The Gambia

The smiling coast of Africa, where the beaches are never overcrowded and a warm welcome awaits.

Scroll down to see all my blog posts,
reviews and round ups from The Gambia

Birdwatching in The Gambia, West Africa

With over 540 species of birds, The Gambia in West Africa, offers superb birdwatching opportunities. With its beautiful beaches, colourful culture, monkeys, markets and more, all just a 6-hour flight away from the UK, it’s a fabulous holiday destination for all.

Coco Ocean, a luxurious beachside hotel and sumptuous spa in The Gambia

Coco Ocean Resort & Spa is the most luxurious hotel in The Gambia. Whether visiting for the day to enjoy its excellent (and very reasonably priced) spa and restaurant or enjoying a longer stay, it is the perfect place for relaxing and escaping the hustle and bustle of The Gambia.

Top 12 things to do in The Gambia on a budget

This wonderful West African country is a fascinating place to explore with golden sandy beaches, year-round hot weather, colourful culture and friendly English speaking locals. Here’s my guide of the best things to do, plus my tips for how to get around, what to pack and more.

A night on the river in Makasutu Forest

As I lie in bed I can feel a gentle movement in the decking beneath me or is it my imagination? I listen to the creaks and groans of the wood... splashes of water... silence... another splash. Getting out of bed I draw back the muslin curtains and catch my breath. A...

My guide to the best hotels and resort areas in The Gambia

My guide to the Gambia resort areas, accommodation types and best Gambia hotels no matter what your budget.

  • Where is The Gambia? In West Africa, with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s surrounded by the much larger country of Senegal on three sides. 
  • What language do they speak in The Gambia? There are several local languages but the official language is English.
  • What’s the weather like in The Gambia? Average temperature highs range between 29°C and 34°C with long hours of sunshine year-round. In the summer months, it is very humid with short but heavy rain showers. In the winter, there is low humidity and little rain, the perfect location for a winter sun holiday.
  • What’s the food like in The Gambia? The resort areas have a fabulous range of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world. Look out for local dishes too which are usually quite spicy and served with rice.
  • What’s the currency in The Gambia? The Dalasi (GMD).
  • Where to stay in The GambiaRead about the different resort areas and the best hotels and B&Bs in The Gambia, here.
A feast for the senses at Tanji fish market

A feast for the senses at Tanji fish market

All the colours of the rainbow flash before my eyes. The sound of the waves, squawking seagulls and housewives' banter assault my ears. The smell of fish fills my nostrils and the taste of salt is on my tongue, as I head for sensory overload at Tanji fish market in...

Visiting my sponsored child in The Gambia

Visiting my sponsored child in The Gambia

In 2005 I started sponsoring a little girl in The Gambia. She was just 6 years old. A few months later I visited The Gambia for the first time and, of course, I arranged to visit her, her school and her family. Nearly 8 years later I am still sponsoring her and...

Light up a village – Solar power spreads across West Africa

Light up a village – Solar power spreads across West Africa

I recently shared with you the wonderful welcome we received in the village of Kanuma in my post On the Trail of the mythical Kumpo of Kanuma. This was a great experience for all of us, a real treat, but the main reason we visited this remote West African village...

On the trail of the mythical Kumpo of Kanuma, The Gambia

On the trail of the mythical Kumpo of Kanuma, The Gambia

When I heard that a kumpo, a mythical character of the West African Jola tribe, had been spotted near the village of Kanuma, just a few hours drive from where we were staying in The Gambia, there was only one thing for it; I was determined to arrange an expedition f...

Always a warm welcome in The Gambia

Always a warm welcome in The Gambia

In the very early hours last Friday morning my alarm went off. Finally the day had arrived and it was time to start the journey that I had been looking forward to for months. Seven of us were heading off to The Gambia for a few full-on days of exploration, adventure...

Gunpowder Green Tea in The Gambia

Gunpowder Green Tea in The Gambia

If you have ever been to The Gambia, or indeed any of the surrounding West African countries, you will no doubt have seen the local men gathered together around a small teapot. This well-loved past time involves a lot of chattering while drinking scolding hot and...

Gambia Wildlife | What animals can you see in The Gambia?

Gambia Wildlife | What animals can you see in The Gambia?

The Gambia is a fabulous location for wildlife watching. Bottle nose dolphins can be seen in the estuary of The River Gambia. Hippos live in the protected area of the River Gambia National Park, as do chimpanzees.   Closer to the coastal tourists resorts, monkeys...

Smile

Smile

This week's travel snap is also my entry for Round 46 of Travel Photo Roulette with the theme of 'Smile'. If you'd like to enter you'll find all the details and all the entries on the website 2Away who are the hosts for this round. I took this photo while visiting a...

Smiles at Sanyang Fishing Village

Smiles at Sanyang Fishing Village

The Gambia is justifiable known as ‘The smiling coast of Africa’ as everywhere you go you will find a smile to greet you. These two ladies, cleaning fish at Sanyang at the leisurely pace that is typical of this little West African country, were only too pleased to...

A black cat and a blue flip-flop

Last December when I visited the small West African country, The Gambia, I enjoyed a wonderful morning learning how to cook a traditional Gambian meal with the charismatic Ida in her family home. By lunchtime the smells from the cooking pot were driving us all to...

The rules of wuri!

The rules of wuri!

Ida teaching tourists to play an ancient traditional game from West Africa is this week's travel snap. I love the expressions on their faces. Can anyone beat Ida? I first came across the game of wuri when I saw a family playing it in a back street in Mindelo on São...

The Gambian Cookbook

The Gambian Cookbook

When I received a copy of a new cookbook through the post I eagerly ripped open the parcel, as I’d been looking forward to reading The Gambian Cookbook – Recipes from the Smiling Coast, ever since I’d been asked by the authors to review it. My first impression was...

Cooking with Ida – Fish Benechin from West Africa

Following on from my earlier post about World Food Night, featuring a colourful bowl of fish benechin, I wanted to share with you the wonderful morning I spent with Ida Cham-Njai learning how to cook Gambian style! I joined a small group of tourists on Ida’s cookery...

The grandchildren of the wise man of Makasutu Forest

Just a few miles north-east of Brikama, which is the second largest town in The Gambia, you will find Makasutu Forest, a lush green wilderness fed by a tributary of the River Gambia. Now a private eco-reserve with a handful of luxury lodges, the owners have worked...

Interview: International chef Jonathan Groves in The Gambia

Interview: International chef Jonathan Groves in The Gambia

Have you ever cooked for 900 people for a wedding and have 1,500 turn up! No, unsurprisingly, me neither. Jonathan Groves, the superb chef at Ngala Lodge has. Last month, while staying at this beautiful boutique hotel in The Gambia, West Africa, I was lucky enough to...

Smiles, from the smiling coast

Smiles, from the smiling coast

The Gambia is known as the smiling coast of Africa for good reason and I love the smiles of this brother and sister playing around together at a Jola Festival where the brother was initiated. You can read about the fabulous day I had and see more photos on my post An...