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The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems around the central Gambia River. Abundant wildlife in its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve includes monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas and rare birds. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serrekunda offer access to beaches.

Best Places to Visit in The Gambia

Let’s explore the best places to visit in The Gambia:

1. Abuko Nature Reserve

Created in the early 20th century to protect a water collection point for nearby communities, Abuko Nature Reserve is The Gambia’s first reserve – officially formed in the 1960’s.

This area is rich in Gambian wildlife and is now the most visited tourist attraction in the country – with over 33,000 visitors each year.

Conservation efforts are on-going in this 260 acre reserve with three primate species here as well as antelope, porcupine, African palm civets, crocodiles, galagos, and almost 300 bird species.

A fun fact about Abuko is that it is the closest tropical forest to Europe.

2. Banjul

The capital of The Gambia is Banjul.  It’s a port city and is located on Saint Mary’s Island.

Originally called Bathurst after the Secretary of State for the British Colonies, Banjul is the government seat for the country.

For whatever reason, many tourists don’t give Banjul a second glance. But with the busy harbour, rich history, colonial architecture, and urban market, there is plenty to love about the city.

Enjoy the street hawkers from Senegal and Guinea and the shop keepers packed into old colonial trading housing all creating a chaotic vibrancy to the commercial district.

Be on the lookout for the traditional kirinting housing made of bamboo and traditionally owned by the poor farmers of the island.

3. The Albert Market

The activity hub of Banjul is the Albert Market.It was created in the mid-19th century and named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.Even back then it was full of bartering, haggling, and chaotic buying.The market is exciting on its most boring day – which, really, is never!You’ll find shoes, carved wood masks, houseware, electrical gadgets, shoes, fantastic fabrics, fruit, vegetables, beauty supplies, clothes, you name it.Plan to spend a few hours to see it all and to really hone your negotiating skills.If you’re looking for a local food experience, Albert Market has a number of street vendors and drink stalls to choose from.

4. Old Town

Head toward wide and welcoming Ma Cumba Jallow Street just west of the ferry terminal in Banjul and you’ll find an unruly assortment of fading colonial buildings and traditional Krio-style clapboard homes.

This is Old Town, which looks remarkably like Freetown in Sierra Leone because of the many Freetown families who settled here in the early 19th century.

There’s lots of history to admire as you walk through this wonderful section of the city.

5. Bijilo Forest Park

Bijilo Forest Park, or Monkey Park, is located in the coastal zone, just 11km from Banjul.

It’s a small reserve, relatively speaking, and is a point of pride for nearby locals.

The trails here are well maintained and take you through incredibly lush flora, a gallery forest, grass and low bush, on your way to the dunes.

The three primate species are the red colobus, vervet, and patas.

Tourists are encouraged not to feed the monkeys as they can get pretty cheeky!

Bird lovers will love the more than 100 species found in the park including osprey, bee-eaters, and francolin. The reviews seem to be consistent:  a charming reserve that everyone falls in love with.


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