The Gambia Things to Do

  • Lucas Jatta at work palm tapping
    Lucas Jatta at work palm tapping
    by David&Pauline
  • Pauline learning some palm tapping skills.
    Pauline learning some palm tapping...
    by David&Pauline
  • In the slavery museum
    In the slavery museum
    by toonsarah

The Gambia Things to Do


    I got the best exchange rate in a beach bar. Ask around. Top Hotels give you the worst rate. Get a few Dalasi's at the airport for walking around money. The best currency to exchange is the British Pound due to the high number of UK tourists here. You can haggle as well. Do not try this on the street.

  • The fishing village of Tanji

    Before getting to Banjul I stopped for a few hours in Tanji, during the activity in the fishing market. What I saw I still remember with gratitude, because that market is unique in Gambia. Many fishing boats came to Tanji to sell fish and mainly women with their colorful dresses, bought them in their buckets. Everything was very exotic for me and...

  • Learn African jungle skills in Guinea...

    You can get a rare opportunity to live in a jungle village in Guinea Bissau, a country rarely travelled by Western tourists. Our Gambian friend, Lucas Jattacan arrange your visa and take you by bush taxi across the Cassamance region of Senegal to Sao Domingo, a wild Bissau border town where you will spend the night. Next morning, using local...


    Juffureh is a small village on the banks of the River Gambia. It was founded by the Taal family in 1455. It was made famous as the birthplace and home of Kunta Kinte, the slave who was taken from his home and shipped to America in 1767.Kunta Kinte was the central character in the book “Roots”. Alex Haley, a descendant of Kunta Kinte, wrote the book...


    Barra is one of the main ports in The Gambia. The ferry between here and Banjul is one of the few crossing points of the immense Gambia River, it is a main link between the North and South of the country. The ferry carries passengers and cars. There are also small boats that take people across. To get in these boats local men hoist you onto their...


    James Island lies 20 miles from the sea, up the River Gambia. It measures 360 ft in length and 200 ft wide. The nearest land is 1 mile from the north shore at Albreda. The island was originally settled on by Baltic Germans, it was under the rule of the Duke of Courland, from present day Latvia.The Germans bought the island from a local chief in...


    OPEN DAILY FROM 7am-6pmThe park is set in 125 acres of forest. Borassus palms line the 3 mile network of paths through the park. Here you will see the “green monkey” in abundance. This is the common monkey in The Gambia, it is sometimes known as the Callithrix monkey. There are also some rarer Red Colobus monkeys. 1/3 of all The Gambia’s...


    This restaurant and hotel complex is where I stayed for lunch during the 4 in 1 day tour. The food was a buffet and very nice. After lunch I sat in the shade on a deckchair, reading and drinking beer. Cows wandered up and down the beach, apparently they were looking for fruit, left by the fruit ladies.


    The Gambian mangroves run for 80 miles up the Gambian River. The roots of these trees are buried deep into the mud. The trees grow in salt water, they can grow up to 80 feet in height. A huge array of wildlife live amongst the mangroves, with Kingfishers, Comorants and Herons. Fishing is big business, with Seabass, Catfish and Yellowtail fish along...


    This is the 4th largest waterway in West Africa, it is 600 miles long.Salt deposits from the Atlantic Ocean travel up river for about 110 miles. The estuary at the mouth of the river is 12 miles wide, a regular ferry links Barra, on the North shore, with Banjul, on the south shore.


    This is one of the largest craft markets in The Gambia, a great place to buy locally made souvenirs.Its right on the beach near Kotu stream.


    During the dry, summer months, the stream is not very wide, even at high tide. During the wet season it swells and cuts off part of Kotu beach.During the summer, at high tide, a young man with a small boat ferries people across the stream for a small fee.The stream, heading towards the village has an array of birds and fish.


    The beach at Kotu is wonderful, from Kololi, the beach stretches for two miles northwards towards Kotu and Kotu stream ( a small river that cuts off the beach at high tide). This is the most populated beach in the Gambia. Along the shore there are bars, fruit ladies and juice bars. Local football teams use the beach in the late afternoon for...


    The cemetery holds 200 graves, the casualties of World War II.I took a taxi from my hotel to the Cemetery, the cost was 500 Dalsis (£10). This included 2 hours waiting time.My father served in Africa during WWII, he was in East Africa, where he received the Africa Star. The cemetery was very well looked after, two gardeners where weeding and...


    Bakau translated means “big place”. This is the third largest town in The Gambia, behind, Serekunda and Big place. It has a fruit and vegetable market and a fishing beach.Bakau was founded in the 17th Century around the Kachikally area. Lemos Coelho, the Portuguese explorer was the first European to mention this town, he landed here in 1669. He...


