Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Gambia

The Gambia is a country in West Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa. The country has plenty of things of offers which include the breathtakingly beautiful beaches, coastal scenery, mangroves, savannahs and lush green rainforests. Over the last decade, however, the local infrastructure has grown and these natural delights as well as a variety of manmade ones have become accessible to a wider audience. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Gambia along with your family are as follows:

1. Banjul

Banjul is the most attractive city and capital of Gambia. You will find some of the best attraction in this city. Right at the entrance to Banjul is the unique Arch 22, a 35-metre high landmark erected following the military coup of 1994. The city is also famous for its vast markets; market selling everything from fresh food to clothing is well worth a visit if you want to see an authentic slice of traditional local life. The National Museum of Banjul is worth visiting and also offers an insight into the country’s fascinating past. You will also find an amazing beach situated between Fajara and Kotu Point is an ideal place to relax and catch a few rays while enjoying the splendid North Atlantic Ocean coastal scenery.

2. Georgetown

Georgetown is also locally known as Janjanbureh is to be found on MacCarthy Island and is Gambia’s second largest town. This town of Gambia has so much to offer its visitors. Many visitors particular interest is the wildlife of the island, of which there is an impressive variety of indigenous species. The town itself is inherently interesting with its mix of old colonial buildings and brightly colored residences. In this town you will also find the island’s oldest building, a structure now referred to as the Historic Wooden House. The building was originally home to one of the first groups of Gambian citizens to be liberated from slavery.

3. Wassu

Wassu is another famous tourist attraction of Ghana that you will find quite near to Georgetown. It is a tiny town where the biggest attraction is certainly the mysterious stone circles. Believed to mark burial sites, the stones are around 1,200 years old and each one is somewhere between one and 3mts in height and weighs several tones. Here you will also find interesting museum located in the vicinity of the stones presents theories and possible evidence relating to the origins of the stones. You can see the stones easily in a day and if you find them especially appealing you can move on to see more at Kerr Batch and N’Jai Kunda.

4. Kololi

Kololi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. It is considered a best destination for relaxation, as there are few places as peaceful and conducive to inactivity as the beaches it boasts. This place is not very crowded and always it remains cool and clam. The area is also well known for its bird watching possibilities, with the Bijilo Beach Forest Reserve one of the best locations for viewing the various species of seabird and local forest varieties.

5. Serrekunda

Serrekunda is one of the major tourist destinations of the county. It is largest city and well known city of Gambia. It is famous for the regular wrestling matches held at an arena in the centre. This areas extremely popular sport is wrestling and spectators come to Serrekunda from far and wide to watch opponents from different villages compete in lively bouts. Matches are accompanied by drumming provided by groups from each village taking part and this cacophony of sound serves to rouse the crowds who gather to support the wrestlers.

6. Abuko Nature Reserve

Abuko Nature Reserve is one of the major tourist attractions of Gambia. It is within easy reach of the main resort areas and has crocodiles, monkeys, forest antelope, reptiles and over 300 bird species. It is considered one of the ideal places for enjoying with the whole family. The best time to visit this nature reserve is early in the morning. Upriver from Banjul, explore Gambian colonial history by visiting the exhibition of the slave trade at Albreda and Jufureh – twin villages that were made famous by Alex Haley’s novel Roots – then cross to James Island, mid-river, to see its ruined fort.

7. The National Museum

The Gambia National Museum was opened during the year 1985. The museum’s main aim is the collection of objects documenting the material culture of the Gambia, and also to train both visitors to the country and residents who may not be familiar with Gambian history.

8. Janjanbureh Island

Janjanbureh Island is one of the spectacular tourist destinations of Gambia. You can enjoy the beautiful mid-river location of Janjanbureh Island located towards the eastern Gambia, an outstanding spot to unwind in an unspoiled rustic environment, with plenty of good places to walk or bird watch in the vicinity.

9. Katchikali Crocodile Pool

Katchikali Crocodile Pool is another most famous tourist attraction. Here you can meet a friendly croc at this ancient site, sacred to the Mandinka tribe, in the coastal village of Bakau. The crocodiles, though wild, are well fed and docile. Fertility rites are sometimes held here.

10. Kiang West National Park

Kiang west National Park is anther fascinating places to visit in Gambia. You can walk through this stunning national park, the most diverse ecosystem in The Gambia, to see more flora and fauna than anywhere else in the country. It is just a perfect location for enjoying with the family.

