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Language:English | Currency: Dalasi (D) | Local time: GMT | Avg. Flight time: 6 hrs
Let’s be clear – most British travellers consider holidaying in The Gambia very affordable, with most of the three or four-star resorts available from as little as £30 a night. You can sometimes get an even cheaper deal if you book a holiday package. For example, a week-long break (inclusive of a four-star hotel, flights and breakfast) in December is often less than £500 per person.
If you’re a budget traveller, then it’s worth researching a visit to The Gambia in the off-season. From late June to October, the rainy season (known locally as ‘Nawet’) is when you can the best hotel deals, usually up to 50% cheaper. During this period, the climate is still warm, with temperatures hovering around 25C, but you do need to pack a raincoat and take insect repellent and Malaria prevention tablets with you.
Coastal resorts such as Bakau, Kotu and Kololi are where the sun-chasing tourists flock to and naturally, they are home to some of the best hotels in The Gambia. Kotu is incredibly laid back and is near to Fajara Golf Club where you can enjoy a round of golf with fellow travellers. Kololi is an established resort area with a range of restaurants and shops. The nightlife here is vibrant, but low-key in comparison to Europe – there aren’t any laser-flashing dance clubs, but you can enjoy cheap local beer in any of the pubs and restaurants.
For a taste of luxury, head to Coco Ocean Resort & Spa which is just off Bijilo National Park. This is one of the most well-known five-star hotel options. With its stunning beachfront location, lush tropical gardens, spa facilities, it’s the premier spot for couples and honeymooners.
Accommodation in Banjul is limited to small, cheap, no-frills hostels and boarding houses. If you want to venture inland, you can find unique hotels such as Mandina River Lodge located in the Makasutu Forest which is home to baboons and monkeys. The lodge’s beautiful setting comprises of palm groves, wetlands, mangroves and savannah plains, with rooms either looking out into the jungle or in solar-powered lodges floating on the river. You can join gentle guided walks as well as bird-watching boat trips organised by the lodge.
Famed for its incredible varied bird spices, birdwatching in The Gambia is a rewarding experience for both expert and novice birdwatchers alike. Your hotel is likely to offer birdwatching trips guided by a local expert. Another trip worth taking is a boat tour cruising along the Gambia River. The trip will take you to visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of Kunta Kinteh Island where the ruins of several British administrative buildings still remain, as well as stopping by the Baboon Islands.
Looking to visit Gambia Make sure to check out our Tips and Advice page first.