    You will find pirogues and small fishing boats everywhere along the coast in The Gambia.The brightly painted boats are often bobbing about in the water, catching a variety of fish including; flying fish, yellowtail, snapper, catfish, rockhind, mullet and sea bream. When the boats land on the beach with their catch, women in brightly coloured...


    Very close to the beach where the fish is landed in Tanji, there is a smoking centre for fish to be processed before being sent to restaurants, hotels and export.The fish is first laid out over hot coals and left for about 3 days, being turned a couple of times during that time. Once smoked, the fish is then either sold in local markets or hotels....


    This is the busiest fishing town in The Gambia. The beach is busy throughout most of the day, with a constant delivery of fish from the abundant supply of the Atlantic Ocean. Once on the beach, the boats are unloaded, the fish was then taken ashore, in baskets and wheelbarrows. From the shore, the fish is taken to the smoking centre, the market or...


    The oyster farm is situated just outside Lamin Lodge, i visited on the " 4 in 1 day tour" with ARCH-TOURSThe oysters are brought to the farm, boiled for 20 minutes so that they are easier to prise open. The larger of the oysters are sold to local hotels and the smaller ones sold in the local markets. The shells of the oysters are ground down to a...


    Kachikally crocodile pool is in a district of Bakau. There are over 100 magnificent crocodiles in and around the pool. The pool also has sacred fertility properties, women still to this day go there in the hope that it will help them to get pregnant. This is not the only sacred pool in The Gambia, some of the others also have crocodiles living in...

  • A culture show at The Palm Beach hotel

    AFRICAN DANCINGDuring my stay at PALM BEACH HOTEL, there was entertainment each evening, at the bar around the pool.Sunday and Wednesday evening, the entertainment was “a culture show”.Women African dancers, danced energetically to a drum band played by men. It was very entertaining. People were invited up onto the stage to participate. I enjoyed...

  • 4 IN 1 DAY TOUR

    4 in 1 day tour, This was the first ARCH-TOURS that I went on in The Gambia, it was really fun and very informative. We started by going to Serrekunda market, which was very busy and hectic. Alex showed us some of the products on sale including Kola nuts, we tasted these, they were quite bitter but very popular with the locals. We next went to...


    Arch-Tours was by far the best part of my holiday in The Gambia. The company was started in 2004 by Abdul Conteh,previously they were known as the "boys in red" and their reputation has grown along with the company for the last 10 years.I booked my tours whilst I was in Gambia as the office was only a ten minute walk from my hotel and next to the...


    JULBREWThe local bottled beer is Julbrew, and is sold everywhere in The Gambia. it is brewed in Banjul and tastes delicious. In the hotels it is 50 dalasis (£1) a bottle.


    The fruit ladies serve most parts of the beach between kotu stream and Kololi. Usually when you buy fruit from one of these ladies she will remember you and approach you when you are walking along the beach. I love fruit so I had 3 fruit ladies, Halimatous, Almia and Susan. Each of them work on different parts of the beach. The fruit is really...

  • Bakau fishing village

    If you walk into Bakau from Fajara one of the first places you come too, soon after the small market, is the fishing village. Here the local fishermen congregate to launch their pirogues, mend their nets, sell their catch – and to try to make a few extra delasi by showing tourists around. Stand firm – you don't need a guide to wander around here...

  • Serekunda Market

    We came to Serekunda Market, the largest in The Gambia, with Habib and spent around an hour wandering around. We were very pleased to have his company as I'm not at all sure we would have found our way around this maze of lanes on our own, and we would certainly have attracted more attention, more hassle, and found it harder to take photos. As it...

  • Kachikally Crocodile Pool

    Have you ever petted a full grown crocodile?! No, nor had we, and when Habib suggested that we might do just that at the Kachikally Crocodile Pool I was in two minds about the idea. But as it turned out we found the crocs docile enough that we did pet them, and lived to tell the tale!Kachikally is part tourist attraction, part shrine. It is one of...

  • Botanic Gardens

    We paid a brief visit to the Botanic Gardens in Bakau with Habib. After the colourful flowers on many of the shrubs in the grounds of Ngala Lodge this struck us as a little dusty and bare, with few flowers and some plants looking less than well-tended. But it was an interesting opportunity to see some of the country’s native plants and a few were...

  • Calypso at the Cape

    Although this is a bar and restaurant I am including it as a "Thing to do" because it is in such an appealing setting that it merits a trip simply to see the surroundings. We came here with Habib at the end of one of our excellent mornings out (see my Fajara Favourites tip) and had a relaxing time sipping cold fresh wonjo juice (made from sorrel,...

