The Smiling Coast – Gambia

BANJUL, GAMBIA – The Republic of Gambia commonly referred to as ‘The Gambia’ is situated in the western region of Africa. It has a land area of 10,380 km2 with an estimated population of 1,700,000. The agriculturally fertile country, dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism has its capital in Banjul. The official language is English and national languages include Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Serer, and Jola.

Tourism has become the fastest-growing sector of the economy as visitors come in every year, drawn by its beaches, birds, sunshine, the culture and the country’s biggest asset – The Gambian people.

Known as ‘The Smiling Coast’ you’ll find some of the friendliest people on the planet here, perhaps that is just one of the many charms luring visitors here year after year. It is also one of the world’s best destinations for bird watchers. Its blend of incredible culture and wonderful nature promises a relaxing holiday with a touch of spice thrown in.

A lovely climate, hospitable people and amazing landscapes – from long stretches of golden sandy beaches at resorts such as Kololi Beach and Kotu Beach, to mangrove swamps and nature reserves, will tickle your delight.
Gambia has unique qualities over many other destinations in Africa, it is a popular and affordable destination attracting tourists in search of sun, sand and cultural experience of which this unique country has plenty.

You may recall the late great American Historian, Alex Haley who discovered his ancestry in the Gambian village of Juffereh. He later wrote a book based on his findings which later became a popular TV series known to millions as ROOTS.

With all its grandeur, one thing stands out in Gambia and that is the emergence of Bumsters around major tourist attractions. It is a basic fact that touts are usually seen in major tourist areas of major destinations, but in the Gambia they’re infamous, not so much for their voracity as for their nickname; everyone, from newspapers to policemen, calls them ‘Bumsters’, which makes it practically impossible to take them seriously. They are young, unemployed youths who hang round the beaches of the Gambia, hustling tourists and trying to make money any way they can.

Tourists are mostly perceived as rich, stupid and easy meat, and it sure beats having to work the peanut fields for a living. Next time you visit the country, make sure you are on the lookout and don’t fall a victim to their pranks.