The Gambia, Africa’s smallest country, held quite a few surprises for us. Admittedly, the decision to go to West Africa was quite a spontaneous one. Within minutes we decided to fly into Banjul, The Gambia, and return from Dakar, Senegal. We only found very little online and the few sentences we found suggested that the “Smiling Coast of Africa” could offer precisely what we were looking for: lightheartedness, friendly people, and off-the-beaten-path adventures.
Did we find what we were looking for? Not exactly.
Life has been a challenge in 2019 and so we might not only have been poorly informed but also too exhausted to embrace a 4th world country.
The Gambia boasts stunning, often deserted beaches, traditional villages, and lush vegetation along the Gambia River. Yet, the country is too frequently visited for the wrong reasons and poor tourism practices. For decades “tubabs”, white European females have visited the country for sex tourism, forming the idea that this is what tourists want and visit for. Perceptions like this made it challenging for backpackers like us to actually get to know people, bond and travel independently. Looking back, we would suggest to either spent a LOT of time far away from the tourist hubs such as Kololi and/or find yourself a driver once you get there. This will actually allow you to learn more about the country, its tribes and customs, and even maybe bond with locals.