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The Gambia
The Gambia by Dan Roizer on Unsplash.

Travel Notes: Africa - Gambia Travel Notes.

The Gambia Travel Notes

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The Gambia Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Despite its size, The Gambia packs a punch when it comes to cultural experiences, stunning natural landscapes, and abundant wildlife.

About The Gambia

With beautiful beaches and a rich culture, Gambia is a popular tourist destination in West Africa attracting many package tourists during the European winter.

The Gambia is surrounded by Senegal.

Travel Map Mapping The Gambia

Map of The Gambia

Map of The Gambia

The early states paid tribute to the Mali Empire before creating small riverine kingdoms of their own.

Background Information on The Gambia

The country is named after the Gambia River, which flows through the country and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Portuguese explorers set up trading stations along the river around 1455.

The main ethnic groups in the area, before the arrival of the Europeans, were the Mandingo, Wolof, and Fulani peoples.


The country has a tropical climate, with a rainy season that lasts from June to October and a dry season that lasts from November to May.

Cultural Heritage

The Gambia has a rich cultural heritage, with traditional music and dance playing an important role in daily life.

The country is also known for its colorful textiles and handicrafts, which are often made by local artisans using traditional methods.


The Gambia's economy is largely driven by agriculture, with the main crops being peanuts, rice, and cassava.

Tourism is also an important industry, with visitors attracted to the country's beaches, wildlife reserves, and cultural attractions such as the Juffureh and Albreda Museum.


The official language of The Gambia is English, although many Gambians also speak local languages such as Mandinka, Wolof, and Fula.


Gambia was ruled by a dictatorship under President Yahya Jammeh, who was known for his human rights abuses and suppression of political opposition for many years.

In 2017, Jammeh was forced to step down following a presidential election, and the country is now under a democratically elected government.


The Gambia has a population of approximately 2.4 million people, with the majority living in rural areas.

The British in Gambia

The British purchased Banjul Island from the ruler of a local kingdom in 1816.

They initially resisted expansion into the upper river areas until the European race for African territory began in the 1880s.

Britain then claimed the River Gambia and established The Gambia's present boundaries in an agreement with France in 1889

The British didn't begin to develop The Gambia properly until after World war II.

Administration posts were set up, and The Gambia became independent on February 18, 1965.

River Gambia

The River Gambia rises in the Guinea highlands of the Fouta Djallon and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was sighted by Portuguese sailors in 1446 and explored by the Venetian navigator Alvise da Ca Da Mosto nine years later.

Gambia Tourism

Gambia is a small West African country known for its beautiful beaches, rich cultural heritage, wildlife, and picturesque natural scenery.

Gambia Attractions

The Gambia has a wealth of natural and historical heritage to explore: forts, historic towns and villages, forests, national parks, ancient ruins, museums, historic monuments and wildlife.

Some of the popular tourist destinations in Gambia include Banjul, the capital city, and its surrounding areas such as Bakau, Kololi, and Serrekunda.

One of the main attractions in Gambia is its national parks and reserves.

The Abuko Nature Reserve is a popular destination for birdwatching, while the Kiang West National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including baboons, warthogs, and hyenas.

The River Gambia National Park is also a great place to see hippos and crocodiles in their natural habitat.

Gambian Reptiles Farm

The Gambian Reptiles Farm is located at Kartung.

To get there you need to take the coast road from Serrekunda; passing Tanji, Sanyang and Gunjur. Kartung is five kilometres after Gunjur.

Kunta Kinteh

Another must-visit attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kunta Kinteh Island and related sites.

This area was an important hub of the transatlantic slave trade and played a significant role in the history of the African diaspora.

Makasutu Culture Forest

Set on the banks of the idyllic Mandina Bolong (river) Makasutu Culture Forest is a 1,000-acre reserve.

Encompassing many different eco systems and habitats, the area is home to hundreds of species of birds, not to mention the monkeys, baboons and monitor lizards that make the forest their home.

Gambia Holidays

A Gambia holiday has its own sense of magic.

