The Gambia may be the smallest country on the continent, but its captivating array of attractions belies its tiny size. Surrounded by Senegal, The Gambia has a mere 50 miles (80km) of coastline, but what a magnificent stretch it encompasses: golden beaches backed by swaying palms and sprinkled with scenic lagoons, sleepy fishing villages and biologically rich coastal reserves.
Of course there’s much more to The Gambia than just sun and surf. Its namesake river is teeming with wildlife, including nearly 600 bird species, plus manatees, hippos, crocodiles and troops of wily colobus monkeys. Boat trips and overnights at forest ecolodges reveal some of the great wonders of the hinterland, from a chimpanzee island reserve to the ruins of a 17th-century British fortress. The greatest treasures, though, are the warm-hearted Gambian people, who more than live up to their homeland's moniker of the ‘the smiling coast of Africa’.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Gambia.