in the middle
The Gambia is a small, tropical country based in West Africa, with a narrow, sparkling Atlantic coastline and an abundance of jungle-washed, wildlife-rich nature parks and reserves.
The country's capital city Banjul is perched at the roaring mouth of the mighty Gambia River, near the coast. The city is speckled with museums, markets and galleries, and offers easy access to the coast’s sandy beaches and laid-back beachfront towns. The Upriver Gambia region, meanwhile, is a tropical paradise, where you can tour nature areas like the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve.
The sun-struck capital city of Banjul is a popular hotel stay for culture vultures and city explorers seeking an ecstatic mix of urban energy and natural beauty. In central Banjul, bartering bargain hunters can amble along the buzzing 19th-century Albert Market, while history buffs tour the city's many local heritage museums. There's a wealth of cheap hotels in Gambia's capital city, too.
The coast nearby Banjul, meanwhile, is home to several beachfront towns and resort regions. Kololi is a quaint and peaceful oceanfront haven, surrounded by dense deep-green forest. The town is severed by The Strip, a short palm-lined boulevard full of hotels and international restaurants.
Another top beach spot is Cape Point in the town of Bakau, northeast of Kololi and close to Banjul.
In Banjul, stop by Arch 22, a quirky commemorative arch of eight white Corinthian columns capped by a three-floor structure. On the second floor, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the sprawling low-rise Banjul skyline, while the third floor contains a tiny and informative textile museum. The Gambia National Museum is another must-see city sight, containing exhibitions that detail the country’s ancient and modern history.
In Bakau, visit the Kachikally Museum and Crocodile Pool, a weird and wonderful sacred pool used for fertility rituals. The bright green water overflows with docile, dozing crocodiles.
To truly experience Gambia's rich wildlife, book a sightseeing tour through one of the country’s many national parks and nature reserves. The mangroves and salt marshes of the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve are full of rare birdlife, while the savannah and forest terrain of the Abuko Nature Reserve is home to red monkeys, mongooses and monitor lizards.