Unforgettable experiences, uncrowded beaches and welcoming people: it's not hard to see why The Gambia is commonly known as 'The Smiling Coast'.

The largest specialist UK tour operator to The Gambia, The Gambia Experience, share their Top Five Reasons to Visit The Gambia: the warmth of winter sunshine; a diverse range of accommodation; a soft introduction to Africa; feeling anonymous on the beach; and time is on your side.

And we have to agree with all five.

Visiting Gambia

Gambia can be a great destination for those interested in exploring West Africa and experiencing its unique culture and natural beauty.

When visiting Gambia, it's important to take some precautions to stay safe, such as avoiding areas with high crime rates and being careful when using public transportation.

It's also a good idea to check the latest travel advisories from your country's embassy or consulate before you go.

Getting Around Gambia

Green Tourist Taxis

If you're staying at one of the tourist hotels and want to explore on your own, you'll find these taxis ready to take you where you want.

Yellow and Green Taxis

These are the shared taxis that run on certain routes or may even be parked at the side of the road for individual hire.

Bush Taxis

The collective taxis can get pretty crowded and you'll see them running around the country.


There are a number of ferry crossings along the river ranging from the large Banjul-Barra ferry ship to smaller wooden platforms, with only enough room for a handful of cars.


The capital of The Gambia lies on a sandy peninsula between the mouth of the River Gambia and the Atlantic Ocean.

Map of Banjul

Map of Banjul

Founded as Bathurst by the British in 1816, the port started as a base for suppressing the slave trade.

Bathurst was the capital when The Gambia gained independence in 1965, and the name was changed to Banjul in 1973.

Before the July 1994 coup an increasing number of charter flights flew in to Yundum, near Banjul, with Europeans seeking relatively exotic holidays of sun and sand when it's cold and dark at home.

The more adventurous travel upriver to Basse Santa Su, or visit the Cassamance region in neighbouring Senegal.

Gambia Accommodation

Where to Stay in Bakau

On the coast, 30 minutes from Banjul.

Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort

Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort: Koffi Annan Street Cape Point PO Box 4065, Bakau, The Gambia.

This luxurious first class hotel is located in the very heart of Cape Point; Gambia's finest beach district. Simply walk out the resort's gate and find yourself on miles of pristine beach.

Guests at the Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort loved the bar, excellent in-house restaurant, and comfortable beds.

Hotels in Bakau.

Where to Stay in Fajara

Fajara is a coastal suburb of Bakau.

Ngala Lodge

Ngala Lodge

Ngala Lodge: 64 Atlantic Boulevard, Fajara, The Gambia.

An intimate boutique hotel with uniquely decorated, luxurious suites. Each suite has a private balcony and most of them have a stunning view over the garden and sea.

Set in lush tropical gardens and overlooking the ocean, Ngala Lodge is a haven of peace and comfort.


Footsteps Eco-Lodge

Footsteps Eco-Lodge

Footsteps Eco-Lodge: South Kombo Region, Gunjur.

David White caters for individual travellers and small groups alike, offering a quiet tranquil setting for an ideal Gambia holiday.

The Eco-friendly Gambia accommodation at Footsteps is off-grid, which means no generator noise or unnecessary carbon emissions; so bring a torch in case you come home a little later than expected.

Eco Lodges in Gunjur.

Where to Stay in Kololi

Kairaba Beach Hotel

Kairaba Beach Hotel: Pmb 390, Serrekunda, The Gambia.

Built in a Portuguese style, the two-storey houses feature spacious balconies with views of the ocean or beautiful landscaped gardens and central pool.

Set among 40 acres of mature gardens with fish ponds and over a hundred types of plants and trees, guests at the Kairaba Beach Hotel loved the impressive views, delicious breakfast and comfortable rooms.

Hotels in Kololi.

Gambia Directories

Access Gambia

Access Gambia has thousands of pages of detailed information about The Gambia.

Gambia Maps and Travel Guides

The Gambia (Bradt Travel Guides) Senegal & The Gambia Map - Reise Know-How Verlag

Gambia Travel Guides - Gambia Maps.

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