Africa’s smallest nation certainly punches above its weight when it comes to sun, sea and adventure. Nestling on the Western edge of Africa and completely enveloped by Senegal, the Gambia has developed a unique national character to match its outstanding climate.
Over the past couple of decades Gambia has become one of the safest and best loved ways to enjoy some African sun. With bustling towns and vibrant wildlife there’s a huge amount to explore beyond the picturesque coastal resorts. The locals are famous for giving tourists a warm welcome and we’re sure you’ll learn to love a cheeky haggle in one of Gambia’s colourful street markets.
Gambia’s tourist industry is entering a new phase of development with eco-friendly and boutique hotels popping up to cater for every taste.
The Gambia has a unique and mysterious history. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Wassu Stone Circles. Like a giant African Stone Henge, this UNESCO world heritage site sprawls over many miles and across the border into Senegal. The site features over 29,000 stones in 2000 unique locations, that are believed to be nearly 2000 years old.
One free activity it’s hard not to engage with is watching Gambia’s outstanding bird-life. The country is regularly voted as a leader in bio-diversity and specially tailored tours can be found that take budding twitchers deep into Gambia’s beautiful national parks. Icelolly.com is sure that the Gambia has the power to turn even the laziest of beach bums into a bunch of sun-kissed Bill Oddie’s.
For those who want some serious relaxation but want to try something a little different from Gambia’s sandy beaches, a gentle river cruise is the way to go. Sip on a cold beer as you drift past ancient villages and watch the sun set on one of the world’s mightiest rivers.
Food in Gambia, like most of West Africa, is full of intense flavours based around wholesome rice dishes and stews. Gambians see food as a very social activity and prefer to cook in large groups rather than catering for individual tastes.Gambia’s most famous dish is ‘Domoda’. This rich stew uses concentrated peanut paste to give it its unique flavour and can be found everywhere from street vendors to beach bars.
Due to the coastal location and the mighty River Gambia that flows through the heart of the country, fish is understandably a large part of Gambian cuisine. ‘Fish Yassa’ uses fresh fish grilled with onions, lime and lemons to give it a sharp tangy flavour.
Another Gambian favourite is ‘Benachin’. The name Benachin derives from the local term for ‘cooking in one pot’, so as you might expect, this dish is made with a kind of ‘anything goes’ approach. This opens the door for bold and unexpected flavours, dependant on the personality of that day’s chef.
Fine dining is yet to really take off in the Gambia but almost all hotel restaurants serve high quality international cuisine, so you will never be without a few home comforts.
Additional passport stamps are required for stays of longer than 28 days and visas are neccessary for stays of longer than 3 months.
Mandatory airport tax of around £20 to be paid on exiting the country.
Check with Doctor 8 weeks prior to departure for neccessary vaccinations.
Gambia currently has a zero-tollerance policy towards the LGBT community.
Beware of young men known as 'Bumsters' who will approach tourists offering illegal goods and excursions.
Banjul is Gambia's charming capital and gives holidaymakers the opportunity to haggle for a souvenir at one of the busy African markets.