Discover year-round sunshine and fabulous beaches in The Gambia
Why go? For year-round sunshine, great beaches and fabulous seafood, with the added bonus of no jet-lag (it's in the same time zone as the UK).
When? An ideal 'winter sun' destination, you're guaranteed hot weather and clear skies all year round, although the most popular time to travel is between November and May.
What to see? The capital city Banjul houses the National Museum as well as local craft fairs and a number of hotels. From here, animal and bird lovers can take trips to the Abuko Nature Reserve and Kiang West National Park. Boat trips operate along the River Gambia, as well as its numerous creeks (bolongs), while fishing excursions depart from all the major resort areas. A little further afield you can find World Heritage site the Niokolo-Koba National Park.
Where to stay? Ngala Lodge - a former colonial mansion with a handful of unique, individually designed suites - is a popular choice with holidaymakers looking for a hotel with character and style. Perched on the top of a cliff, with fantastic views across the ocean and the hotel's private gardens, a secluded beach is reached via a series of steep steps. If you want to come back with better-than-the-average holiday snaps, during 2008 the hotel is offering special photography holidays combining fabulous shoot opportunities with a professional photographer alongside all the R'n'R you could need. For real luxury, chose the newly-opened 5-star Sheraton Gambia Hotel Resort & Spa on the south coast. Situated right on the beach, it houses nearly 200 rooms, as well as a stunning ballroom and fine restaurants. A more affordable option comes in the shape of the Bakotu Hotel in Kotu. The rooms are basic, but clean and airy, with a peaceful laidback atmosphere around the pool and in the two adjoining restaurants. The Captain's Table, particularly, is well worth visiting. For more information on all these hotels, visit www.gambia.co.uk/travel.
How to get there? Tour operators have a monopoly in the Gambia with few scheduled airline flights. However, leading, independent specialist The Gambia Experience (0845 330 2087, www.gambia.co.uk/travel) offers year-round flights from London Gatwick, Bristol International, Manchester, Nottingham East Midlands, Bournemouth and Leeds Bradford, with both package and flight-only options.
Need to know? The local currency is Dalasi - change your sterling when you get there, you'll get a much better exchange rate than in the UK. Anti-malarial medication is recommended, as well as certain inoculations, so consult your doctor before travelling. For more information, visit www.gambia.co.uk.
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