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Top 5 Holiday facts about The Gambia
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Top 5 Holiday Facts about The Gambia

If I’d be given the choice I probably wouldn’t have chosen The Gambia to visit (being a beach sort of girl!) but there I found myself at 6 in the morning at Gatwick, cold outside (and raining), waiting for my plane. 6 hours later I was in 32 degree sunshine, no jetlag (they are only 1 hour behind of us), and about to experience a really great country – I’ve listed my top 5 things to know about the Gambia below.

Gambia is situated in between North & South Senegal along the river Gambia which gives rise to the countries name.  I stayed at the small intimate boutique hotel called Ngala Lodge in Bakau/Fajara, which is perched on top of a cliff with superb views across the Atlantic Ocean. This child-free hotel has a relaxed atmosphere and exceptional service, offering 18 suites all individually decorated with either large terraces or balconies located in the surrounding tropical gardens. Within the grounds there are a number of sunbathing or seating areas with traditional African Bantabas or meeting places providing private hideaways for you to enjoy a relaxing drink or read a book. The hotel has a small pool & beach which is reached at low tide by steps. The cliff top restaurant serves excellent food with A la carte dining at a small supplement & complimented by the wonderful sunset over the ocean.

The unspoilt beaches are washed with waters from the Atlantic Ocean offering stunning views. The long sandy beaches make this an excellent choice for families and couples alike. The public beach in Sanyang (or Paradise Beach) is often a stopover for guest taking the 4 wheel drive excursion. Paradise Beach is long and flanked by palm trees and hammocks with a few beach bars for a cooling drink.

During my stay I took a number of excursions which gave me a great insight to Gambia’s people and culture. The 4 wheel drive is a must! Bumping through the countryside visiting villages and schools, experiencing the hospitality of the friendly locals. I also experienced a lazy day cruise along the tributaries of the rive Gambia, our boat was moored for lunch and after some sunbathing we went kayaking and even tried our hands at fishing! Numerous excursions take in the fantastic wildlife with experiences in dugout canoes.

I ate from a good choice of cuisine within hotels and restaurants. You can choose from many dishes (including of course Gambian!) using freshly caught local fish, all providing good value for money, a real must for people who enjoy their food.

Top 5 Things to Know about the Gambia

1. The best time to travel is from November through to June with virtually no rain fall & up to 10 hours of uninterrupted sunshine making this an ideal winter destination.

2. Gambians are educated in English which is the official language & widely spoken throughout which makes you feel immediately at ease.

3. Gambia is outside the Euro zone with the local currency being the Dalasi which this great ‘value for money’ destination.

4. There are miles of uncrowded beaches along the Atlantic Ocean with soft golden sand and matches beaches in any of the Caribbean.

5. A country well known for excellent bird watching & fishing which can be easily organised or maybe an excursion through the African bush in a 4 wheel drive or just cruising the waterways-the choice is yours!!

I was taken in by the warm hospitality, great weather, first class accommodation and overall ease of travel for a winter holiday – I’ll certainly be going back!

Lucy Couturier
Bio : Lucy is a travel consultant at Traveltime Gerrards Cross. You can talk to Lucy about The Gambia and other holidays on  01753 889088

Ngala Lodge

Ngala Lodge

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