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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers
 
 

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The Gambia

Mark and David's verdict:

You might think of The Gambia as a cheap winter sun destination on the west coast of Africa. And you’d be at least half right. In fact it’s so much more than that, with superb beaches, charming hotels, friendly people and stunning wildlife – and only six hours flying time from the UK. Best time to visit is November to June.

Recommended tour operator: The Gambia Experience

The Gambia Experience says

The Gambia may be a small country on Africa’s west coast, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with verve and vibrancy – it positively sings with life and colour.

  • Easy flights
  • Fascinating destination
  • Great value

Only six hours from the UK (and conveniently in the same time zone), it has miles of beautiful and uncrowded sandy coastline, with many beaches backed by plush coconut palms.

Over the last 30 years, we have built up an excellent range of accommodation, and over this period, we’ve witnessed vast improvements in both the range and standard of accommodation available in the country.

For foodies, you’ll find a superb array of fine restaurants offering a variety of both national and international cuisine, within the hotels and the resort areas too.

One of our favourite characteristics about The Gambia has to be the fact it’s home to some of the friendliest people we’ve found anywhere in the world. It’s no wonder the country is also referred to as ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’.

When booking a holiday with us, you can choose to stay in original traditional style hotels such as African Village, or perhaps you would prefer the lively and popular Kombo Beach Hotel with its beautiful beach and poolside activities?

Treat yourselves to one of our Luxury & Unique Collection hotels like the charming White Horse Residence or luxurious Coco Ocean & Spa Hotel. More quirky properties are also available such as the award-winning Mandina Lodges, located along a tributary of the River Gambia.

We are delighted to be the only UK tour operator to offer the award-winning Ngala Lodge, renowned for its superb cuisine and beautiful clifftop location.

Our hotels have access to some great beaches, but this is also a country to explore. Take a boat trip on the mangrove-clad tributaries of the River Gambia, get out in the community and visit a local school, or even consider an extra few nights in Senegal. We now offer three different regions in Senegal – Sine Saloum South, Casamance and Saly & La Somone – where incredible wildlife opportunities, beach holidays and new cultural experiences await.

The Gambia is also a popular destination for birdwatching, home to over 540 species. Birdwatching holidays are available for wildlife lovers and each year, TV presenter  Chris Packham escorts guests personally.

To find out more about the destination, have a look at our our online guide and the latest special offers.

See the latest Foreign Office advice on travel, and the best time to visit The Gambia.

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