  • Bijilo Forest Park

    This is an easy excursion from any of the coastal resorts, and if you like animals and birds, one well worth making. Bijilo is an area of natural sandy-soiled forest that was preserved when the coastal strip was being developed, so that tourists would have a chance to see something of natural Gambia on their doorstep. It has become home to troops...

  • Roots excursion

    If you have read Alex Haley's book, Roots, have seen the TV series or are simply interested in the history of slavery in The Gambia and West Africa, this tour provides an interesting insight into the places and people behind his story and that of thousands of others. You board a boat in Banjul for the two hour journey on the River Gambia to the...

  • Albreda

    We visited Albreda as part of the Roots excursion. It is a small fishing village on the north bank of the Gambia River, about two hours sailing time from Banjul. In less happy times this was one of the embarkation points for slaves being transported to the Caribbean and Southern states plantations, and the village contains several memorials of...

  • Slavery Museum, Albreda

    The small slavery museum in Albreda is housed in a wooden building dating from the mid 19th century, known as the Maurel Freres Building. This building is somewhat ramshackle, despite being described in a sign on the outside wall as “one of the best structurally preserved historical buildings in the James Island and related sites world heritage...

  • Juffureh

    Juffureh is the neighbouring village to Albreda and like it is visited on the popular Roots excursion. The two villages in fact more or less join each other, separate only by what appeared to me to be a wide sandy track but could equally as easily have been a dried up river bed. Only the "Welcome to Juffureh" sign tells you that you are entering...

  • Kunta Kinteh Island

    Formerly known as James Island (the name was changed in 2011) and prior to that St Andrew's Island, this small island in the River Gambia is home to the ruins of a fort that once belonged to colonial Britain. For many slaves, this would have been the last patch of African soil that they saw before being transported in the bowels of transatlantic...

  • Makasutu Cultural Forest

    Makasutu means “sacred forest” in Mandinka. This 500 hectare reserve was founded by two British men, James English and Lawrence Williams, who had a passion for The Gambia and wanted to help to preserve its wildlife and natural environment. They gradually bought this area of land and restored it to its natural state. It encompasses five different...

  • James Island or Kuntah Kinteh Island

    In summer 2012 we visited James Island, also known as Kunta Kinteh Island. James Island is a very small island in the Gambia River. We went there by small boat from the northern riverside.In 1456 the Island after Portugal acquired the island from local rules the Oortuguese started to build a fort. The location of the island in the middle of the...

  • Wassu, the mysterious stone circles

    In Wassu each stone circle consists of about 10 to 24 massive and reddish brown stones.The stones are between 1M and 2.5 M high and must weigh several tons, they told me.Similar structures are found in the Sahara and in Guinee. In Gambia is the largest concentration, about 40 circles between Wassu and Kau-ur.After my visit at the Wassu circles the...


    I will be there in February/March too. It will be my Gambia Trip # 15.The real Gambia is to avoid the Hotels and live in the village. There are a lot of appartments and B&B offers. If you want to travel, which I would recommend, do it on a private base with an experienced guide. Gore Island is really worth a trip! Anyway, Senegal is taking better...

  • Fishing

    The Gambia offers some fabulous fishing both salt water and freshwater try your hand fishing for Barracuda in the Atlantic or go up river for the Tiger Fish

  • Kachikally Crocodile Park

    The sacred pools at Bakau have over the years become a tourist magnet for visitors to The Gambia. Some Gambians believe that the pools have supernatural healing powers and in particular bathing with the waters can aid in fertility. There are dozens of these sacred pools in The Gambia (some without crocs) but this is the nearest to the Atlantic...


    When in the Gambia, do take a trip to the south part of Senegal, the Casamance. Go on a guided trip for one day and experience the Atlantic Ocean, the different language and the husle to cross the border and to get in again........Great fun.

  • Wassu, stone circles

    Near Wassu are several stone circles, believed to be burial sites and about 1200 years old. Wassu with its stone circles is one of the most famous sites in Gambia.These stone circles gave me a very mysterious feeling, like also Stonehenge in England and the stones in Carnac in France did.The archaeologists don't know yet the origin of these Wassu...

  • Mali & Senegal Tours with Oumar Diarra

    Anyone considering a beach holiday in the Gambia and Senegal, may want to look West and venture deeper into the real Africa. Whether you just have a few spare days away from the beach or would like to spend three or four weeks travelling around the sights of Senegal, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, Oumar can take you there. For those lucky...


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The Gambia Things to Do

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