The Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest countries on the west coast, surrounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serekunda offer access to beaches running south from Bakau to Kololi. The Gambia has a population of around 1.849 million.

I booked Gambia on a whim and didn’t really know what to expect, I paid just £330 for a 2 week holiday with return flights and a half board hotel with a transfer. I did wonder why it was it was so cheap but nerveless I went open minded and thought a holiday is what you make of it. After a short 6 hour flight, 45- minute bus transfer and a lot of advisories not to leave the hotel without a security/guide I arrived at my hotel pleasantly surprised…. Although basic it was more than suitable to rest my head, it was clean, a beach location, a pool and a short walk to nearby shops and bar/restaurants.

I took a short walk to a nearby restaurant which is where I meet what turned out to be a very good new friend that was happy to guide me around during my stay. Of course wary of scams, I began to talk to my new friend “Sheriff” and after a little trust was built he then guided me around Gambia taking me to remote places which I would have otherwise never gone to.

Of course, I expected a guide would want paying so of course I began the haggling of a guide price for a day and all he was interested in was to eat when I ate and spend time with his new friend  “me”.

Every time he drove me around we were often stopped by the police who would take me away to speak with me and check all his I.d’s etc  and every time we were ok to move on, which made me feel more comfortable around him.

The Gambia is a very active place with a lot going on, You have to be very open minded in the small west African country, It is a real eye opener to different ways of life, very different from the north and east Africa.

I was very lucky to do many things during my stay in Gambia from visiting the largest fish mongers to wild monkey park and horse backriding the long sandy beaches to snake parks.

I got involved with a lot in Gambia as my friend would take me to many places such as.

The Bijilo Forest Park which was a short drive from Kotu. It is a protected forest inhabited by millions of monkeys who will follow you around in the hope of being fed peanuts.

Serrakunda, the country’s most populous town, which was a magnificent insight to the west African life. Noisy, busy, and the smell of market trading which is a great hit to the senses. There is also few shops to buy some interesting things but be sure to haggle as the prices ten fold once they know you’re a tourist.

The middle of nowhere to a large pond full of crocodiles which if you’re brave enough you can touch “I did as my mate told me to”  as for some reason due to the heat they didn’t move very much.

An African snake park for African’s to learn about the wild snakes found in Gambia, The Gambians are scared of snakes and kill them for no reason and this snake park is to teach the Gambian’s not to kill snakes.

The Gambian’s largest fish market, where the boats would come in and trade to the mongers. A great insight to fish trading in Gambia.

Horseback riding along the golden sandy beach finished by a bareback swim in the sea. Every horse I rode in Gambia was very well looked after and were in great shape.

A visit to the elephant tree ( a tree that looks like an elephant).
A sinking boat ride around the clam farming life (it wasn’t meant to sink, I guess that’s the Gambian way)

African dancing night.

I even visited a night club which was great fun, but I will say really keep your wits about you.

The highlight of my trip was visiting my friends compound yard where he lived, seeing and feeling a different way of life. I was welcomed with open arms and treated as part of the family. If like me your lucky enough to experience this it is something that stays warm in your heart.

Sheriff was kind enough to show me his compound yard. This was a great insight to how people in Gambia live and struggle with day to day living.

In return I brought his family the biggest bag of rice I could find which took care of his whole family for a month, His mother cried so much as she was forever grateful and demanded I spend my last my evening in their home for a home cooked Gambian Yassa and Palm wine.
I do have great memories from Gambia and would tell you, if you get the chance don’t miss it, I would return before a heart  beat.

. This page was done from memory going back a lot of years so I really can’t remember the names of the towns and places I visited where. But they are out there so go and venture this beautiful small west African country.