11. Makasutu Culture Forest

Another most interesting tourist attraction of Gambia is Makasutu Culture Forest. You can join a cultural tour of this beautiful forest park, acquiring knowledge about local medicinal plants and woodland fauna, then take a boat trip by dugout canoe and enjoy a forceful exhibit of local-style music and dance in this award-winning eco-attraction.

12. Micro lighting

Micro lighting is another interesting place of visit in Gambia. Soar over the fields, villages, creeks and beaches of the coastal region in a micro light. You can also arrange short airborne tours and longer trips from the micro light base at the airport.

13. Wassu stone circles

The Wassu stone circles are incredibly attractive place to visit in Gambia. It is located towards the eastern Gambia, catch scene of the interesting circles of standing stones around Wassu, the most ancient man-made structures in the country, which date from 1200 years ago. The origin of these megalithic circles, which stand between one meter and two and a half meters tall, is shrouded in mystery but they are thought to mark the prehistoric burial grounds of a society long-since missing.

14. Makasutu

Makasutu Cultural Forest is also known as the “Holy Forest”. There is a history to this dwelling. Legend has it that tribal wars took place in this forest centuries ago. It is said that a famous King was also killed here, and his head, crown and throne were all buried in the forest. It is surrounded by six villages, Makasutu Cultural Forest is an all-in-one excursion and is all that the international media, and the world travel body have described it. A safari drive, a guided forest walk, a boat ride, bird watching, and cultural entertainment galore are all at ‘Makasutu’. Here you will find a craft area where local artists show their talent and skill in wood carving, design ware and other traditional African artifacts.

15. Tumani Tenda

Tumani Tenda is located 25 km East of Brikama and 3 km from Kafatu, a tributary/Bolong of the Gambia River. The founder of the village, the late Alhaji Osman, a Koran scholar, established the community 30 years ago after immigrating from Casamance. A Tumani Tenda owns 140 hectares of land, of which 89 are sustainably cultivated, with a species rich forest that is continually upgraded with seedlings and serves as a pharmacy and natural water reservoir. Plants and crops grow in abundance and include maize, millet, groundnuts, vegetables, herbs and spices, bananas, grapefruits, oranges, mangoes, lemons and many others.

16. Arts and Culture

The Gambia is a country which is rich in art and culture. It has a strong musical tradition, often connected with weddings, feast-days such as the end of Ramadan, or Christmas. The famous and traditional instruments consist of the kora (lute), bala (xylophone), and the tama (hand-held drum). Festivals here are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and Christmas brings a celebration with large lanterns called fanals, often in the shape of boats or houses and intricately decorated. The fanals are paraded through the streets to singing and chanting.

17. River Gambia National Park

The Gambia National park is situated around 100 miles east of the Atlantic coast, the vegetation changes from swamps to thick forests, and many islands appear in the river. It is one of the most interesting places to visit with your family. Five of these, the largest of which is Baboon Island, form a park recognized for its chimpanzee-rehabilitation project designed to reacclimatize chimps from labs and zoos to return to the wild.

18. Basse

Basse is another most fascinating place to visit in Gambia. It is located towards the easternmost part of the country. It is a sparkling settlement with trading houses from the turn of the century, shops, and a riverside market. For hikers and explorers, the town is a good starting point for trips to the interior.

19. Albert Market

The Albert Market is one of the most famous markets of Gambia. It is a lively market which is lactated in the heart of the capital city, Banjul, is Albert Market. Strolling through the market you can get clothes, shoes, fruits and vegetables, household goods and local handicrafts. Diverse, full of energy and chaotic, the market scene is Banjul at its African best.

20. Arch 22

Arch 22 is another most popular attraction of Gambia. It was constructed majorly to honor the military takeover 22 July 1994 (led by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh, now The Gambia’s president), Arch 22 is by far the tallest building in The Gambia. The arch provides excellent views over the city and it’s open to the public daily. It is a very interesting place to visit and witness.

21. Bird Safari Camp

One of the most famous attractions you will find in Gambia is Bird Safari Camp. It is a tropical paradise place set on the meandering river banks of MacCarthy Island in The Gambia. Deep in the African bush, this pleasant site provides a just right base for the discerning traveler who is seeking a genuine experience, away from the crowded beach resorts.

22. The Gambia Birding Group

The Gambia Birding Group is a very popular non-profit organization that gives information about practical aspects of visiting The Gambia for wildlife trips and about birding throughout The Gambia supports conservation for wildlife and provides contact points for birders and naturalists visiting The Gambia. It is and interesting place to visit in Gambia.

