The Gambia, on the West African coast, just a 6 hours flight away and with no time change makes a perfect destination to escape the cold of winter.
Though tourists in search of winter sunshine have been visiting this small country for a good 30 years, it is still relatively un-spoilt in terms of large tourist hotels and developments: so far there are no true resort style hotels, more the hotels are built near small villages which are gradually developing into resorts encompassing craft markets, local bars and restaurants.
Whilst many of the hotels are fairly simple in what they offer, there are a surprising number of small boutique style hotels with quirky rooms, excellent spas and fabulous restaurants. Eating out in the Gambia is now quite an experience, with a wonderful choice of cuisine, from local spicy chicken yassa, Lebanese food, Chinese, Indian and European – the much welcomed French influence from neighbouring Senegal has seen an enormous change over the last 20 years.
For many people a visit to one of the local schools or charities is a humbling experience but the schools are well supported by the UK visitors who make yearly visits and organise fund raising in the UK: you will find a host of smiling faces and young ones all too eager to show off their classrooms, and of course, have their photo taken!
If you tire of the beach there are opportunities to go deep sea fishing, enjoy a day cruising on the River Gambia or have a dusty adventure in a 4×4 visiting the Gambian countryside: or what about a day’s home cooking course first visiting the market and then preparing a local dish in a local home.
The Gambia is also a birdwatchers paradise with some 540 species and with everything in relatively close proximity (forest savannah environments, drier woodland, marine systems and estuary mudflats with its intricate mangrove tributaries) you don’t have to travel far – just standing on your bedroom terrace you can see over 10 varieties!
To find out more about the gambia, please call Howard on 01428 658 777.