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At just six hours from the UK and with an abundance of sun, the Gambia is sure to remain a holiday favourite...
Hotels in the Gambia have been turning heads in recent years thanks to a series of beautiful new additions to the accommodation market as this West-African nation enjoys something of a tourism awakening.
The unusually-shaped country occupies only a short run of Atlantic Ocean coastline, but what it does have is stunning. It's where white sands are lapped by turquoise waters and where sun worshippers soak up the sun before seeking shade on gently-swinging hammocks. There are national parks, wetlands and wildlife reserves where visitors wield cameras and where yawning hippos laze in the muddy waters. Bird-watchers in particular twitch with excitement at the prospect of a day with binoculars in the Gambia. The capital city of Banjul is crammed with buzzing markets and cultural attractions and the beach resorts along the balmy coast offer everything required for sun, sea and sand with an African twist.
City or beach, find out where to find the best hotels in Gambia...
In the Gambia, hotels are mostly concentrated in the beach resorts and in Banjul.
The resorts run fairly close together on the coast, though there are clear distinctions between them. Kotu is one of the most well-known and therefore busier tourism hubs and the beaches here can become very crowded. Kololi is also busy and it has plenty of amenities to keep visitors happy. Cape Point is much quieter than its neighbours, while Bakau offers more of a traditional feel as it is quite close to a busy urban area. Hotels around Bijilo Beach, just south of Bijilo National Park, are also popular. In all of the resorts you'll find a good range of hotels, from budget hotels with basic facilities to luxury hotels with swimming pools, lovely gardens and excellent restaurants. With the exception of the cheapest, most hotels offer lodgings on at least a half-board basis.
In Banjul, hotel choices are very limited. There are a handful of mid-range hotels with swimming pools and great facilities, as well as some budget choices.
Discover the best bits of the Gambia with our handy guide...
The top attractions in the Gambia celebrate the natural beauty and variety of Africa's smallest nation.
Top five attractions
Abuko Nature Reserve
The monkeys are the stars of this beautiful reserve, which is just south of Abuko and less than a 30-minute drive from the Atlantic resorts.
Kachikally Crocodile Pool
Around 100 resident crocodiles live in this sacred pool in Bakau. The waters are meant to have healing powers, especially for infertile women. Under supervision, visitors can pet the crocs.
Royal Albert Market in Banjul
Visit the riverside market in the capital for a close look at life here. There are stalls aimed at tourists, with plenty of holiday knickknacks for sale, but it's the fresh produce and lovely fabrics that many will find most appealing.
Makasutu Culture Forest
Enjoy tribal dance, music and song on day trips to this reserve, which sprawls over 1,000 acres and also offers accommodation in the luxurious and unique Mandina Lodges.
Bijilo Forest Park
You can walk to this pleasant and small reserve easily from resorts such as Kololi. Look out for native birds and monkeys.
Discover what events are due to take place during your visit to the Gambia...
Explore African culture during any of these top events in the Gambia:
Banjul Demba Cultural Festival; January: This long-running event showcases traditional music, dance and other cultural highlights from the people of the Gambia.
International Roots Festival; May/June: This biennial celebration is the Gambia's most popular event. It is organised to welcome back anyone of African descent and the programme includes organised visits to Kunta Kinteh Island and a slave museum as well as traditional displays of culture.
July 22 public holiday: Be at Arch 22 - the striking monument in Banjul that was built to honour the successful military coup of July 22, 1994 - to see parades and performances.