23. Brikama Craft Market

Brikama Craft Market is one of the most famous markets of Ghana. It is home to some of the most endowed wood carvers in the country, this craft market offers a wide range of magnificent selection of woodcarvings and souvenirs that can be bought at a reasonable price. You even get to see some of the craftsmen at work some times. Just remember to always bargain on the prices!

24. Fort Bullen

Fort Bullen is one of the incredible attractions of the country. It is said to be constructed during the year 1826 to protect the trading route of the Gambia River and repel any attacks on what was Bathurst, now Banjul, on the opposite side of the river estuary. You will also find a small beach here and a guard post, but tiny else ruins of one of the Gambia’s earliest fortresses. It was modernized during the year 1996 as part of the Roots Homecoming Festival and is open to visitors. The large square fort has low around towers at each corner, and one can walk along the battlements overlooking the river mouth.

25. Kiang West National Park

The Kiang West National Park is a well known place to visit in Gambia. It was gazette by ‘The Government of The Gambia in 1987. With approximately 11,000 hectares, KWNP is Gambia’s largest park. Within the boundaries you can find approximately all of The Gambia’s geographical variances: mangroves, salt bats, partially closed canopy forests, laterite extrusions and bolong tributaries. Moreover, there are around 300 species of birds make their home there

26. Bao Bolon Wetland Reserve

The Bao Bolon Wetland Reserve is Gambia one of the most popular tourist attractions to be found at River’s north bank. The complete area enclosed by the reserve is 85 square miles. The animal species that tourists can see inside the reserve are the Clawless otter, the African fish and the Nile crocodile. It is one of the most interesting places to visit in Gambia.

27. Basse Santa Su

Basse Santa Su is one of the interesting towns of Gambia. This beautiful town located towards the Upper River Region. The favorite activities that most tourists do when they visit the town is sightseeing and visiting old houses. This town has a lot of things to offer such as a famous museum, a restaurant and a bookshop.

28. Juffure Village

The Juffure Village is to be found at the Upper Niumi District, is one of the popular tourist destinations of the country. The famous attractions to see at the village include the National Museum of the North Bank, the James Island and the Museum at Juffure.

29. Gambia River

The Gambia River is indeed one of the major tourist destinations in the country of Gambia. The length of the river is around 1,130 kilometers. The river passes through the Fouta Djallon Plateau and leads to the Atlantic Ocean, and is one of the favorite attractions of the Gambia. Boating and swimming are the popular activities that can be done at the site.

30. Kanilai Game Park

The Kanilai Game Park is another interesting place to visit in Gambia. It is located at the village of Jola towards the southern part of Gambia. The place is a safari reserve, which plays home to zebras, Nile crocodiles and rhinos. You will find this park open seven days a week.

31. Kerr Batch Stone Circles

The Kerr Batch Stone Circles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located towards the north bank of the River of Gambia, is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Gambia. It displays antique items such as cloth making tools, initiation masks and hunting weapons. Guests can also find ancient farm tools and herbal medicines at the site.

32. Osprey Beach

The Osprey Beach to be found in Sanyang has golden sands, which is immensely popular among tourist. Here you can find a lot of beach facilities and also restaurants and bars at the beach. Diving, swimming and kayaking are the activities that can be enjoyed at this tourist destination.

33. Brikama

Brikama is a famous town located towards the southeast part of the country. The major attraction at this historic town is the Brikama Craft Market, which features souvenir shops and retail stores. Other impressive spots at the site include the Marakissa Camp and the Pirang Forest Park.

34. Serrekunda Market

The Market of Serrekunda is the largest, liveliest, and sensory-overloaded market in The Gambia’s largest village. It is said that once here you can spend days roundabout through the rows of makeshift stalls selling everything from strong-smelling and unusual types of fish, made-on-the-spot peanut paste, and freshly ground baobab fruit, to animist juju trinkets, shoes in all colors, and many articles of clothing both new and used.

35. Gambian Reptiles Farm

The Gambian Reptiles Farm is another interesting place to visit in the country. It is located between Gunjur and Kartong, it is the little informative animal haven of local, rescued animals including bushbucks, crocodiles, snakes, bush rats, and insects. Once here you can know about Gambian wildlife and conservation here while getting a chance to hold a few of the specimens including a live African python. This Reptile farm is surely worth a visit.

