"Gambia" Top 5 Page for this destination The Gambia by traveldave

The Gambia Travel Guide: 829 reviews and 1,895 photos

Gambia is a long, narrow English-speaking country which projects like a thorn from the Atlantic Ocean into the heart of French-speaking Senegal. It is becoming an increasingly popular vacation destination for Europeans seeking sunshine and warmth during the cold European winter.

The area that is now Gambia was originally settled by two different peoples who migrated from other parts of West Africa, the Wolof and Mandinka. Both languages are still spoken by their respective tribe members, in addition to English. The Wolof were the first to inhabit the area around the Gambia River, and the Mandinka came later, bringing Islam with them from what is now Mali.

In the 1400s, Europeans, led by Portugal, began exploring the West African coast. The Portuguese established trading posts along the coast, trading in gold, slaves, and other commodities. The Gambia River got its name from the Portuguese word cambio, which means "exchange" or "trade."

Eventually Gambia was colonized by the British. It became a protectorate in 1820, and a full British colony in 1886. Gambia was a small and unimportant part of the vast British Empire. Therefore, there was little investment in infrastructure or the economy. The only commodity the colony produced was peanuts. In 1965, Gambia became independent. And although peanuts are still an important part of the country's economy, tourism is becoming more important.

I went to Gambia as part of a two-week birdwatching trip to Gambia and Senegal. I visited the Banjul area, the Abuko Nature Reserve, Pirang Forest Park, Janjangbureh, Bansang, and Tendaba. Although birdwatching was the focus of my trip, I was still able to take some pictures of the local landscape and attractions.

  • Last visit to The Gambia: Jan 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (18)

Travelogues (1)

Comments (10)

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Hi Dave
    Interesting and informative Gambia trips - I am amused to see that the airport is a concrete flight of fancy like so many others in West Africa! So what was the birdlife like?

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2010 at 4:02 AM

    thanks for your information here - getting itchy feet and want to start seeing some more of Africa during the year ahead!

  • Paul2001's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2007 at 12:21 PM

    Lots of info on Gambia that I knew nothing about. Birdwatching can take you to some fascinating places.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 27, 2007 at 7:16 AM

    Dave, this is an excellent page with lots of great details on The Gambia!! I really enjoyed your descriptions of the roads, ferries and life along the river - brought back old African memories. I hope you saw lots of birds!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2007 at 3:50 PM

    Great page full of very useful info. I would like to see the Abuko Nature Reserve and Pirang Forest Park.

  • Hosell's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2007 at 1:27 PM

    Great to learn a bit more about your adventures in Africa! I love your page and pics,I like that Nature Reserve and Savanna! hope to visit this part of Africa (or others) someday too,it looks beautiful,even with those bad roads!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2007 at 5:04 PM

    What a remarkable group of pages, Dave. I learned so much about the Gambia River, termite mounds, the savanna, the Kapob Tree, and the Nature reserve. Excellent warnings. Terrific hotel tips. Bravo.

  • Vulindlela's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2007 at 4:20 PM

    Glad to see you are back safe! Very impressive stuff on The Gambia.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2007 at 12:04 AM

    What an interesting and exotic (for me) place! Birdwatching in Gambia I guess worth making such a trip. I think you have a lot of photos of birds. Why don't you put them on your page? Thanks David for sharing!

  • irishgalmtl's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2006 at 3:50 AM

    Hello there Dave, Never heard of The Gambia before ...Thank u for your info...Donna :)

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