Winter is a long season in Belgium. Everything is nice until the end of December (Christmas!). But January and February seem to go on forever. So, what if you crave sunshine? Nowhere to go in Europe and you don’t want to spend 100 years in a jet plane. Well: the Gambia to the rescue. Let that be reason number one, but there loads of reasons to visit the Gambia. I promise.
I do admit, the Gambia was not the first thing that came to mind. But while I was watching the weather report I noticed that winter in Belgium equals 30°C in the Gambia. This instantly gave me a warm feeling (pun intended). Are you still doubting to book a trip to the smiling coast? Well, brace yourselves because in about 5 minutes you’ll be booking you’re flight.
1/ Beaches, of course!
It’s heaven, heaven I tell you, to chill on the beach knowing it’s freezing back home. If you prefer a crowd and loads of fun activities (think: horseback riding, locals making music) go to Senegambia or Kololi. Would you rather relax and find some peace and quiet? Go to Nginki-Nganka or Fajara.
2/ Markets are awesome
There are plenty of marketplaces. I went to Serekunda and they sell practically everything. Veggies, exotic fruits, meats, souvenirs, traditional clothing. It can be quite overwhelming, the locals aren’t really used to seeing tourists and they’ll want to sell you more than you intended to buy. Asking along a guide (your taxi driver) can be very helpful.
3/ The Locals <3
This will sound a little mushy, but my heart had grown in size when I came back from the Gambia. Its nickname ‘the smiling coast’ is no coincidence. The people are so kind and attentive!
4/ A great first experience with Africa
I hadn’t been in Africa before and wasn’t necessarily suspicious but very curious. The Gambia is super chill and not as overwhelming as you’d think, thanks to their laid-back philosophy of life. No culture shocks but a hunger to discover the rest of the continent.
Money makes the world go around. It’s rather budget-friendly to visit the Gambia. If you look around a bit, you’ll find a hotel + flight for around 500 euros. Take my money and take me to the Gambia!
- I visited Gambia in March 2016.
- We stayed at the Senegambia Beach Hotel. Not that many hotels in the Gambia but I think this is one of the larger, more popular ones.