across a single sole. Cross the river to the busy Banjul, pass the beaches where most tourists visit before you enter the south part of the stretch. Then, from Tanje fishing village make your way down via Sanyang, Gunjur and then to Kartong. You will meet less and fewer people there…
Or try another alternative and walk the trails off-road and the beach. This country offers a wide range of rails which connects villages and nature. The alluring gorgeous walk (or cycle) will enable you to meet the lovely locals and places in a different (more eco-friendly) way than if you travel in a car!
However, there a few golden rules to remember to make your walks the best!
Remember to walk during the morning or late afternoon. Why? Because it will get extremely hot in the middle of the day!
If you’re planning to walk for a full day, implement a lunch break during the hottest time of the day! Always carry lots of water and protect yourself from the blistering sun! Likewise, do you research so you know how far you have to walk before the next beach civilisation! Therefore, happy walking.
- Be adventurous, meet the hippos and the chimps as you follow the cotton trail
Most people spend their holiday along the coast only. Why not be adventurous and travel a few days up the country?
If you do, you will see a different Gambia and the cotton trail that connects it all. Journey to the easternmost town in the Gambia, Basse which is famous for its market that connects traders from Mali, Senegal, Guinea and other West African countries. Some km beyond Basse, meet the farmers living in the most pristine villages.
Take a boat-trip on the river to witness the remarkable wildlife such as the chimpanzees and the hippos. This is one of the must-do experiences in this part of the country. Afterwards, visit the UNESCO-listed WASSU stone circles. Then, halfway down to the cost stop at Njau village and meet up with the incredible women’s initiative. They turn waste into a craft! Also, they are in charge of spinning the cotton.
Finally, make a stop in Brikama to meet a group of cotton weavers, with traditions through generations. Back on the coast, one of Gambia´s most famous artist will show you the work he does with the cotton!
There you go – a length long Gambia experience connected by the cotton!
- Keep an open mind and stay at an eco-lodge off the beaten track
The Gambia is a small country, and you don’t need to travel far to be able to move away from the busy tourist area. Less than an hour away from the airport you can spend your holiday at a beautiful eco-lodge located in the bush and by the sea. In a completely tranquil environment. Also, they have composting toilets (which do not smell!) and grey water usage.
Their high-class kitchen provides a menu that changes every day and their dishes are based on their local ingredients they can source each day. All the staff are from the surrounding villages. Whilst there you can take a dip into the only freshwater pool in The Gambia.
This lodge is in an ideal location as there are many trails around to either work or cycle. Next door to you is a protected forest which holds a rich biodiversity. Join a local expert to learn about the variety and local use of the different trees as well as vegetation! Or walk 30 minutes in to Gunjur village where you can explore local culture and interact with the people.
- Be an outsider and travel off-season
Did you know that there is absolutely no reason why you should not visit The Gambia in May and into June? The weather is still warm and dry during the day. During the evenings it’s nice and cool also. This season is reserved for tasty mangos and cashews. Most of the tourists have left the Gambia leaving you with a different experience than if you travel during the main season. This is also the time when the flowers as blooming and showcasing spectacular colours. If you are lucky, you will also catch one of the first heavy rainfalls that will totally change the scenery afterwards! Or, come in October and catch the last leg of the rainfalls (it might even have stopped by then!). All shades of green await you!
Do you want to experience The Gambia? One of the head honchos at the Ethical Travel Portal is in The Gambia a few months every year. Linda is happy to tailor your dream holiday to the smiling coast of West Africa. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.