Africa is the second-largest continent in the world, next only to Asia, both in size and population. Within it is the country of the Gambia, the mainland’s smallest country. So come and explore Gambia where it is surrounded entirely by Senegal, except for its western coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean. Even so, the African republic’s diminutive size belies its significance to the region’s tourism economy.
It is very easy to fall in love with the country’s 80-km stretch of stunning beaches lined with swaying palms, its picturesque lagoons, the charming fishing villages, numerous coastal reserves, and other natural endowments. Once you explore Gambia, you would never want to leave.
The Gambia has a lot to offer for visiting tourists, and you will find some of them below. Still, none of these endowments come close to the country’s most enticing treasure: the smiling faces of the friendly Gambian people.
Spend Time at the Atlantic Coast Resorts
The Atlantic Coast resorts consist of Bakau, Fajara, Kotu Strand, and Kololi. This is where tourists come in droves for some sun, sand, and sea. What makes it a great tourist destination is that after spending long days frolicking at the beach, you can keep the fun going with the active nightlife in the area. It is a great way to spend a vacation with friends and loved ones.
Visit the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project
This facility is the heart and soul of River Gambia National Park, one of the most important wildlife sites in the country. It consists of many small islands, the primary of which is the so-called Baboon Island. The term Baboon Island is a misnomer since it is basically a sanctuary for chimps. Over 100 primates in four separate communities live in it and three other nearby islands.
Tourists are not allowed to set foot on the island, but there are guided boat tours that ply the surrounding waters regularly. During the tour, you can also see all the other wildlife in the area, including hippos, crocodiles, manatees, birds, and other primates. Curiously enough, there are also baboons in the area, along with red colobus and green vervet monkeys, but chimpanzees are the main attraction.
Soak in the Rich History of Banjul
Banjul is The Gambia’s capital and is the center of the country’s culture and history. You can try their guided cultural and historical tours, some of which have an itinerary that lasts for over a week. During the tour, you can see significant historical landmarks such as the Arch 22, the Albert Market, and Gambia National Museum. From there, you could also take a peek back in time with Dakar City’s cathedral, the presidential palace, and the renaissance monument. You can also visit the slave house walk at Goree Island.
Explore the Bijilo Forest Park
The Bijilo Forest Park is a 51-hectare reserve consisting of a series of engaging walking trails. These paths range from 900 meters to 1,400 meters and will take you through gallery forest, rich flora, grasslands, and even dunes. While traversing the trail, you will most likely encounter several patas, red colobus, and green vervet monkeys. Monitor lizards are also a common sight.
Bird-watching is another activity that you can do in the area, but it is best experienced on the coastal side. There are over 100 species to look out for, including grey hornbills, ospreys, Caspian terns, francolins, and wood doves. To get the most out of the experience, you could shell out some extra cash for a tour guide.
Meet the Animals at the Abuko Nature Reserve
Abuko is relatively tiny (especially in Africa), easy to reach, and can be explored on foot. Nevertheless, it offers a unique African wildlife reserve experience that you should not miss.
Rich in flora and fauna, Abuko is known as the best bird-watching location in the region. Nile crocodiles and other reptiles are also some of its biggest draws.
The 106-hectare reserve is traversed by several 5-kilometer paths, many leading to a strategically-located field station, which offers an excellent view over a wildlife-filled watering hole. Abuko is also the only place in the country where you can observe rare birds such as green and violet turacos, western bluebills, and white-spotted flufftails.
Gambia is as small as it is beautiful, a must-see destination in Africa. With its scenic landscape, unique wildlife, and friendly locals, it is a perfect stop for your next vacation.