"Gambia - a country of wide smiles and friendship" The Gambia by WanderingFinn
The Gambia Travel Guide: 724 reviews and 1,434 photos
Perhaps the best thing in Gambia -though a very many-sided place- was the people. It was amazing how happy they were, always on positive, optimistic mood, and they showed it. You were always greeted with a very wide smile, always really serviced. Really felt welcome.
And it didn't end there. If you just "by the way" asked about something local, some person might just disappear and come back and bring the thing you were after to you! Or hurry writing down the name of the place from where you can get it. They could organize you practically anything - friends. Local liquor, a time to hairdresser's to get a rasta hairdo (they use their connections to help to find professional places who don't overcharge foreigners).
A Gambian wants to shake hands quickly after having seen a tourist and make friends, so don't get panicked or annoyed. The vast majority are good people, some of them just perhaps a little curious and proud of being a friend of a distant tourist. Many may want to exchange contact information too. I did it with even our taxi driver + couple of others, and still keep contact!
There, especially on public beaches (not owed/marked by hotels to their customers) and night time on main street there may be some other people too wanting to "make friends" or sell their "tours" - be careful with these people. Nothing too dangerous but irritable when you don't get rid of them. Just be firm but polite and say "no thank you" and don't take eye contact.
Gambians (except perhaps the poorest ones in the countryside) speak good English, as Gambia used to be a British colony.
Many wouldn't believe it, but in Africa and in Gambia there are fine sandy beaches for a beach holiday! And what is the best in them - they are not yet found by whole world's tourists. I think I'm right - who would first think of Gambia, West Africa, when planning a beach holiday of two weeks?
Water of the ocean was warm of course, the nature was typically African, a little dry but also those lovely palm trees were there.
The climate is perfect for an escape for those living in countries with winter (including me). Some +30 (min) all the time.
Gambia is a perfect holiday target also due to the fact that one can do so many things there and from there. It doesn't have to be only laying on the beach if that starts to bore. Also, there are other places too worth seeing.
It is easy, as you can take your own reliable taxi who takes you back too. You can use him even every day, even agree things beforehand. They take you further too.
You can also use the government's trained and controlled official guides and make all kinds of tours with them.
One tour highly recommended is either a general tour to the neighbouring country Senegal (e.g. to capital Dakar) or a trip + safari to countryside Senegal. Senegalese traditional dance must be seen! In Senegal many speak French (not necessarily English) as it used to be a French colony.
Banjul - the capital of Gambia with its colourful market and all the "hassle" is worth seeing too.
Those interested in history and/or TV series remember the show "Roots". Did you know that Kunta Kinte was from Gambia? They make trips to "his" town and back too!
- Pros:People, language, climate, nature, sights, food, cheap prices
- Cons:None (perhaps the beach bums who shout after you no matter selling anything or not; they try to walk with you long distances).
- In a nutshell:English speaking little paradise in Africa - I love those hearty people!
WanderingFinn's Related Pages
The Gambia Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "The Gambia"
- "NATURE OF THE GAMBIA: palm wine days"
- "The smiling coast"
- "Gambia , Beautiful Gambia"
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