Travel ideas for solo travellers to The Gambia

My Magazine 2022/01
7 min
To find solitude, freedom, self-indulgence, and be a social butterfly of your own, why not try solo travel to The Smiling Coast of Africa (The Gambia).

This paradise in Africa will unwind and relax your mind with plenty of things to explore. You will find yourself visiting fascinating places, tasting delicious food, relaxing on paradise beaches, meeting new people to experience different cultures, and most of all, learning more about yourself.

The Gambia is widely reputable for being a safe and friendly destination. We are particularly welcoming and proud to show our culture. The Gambians are genuinely happy to lend a helping hand, give directions or offer suggestions to visitors. Most people speak English (and often a few other languages too), so a communication barrier isn't a big concern.

Where are you going to meet people? Are you going to be alone? Well, most of the time you don't even need to go out of your accommodation place if you want to enjoy some company. In big hotels with more than 100 rooms, there are many solo travellers and other people who don't mind making acquaintances.

There are many things to do in The Gambia as a solo traveller, and we will share a few with you in this article.

 

ENJOY THE SANDY BEACHES ON THE COAST FROM BANJUL TO KARTONG

Sun and beach lovers can soak into the hot sunny Gambia on its unspoilt and lonely beaches flanked by palm trees, restaurants, bars, and exciting life. If you want to spend days on the beach, we recommend choosing a beach where you can enjoy the sunbeds, good food and a friendly atmosphere.

BAOBAB RIVER HIKING TRAIL TRIP

Visitors can enjoy a memorable hiking trip on the baobab river hiking trail, which will take you along woodlands on the river Gambia and its numerous villages. You can explore flora and fauna and abstain from the comfort and luxury of high-class tourist services and places. If you like hiking, this is a perfect choice.

Photo Credit: Baobab Hiking Trails

JOIN A MEDITATION RETREAT WITH YOGA BLISS GAMBIA

Join this solo retreat to disconnect from work, other livelihoods, and detox oneself using breathing techniques to free your mind and deepen body-mind connections with Melisa at Yoga Bliss. She is a professional coach and yoga instructor living in The Gambia for many years.

Photo Credit: Yoga Bliss Gambia

LIVE WITH LOCALS 

To embed into Gambians' culture and daily life, try homestays! This allows you to observe the daily lives of an average Gambian family in a typical setting. Learn how to cook traditional Gambian dishes, help with home chores, use public transport, and attend local ceremonies. This will make your trip unforgettable.

VOLUNTEER OR TAKE A GAP YEAR FOR AN INTERNSHIP

Do you want to give back and really do something meaningful with your time at the destination? The Gambia, a small, beautiful Western African country, offers outstanding and unforgettable volunteering opportunities. It is one of the best and most common ways of travelling to a new destination in the past years for people travelling alone. Many great projects are trying to improve different areas on an individual, local, and national level. And don't forget - this experience might completely change your life perspective.

ENJOY PEACEFUL RURAL LIFE IN UPCOUNTRY LODGES IN GAMBIA

Another way of experiencing traditional ways of living and seeing the amazing nature of the inlands is to spend your vacation in the rural Gambia.

The upcountry lodges offer ideal settings in beautiful Gambian nature with basic rooms and services with birds, monkeys and baboons frequently seen around. Most of them are located along rivers, making it ideal, especially during sunrises and sunsets.

ENJOY BREATHTAKING CRUISES ALONG THE GAMBIAN RIVERS

For the adventure traveller, there are few options to choose from. River cruises are one of the most fascinating activities in The Gambia. You will feel like you are part of a documentary film which you have watched recently on TV Channel. See life unfurl along its banks by hopping on board a traditional-style river pirogue, motoring past oyster creeks and through mangroves. Watch the local fisherman or the oyster ladies in their dugout canoes, while pelicans and ospreys fly overhead. Kayaking trips also offer you a truly unique way to see the River Gambia.

