This little sliver of a country’s nickname is The Smiling Coast thanks to its friendly people and lovely natural areas. As Africa’s smallest country, Gambia has just 80 km (50 miles) of shoreline, but the beaches are stunning, luxurious resorts line the shore, and busy fishing villages put fresh seafood on plenty of tables. Nature reserves are wildlife wonderlands where you can get up close to all kinds of monkeys. Always expect the unexpected here, whether it’s catching wrestling matches on the beach or spotting a sacred crocodile pool where offerings are left to ensure fertility or good fortune.
- Monkey see The Smiling Coast is home to many cheery primates, from masked green vervet monkeys to islands full of curious baboons.
- Arts and artists Escape to an art colony for a painting workshop or haggle for masks and wooden sculptures at a crowded public market.
- The royal treatment Well-appointed resorts all along the shore provide all manner of pampering, as do unique, eco-friendly accommodations such as Mandina Lodges.
- Hit the beach The sun shines nearly every day and there’s a cool sea breeze blowing half the year, creating the perfect environment for enjoying the beaches.