36. Road trip excursions

While on your tour to Gambia don’t forget to take the road trip excursions for untimate fun and to experience the “real” Africa. Authentic mud-hut villages, ghostly baobab groves, and nightly encounters you will fall it all. It is a very interesting excursion which will surely amaze you.

37. Tanji fishing village

The Tanji fishing village is another interesting place to visit in Gambia. It is really amazing to watch the fresh catch of the day being hauled to shore in huge plastic buckets balanced just perfectly on the heads of the local women, hearing the sounds of life amongst the sellers, buyers, and the seagulls, and choosing the seafood you want for dinner that night is what the small village of Tanji can offer.

38. Bird watching

Bird watching is one of the favorite activities among tourist in Gambia. It is widely said that Gambia is paradise for bird watchers from all over the world. Here you will find approximately over 540 different species of bird (and butterflies, insects, dragonflies and flowers remain to be identified) in a relatively small area it is so popular that many birders return year after year.

39. Niumi National Park

The Niumi National Park is one of the fascinating places to visit in Gambia. You will find this park towards the northwest of the country, contiguous with the Parc National du Delta du Saloum in neighboring Senegal, and incorporates the coastal islands of Ginak. It has areas of dry woodland, sand dunes, mangrove, salt marsh and lagoons.

40. Roots Homecoming Festival

In Ghana you can find a variety of Festivals that are celebrated with more enthusiasm. It is famous for reuniting the Diaspora with Mother Africa. The Gambia’s International Homecoming Roots Festival is a very famous festival.

41. Live music

Once you are in Gambia you can enjoy some of the finest music. You can go to a live session from one of The Gambia’s many outstanding local bands, or a concert featuring stars from neighbouring Senegal, home of Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal and many other West African greats.

42. Music and dance lessons

In Gambia you can find a lot of ways to entertain yourself and one of the best ways is to book a few lessons with a dance teacher, a master of the kora (The Gambia’s national instrument) or with a drumming teacher who may help commission a djembé (drum) from a local craftsman. It is one of the most enjoyable places to visit.

43. River trips

You can arrange a lot of River trips to enjoy yourself in Gambia. You can take a long-distance boat trip on the River Gambia, the leading feature of the country. The River Gambia National Park is the most stunning stretch of riverine vegetation. Here you can look out for monkeys increases through the riverside foliage, spot pelicans and hippos, or just relax and enjoy the peace of the wilderness.

44. Watch a wrestling match

One of the best activities that tourist and locals enjoy alike is Borreh (wrestling). Wrestling is indeed The Gambia’s national sport. It is said that the art form was disappearing until it was revived under President Jammeh and now features in most national events and festivals.

45. Stone Circles

Stone Circles is one of the prominent tourist attractions of the country. These are the famed stone circles of West Africa. It includes of rings up to eight meters in diameter of 10 to 24 rounded, reddish-brown, laterite pillars, from one to two-and-a-half meters in height. The Stone Circles have now been recognized as burial grounds more than 1,200 years old.

46. Tanje Village Museum

The Tanje village museum is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country. It is an exceptional place where the natural history and traditional culture of the country is showcased. The museum presents its history in an interesting and accessible way to tourists, Gambians, local inhabitants and school groups. Nowhere can you find out so much about The Gambia, its birds, insects, fish, plants and trees, its different ethnic groups and their cultures.

47. Tendaba Camp

Tendaba camp is one of the most popular attractions of Gambia. It is basically precisely an Eco-Tourism camp that opens through out the year and blends a lot of very interesting areas. It is located 150km approximately from Banjul. The restaurant is naturally decorated in an African round-hut style, thatched with elephant grass, ancient series of guns hanging on top of the roof.

48. The food of Gambia

Gambia is one of the finest places to visit especially of those visitors who are foodie. The capital Banjul has a fair selection; however, Kololi offers the greatest number of venues and the widest choice. Try the popular groundnut stew known as maafe.

49. Entertainment and Nightlife

The country of Gambia offers some of the most fascinating nightlife to its visitors. Here you will find some of the places where open-air dances are organized where visitors and locals alike can enjoy a lively atmosphere, alcoholic drinks and good music. Sennagambia is hailed as the home of the best evening entertainment and offers a good selection of bars, clubs and discotheques.

50. Fishing

Fishing is another favorite activity of tourist in Gambia. You can spend a day either sea-angling in the rich, cool waters of the Atlantic, creek-fishing inland near Banjul, or line-fishing from one of the beaches and hook a marlin, barracuda, ladyfish, snapper or giant grouper. It is considered one of the most interesting things to do in Gambia.

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