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.

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