Must see attractions in The Gambia

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Gambia

    Abuko Nature Reserve

    Abuko is rare among African wildlife reserves: it's tiny, it's easy to reach and you don't need a car to go in. With amazing diversity of vegetation and animals, this well-managed reserve is one of the region's best bird-watching haunts (more than 250 bird species have been recorded in its environs). There are 5km of paths through the 106-hectare reserve, and a field station with views over a watering hole that's often a good place for wildlife watching.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Makasutu Culture Forest

    Wide Open Walls

    Two huge ibex grazing amid swirling waves, a blue tattooed lion, and a lovestruck blacksmith are just a few of the striking images awaiting visitors who stumble upon the village of Kubuneh, located a few kilometres outside of Makasutu Culture Forest. The simple homes of this African settlement have been transformed into a riotous collection of thought-provoking street art, courtesy of a talented group of international artists who have brought a touch of surreal beauty to this corner of West Africa.

  • Sights in The Gambia

    Makasutu Culture Forest

    Like a snapshot of The Gambia, Makasutu Culture Forest bundles the country's array of landscapes into a dazzling 1000-hectare package. The setting is stunning, comprising palm groves, wetlands, mangroves and savannah plains, all inhabited by plenty of animals, including baboons, monitor lizards and hundreds of bird species.

  • Top ChoiceSights in River Gambia National Park

    Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project

    This project forms the beating heart of River Gambia National Park. Comprised of so-called Baboon Island and several smaller islands, this is one of the most important wildlife sites in The Gambia. Despite the main island's moniker, this place is really the kingdom of chimps – over 100 of the primates live across it and three other islands in four separate communities.

  • Sights in The Gambia

    Wassu Stone Circles

    Archaeologists believe the Wassu stone circles are burial sites constructed about 1200 years ago. Each stone weighs several tonnes and is between 1m (3.3ft) and 2.5m (7.5ft) in height. There's a small but well-presented museum with exhibits discussing the possible origins of the circles. Stonehenge this isn't, but nevertheless, it's fascinating evidence of ancient African cultures.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Serekunda & Atlantic Coast Resorts

    Bijilo Forest Park

    This small 51-hectare reserve makes for a lovely escape. A series of well-maintained walking trails (ranging from 900m to 1400m) takes you through lush vegetation, gallery forest, low bush and grass, towards the dunes. You'll likely see green vervet, red colobus and patas monkeys – avoid feeding them, as this only encourages them further.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Serekunda & Atlantic Coast Resorts

    Kachikally Crocodile Pool

    One of The Gambia's most popular tourist attractions is a sacred site for locals. As crocodiles represent the power of fertility in Gambia, women who experience difficulties in conceiving often come here to pray and wash (any child called Kachikally tells of a successful prayer at the pool). The pool and its adjacent nature trail are home to dozens of Nile crocodiles that you can observe basking on the bank.

  • Sights in Tanji

    Tanji Fish Market

    Colourful pirogues roll in the waves, women ferry fish elegantly to shore atop their heads, and crowds swarm the beachfront at this charismatic fish market. On show and on sale is everything from smelly sea creatures and colourful peppers to bright flip-flops and clothing. It's busier in the morning, but in the late afternoon it's incredibly photogenic – step inside a smoke house, which preserves masses of bonga (shad fish), and you'll see entrancing rays of light cutting through the thick air.

  • Sights in Banjul

    Albert Market

    Since its founding in the mid-19th century, the Albert Market, an area of frenzied buying, bartering and bargaining, has been Banjul's main hub of activity. This cacophony of Banjul life is intoxicating, with its stalls stacked with shimmering fabrics, hair extensions, shoes, household and electrical wares and the myriad colours and flavours of the fruit and vegetable market.

  • Sights in Albreda, Juffureh & Kunta Kinteh Island

    Fort James

    Fort James was an important British colonial trading post from 1661 and the departure point of vessels packed with ivory and gold, as well as slave ships. Over subsequent decades, it was the site of numerous skirmishes. Variously held by British, French and Dutch traders, as well as a couple of privateers (pirates), it was completely destroyed at least three times before being finally abandoned in 1829.

  • Sights in Banjul

    Old Town

    West from the ferry terminal towards the wide Ma Cumba Jallow St (Dobson St) is a chaotic assembly of decrepit colonial buildings and Krio-style clapboard houses (steep-roofed structures with wrought-iron balconies and corrugated roofs). It's no coincidence they resemble the inner-city architecture of Freetown in Sierra Leone, as many of them still belong to families who came to Banjul from Freetown, some as early as the 1820s.

  • Sights in Tujering

    Tunbung Arts Village

    Quirky and wonderful, Tunbung Arts Village is a ragged assembly of skewed huts, wildly painted walls and random sculptures that peer out behind walls and from treetops. It's the creative universe of Etu Ndow, a renowned Gambian artist. Sadly, Etu died in 2014, but his nephew Abdoulie continues to keep the memory of his uncle alive.

  • Sights in Tanji

    Tanji Village Museum

    This fascinating cultural museum presents Gambian nature and life scenes by recreating a traditional Mandinka village, where you can peer into huts and learn about craftmaking, traditional music, customs and beliefs, medicinal plants and the local fauna and flora.

  • Sights in Tanji

    Tanji River Bird Reserve

    The Tanji River Bird Reserve is an area of dunes, lagoons and woodland, and contains Bijol Island, a protected breeding ground for Caspian terns. True to name, the reserve is home to many bird species – over 300 at last count.

  • Sights in Albreda, Juffureh & Kunta Kinteh Island

    National Museum of Albreda

    This small museum focuses on slavery in The Gambia, with displays detailing the gruesome treatment these human captives suffered. There's also a room dedicated to the Roots connection, with photos and memorabilia related to Alex Haley and the subsequent film. Also here is a replica slave ship. Admission includes entrance to Kunta Kinteh Island.

  • Sights in The Gambia

    Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve

    Located on the north bank of the Gambia River, Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve contains savannah woodland, mangrove forest and salt marsh, and is famed for its birdwatching potential. The best way to visit is on a pirogue cruise through the bolongs (creeks) and thick mangroves of the reserve.

  • Sights in Gunjur

    Bolong Fenyo Community Wildlife Reserve

    This 320-hectare reserve encompasses a mix of savanna and wetland habitats, including a freshwater lagoon, and has exceptional birdlife, with some 150 species spotted here.

  • Sights in Banjul

    Arch 22

    This massive 36m-high gateway, built to celebrate the military coup of 22 July 1994, grants excellent views. There's also a cafe and a small museum that enlightens visitors about the coup d'état and houses a few ethnographic exhibitions.

  • Sights in Banjul

    National Museum

    Well-presented, if slightly dusty, displays of historical and cultural artefacts, including musical instruments, agricultural tools and ethnographic items. There's an interesting archaeological section reconstructing some of the earliest periods of human habitation of the region, and a history floor with photographs that lead up to the present.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Banjul

    St Joseph's Adult Education & Skills Centre

    Tucked away inside an ancient Portuguese building, this centre has provided training to disadvantaged women for the last 20 years. Visitors can take a free tour of sewing, crafts and tie-dye classes, and purchase reasonably priced items such as patchwork products, embroidered purses and cute children's clothes at the on-site boutique.