An introduction to The Gambia, West Africa’s ‘smiling coast’

An ideal location to soak up some well-needed winter (or summer) sunshine, this small country just six hours away on Africa’s western coast provides so much more than just glorious, 30 degree weather.

Known as the ‘smiling coast’, visitors will quickly become accustomed to the friendly locals, demonstrating with huge smiles how delighted they are that you’ve come to visit!

Although not particularly well-known on the UK tourist’s radar, The Gambia in fact is a great destination for beach lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, and culture seekers alike. It’s a fantastic introduction to Africa, where you can experience Gambians’ vibrant culture and favourite pastimes such as African drumming and dancing.

The Gambia’s large uncrowded beaches offer the perfect place to relax in the warm African sunshine, where you can listen to waves lap up the shore and watch fruit ladies carrying baskets on their heads stroll across the sand. Cape Point and Kololi’s beaches are particularly impressive expanses of golden sand, where you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to lay down your beach towel.

Cape Point Beach

Cape Point Beach

A true haven for birdwatchers, The Gambia is home to over 500 species. From stunningly colourful birds such as the Blue-Breasted Kingfisher through to the globally endangered Hooded Vulture, there’s plenty to see through a pair of binoculars.


Malachite Kingfisher at Kotu stream Image credit: Kathryn Burrington

Visiting a local craft market when in The Gambia is a must. With hand-sculpted wooden ornaments and masks, along with brightly coloured clothing and all manner of little trinkets, you’ll certainly find a souvenir or two to bring home with you. Bakau market is one of the best, but don’t forget to haggle to bring the price down!

The Gambia also offers some truly unique accommodation options. Perhaps you’d like to spend a few nights in the depths of the Makasutu forest, sleeping in a floating lodge on the river surrounded by fantastic wildlife? Or, maybe you’re looking for an intimate beach break staying at a property which is peaceful and homely?


Mandina Lodges, Makasutu Forest

With plenty on offer for all manner of holidaymaker, from the beautiful golden beaches right through to some truly exhilarating wildlife experiences – such as stroking a crocodile! – The Gambia is a colourful, exciting and vibrant destination, offering each and every guest a taste of the ‘real Africa’.


Find out more about holidays to The Gambia by visiting The Gambia Experience.


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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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