When we go on holiday, whether it’s a short city break, a week in the countryside or a long-haul adventure, we all have different ideas about what makes the perfect escape. This can also be said for what makes the perfect beach, from kite surfing winds and beach party madness or idyllic desert islands to kiss-me-quick hats and sticks of rock (hmm… maybe not!).

I was delighted to recently have been asked to submit my favourite photograph of a beach, to an invite-only competition being run by On the Beach. I’ve been to many beautiful beaches around the world but what makes a beach really ‘beachin’ to me?

I love crystal clear warm water and fine white sand, preferably with a palm tree or two offering a little shade.  I’d certainly enjoy a few hours in such a paradise relaxing in the sunshine but would that picture of an idyllic beach be really memorable? Possibly not.

I’ll never forget the day, however, that I was walking along the sand of Sanyang beach in The Gambia, having grown a little restless from relaxing under a palm tree. I could see in the distance the brightly painted fishing boats of the local fishermen and, with camera in hand, thought I might get some interesting shots.

Sanyang Beach - best beaches

Before I knew it, not only was I getting some great photos, but I found myself deep in conversation with the local ladies about what types of fish their husbands caught, how they prepared the fish, smoked the fish, even how to cook the fish. I’ve no idea how long I was there chatting, laughing and snapping away with my camera but it was an afternoon I’ll never forget.

So while the water at Sanyang beach may not be crystal clear and the sand is not fine white-powder sand, this is without doubt my favourite beach shot!


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