 

LAZY DAY CRUISES

Thinking of a relaxing day yet seeing the beauty and meanderings creeks of River Gambia and its surrounding? Then this refreshing and captivating cruise from Denton bridge on double-decked wooden boats will restore one's vitality and enthusiasm. You can join the various boat trip offers that will drive you along the mangroves creeks while sipping cold drinks and keeping an eye on numerous birds and wildlife. Most boats set out from 9 am to 4 pm, with capacities ranging from 10 to 40 people. The cruises will dart along the ever-green mangroves for hours with frequent stops for food, drinks, swimming, fishing and walking on the sandbanks. If you are a sun lover, you can bathe on the deck for hours in peace and tranquillity.

SUNSET CRUISE

This nature cruise will enable you to chill and wine on double-decked wooden boats in the rivers and as they meander to watch the sunset over the mangroves. The trips set out at 4:00pm with stops at Pelican Island and buffet dinner at Lamin lodge. You can try your feet in African fire dances and entertainment at Lamin lodge before you head back to your residence.

BINTANG BOLONG RIVER CRUISES

A famous lodge located in Bintang built along the River Gambia is a place where you can enjoy the peace and serenity of the place. They offer a relaxing cruise on the double-decked wooden boat where you can relax on the sunbed while cruising and enjoy the breeze in the shade with refreshments available with a good sound system to enjoy.

WALK WITH BABOONS IN MAKASUTU CULTURAL FOREST

Makasutu cultural forest consists of many different ecosystems. It is home to hundreds of species of birds and monkeys, monitor lizards and many more. They also offer drinks, food, and activities such as river trips in traditional dugout canoes, cultural performances, forest walks, birdwatching, animal observation and more.

Enjoy a walk in the forest along with Baboons that inhabited this cultural forest (ask if it's open in advance).

QUAD BIKING IN THE HEART OF SANYANG

Enjoy all beachside, lakes and forest view quad biking with Jatta’s quad rentals at Sanyang. This trip will allow you to explore rural villages and beautiful nature.

Photo Credit: Jatta Easy Quad

VISIT SEREKUNDA MARKET

Serekunda is the biggest town in The Gambia and boosts the most colourful and vibrant market called Serekunda market.

It is a traditional market where locals from the nearby communities meet to trade goods in a community-like atmosphere that offers a glimpse into Gambian culture. Knowing for being one of the oldest markets in The Gambia, it has become a profound cultural destination for tourists and travellers.

CULTURAL BONANZA

Suppose you are fascinated by culture and love to try your feet to the beats of African drums. Nothing beats joining locals on their cultural bonanzas at specific villages on specific dates and times. The villagers are keen to show you dance skills and offer a variety of cultural ambiences.

THE BAR SAFARI

Was brought about from Facebook group The Gambia Tourism Forum for members to meet up whilst on holiday but it has spread further afield to nonmembers.

It’s a great night out visiting 4 different restaurants and bars, trying new places – it is good for any solo traveller to experience the Gambian nightlife within the safety of a group, and you never know you could come away with some friends for life.

Put a face to the name  (if you know people via social media)

You’ll be picked up from 6.30pm - Different Bars & Restaurants
Eat somewhere
Drink somewhere
Dance - Live music somewhere
Chill/Dance somewhere
Then home around 1.30am

The Bar Safari is organised by Zack Gomez a local tour guide, they are being held on Wednesdays between 6.30pm - 1.30am and costs D650.

Join Facebook Page to know when the next one is The Bar Safari, there is one organized for Wednesday 29th December 2021 – Facebook event

 

If you are thinking of travelling to The Gambia alone and need any advice or help, please do not hesitate to contact us. We live here and have many experiences with solo travellers, know many accommodation providers and other people in the field. In addition to that, we have been active in charity work and creating volunteering opportunities in The Gambia for more than 10 years.

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Behind the lens: Serekunda Market
Ocean Villa Heights, a small hotel with a big personality

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