"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.
Fort Bullen was constructed by the British between 1820 and 1830 to protect the mouth of the Gambia River, and to... more travel advice
About 80 percent of Gambia's population relies on local agriculture. The land surrounding every village is made up of... more travel advice
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