The Gambia, a Little Known Destination

The Gambia
The Gambia, in West Africa

I think there comes a time when you get bored of the usual beach holiday, you’ll know the one I mean, and you want something different. I hadn’t heard much about The Gambia, a small West African country, but a friend raved about her trip, so I decided to find out more.

My thoughts on it are that it should definitely be on the to-do list.

Bakau is a laid-back, chilled-out affair on the River Gambia, with picture-perfect beaches. The bonus is that it’s very affordable, which I always find useful! When winter falls in the UK, and the weather heads to sub-zero, Bakau offers sunshine – and sunshine my friends, is the name of the game.

Cheap sunshine? Sounds good to me. I always find long-haul flying easier and cheaper by booking added extras, such as Heathrow Parking when flying from the capital. Saving the cost of expensive taxis is always welcome, and I found the convenience of the terminal shuttle fantastic.

What appealed about this African resort was the variation. Nature? Check. Culture? Check. Beach-life? Check. History? Check. There’s not much more I’d want from a resort, other than shopping maybe, but if I wanted designer, I’d go to New York.

The Gambia is rich in wildlife, with many birds, monkeys and crocodiles. Hiking through a real-life jungle is something I’ve always wanted to do – here it’s possible, with guided tours, or boat trips down the swamps – spot a hippo! Bijilo Forest and Abuko National Parks are both easily reached by pre-arranged excursions.

I love beaches, so let’s get down to business. Flying long-haul, I expect stunning beaches, and Bakau doesn’t disappointment, with white sand, blue sea and swaying palms. Paradise. I hear the gentle lapping sound already. Fajara and Kololi are the popular beaches, with Kololi slightly more popular.

I like to experience culture and history, and with Bakau’s colonial history, there’s plenty to see and experience, including picturesque botanical gardens.

What is great about Bakau is that most of hotels are all-inclusive – saving money straightaway. I enjoy staying all-inclusive, I find the freedom of knowing my food and drink is paid for means I can venture further afield, and if I want a meal elsewhere, I have the option. Local cuisine is fresh and hearty, with lots of rice and fish. Domoda is something I’ve tried before and really enjoyed.

In my opinion, if you want partying, Bakau isn’t for you. The resort is more about relaxation, culture, wildlife-spotting and jungle treks. Hotels offer entertainment, but other than that, I’d recommend chilling out.

From my experience, added extras, such as airport parking, are invaluable and take some of the stress away from travelling. I always find travel days manic, so any respite is welcome! Edinburgh Airport parking is great value when flying from north of the border, or Stansted Airport parking, which I used in the past, and found it to be fantastic value.
Some holidays are meant to be different, and I find these are the ones that turn out to be fantastic.

Maybe try something different this year?

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