Tourism is a part of life the Gambia has not only come to welcomed but retains it to the best of its ability to spur its advancement.
It’s a sector progressive thinking countries can’t do without and hence its relevance. It details travel or tours around selected vicinities or receptive nature open to visitors or better put tranquil-seeking travel addicts.
Sites of all kinds exist to keep alive this sector or touring areas of the country often by visitors or sun-seeking Europeans or other nationalities desperately out to breakaway, albeit temporarily, from their cold ridden countries or homes especially those in the unforgiving winter times.
Situated in West Africa with a population no more than two million, patched at close edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Gambia, also dubbed the Smiling Coast, is the closest African country to Europe with its affordable plane ticket prices all the more reason for the increasing rate of tourists influx into the country.
Bertil Harding, a Swede, who now has a street named after him, is the first to bring tourists into The Gambia with the first batch being no more than 300 country-men of his in 1965 just about the time the West African country got freed from colonial shackles – a figure of which soared to 25,000 visitors by 1976.
For this, the Swede remains in the annals of the country’s tourism history and is strongly credited for growth of the sector over his initiative.
However, tourists don’t just ship into a country for mere fun-seeking. There has to be the infrastructure in place to trigger visits – a thing Gambia has in abundance especially under a supportive dispensation.
The country’s administrative capital Banjul, Juffureh, home to slavery fighter the legendary Kunta Kinteh where James Island –slave keeping centre for Europeans colonialists is also located – Katchikally located in Bakau and Jang Jangbureh are key sites popular amongst visitors.
Katchikally, in Bakau, is a pool considered cure grounds for men and women with fertility issues with crocodiles and all kinds of reptiles inhabiting there attractive enough for tourists viewing.
The aforementioned places are hot spots for tourists seeking to fathom, in glowing details, true culture or way of life of native Gambians.
Hotels, restaurants of top quality including cultural dances and residential areas also exist to quench curiosity of tourists out to dine or wine at affordable prices suiting guests of all kinds.
The covid-19, like in all places have affected the globe Gambia included. However, government have loosen up its restriction orders over easing of the ailment leading to the re-functioning of all sites closed by the pandemic.
Progress is slowly being registered amid lingering hope over the forthcoming tourism season.
Gambia also boasts of rivers and bolongs adorned with beautiful mangroves with flora and fauna prominent of fit for bird-watching, the perfect setting for tourists out to get glimpse of the country’s very many soaring bird kinds.
Composition of the tiny West African outfit remains an intrigue to most countries across the globe. In times when wars were littered mostly of tribal nature Gambia stood out.
With over seven ethnic groups with history traceable in other notable nations, it became of interest how the Smiling Coast never had history of ethnic cleansing with all its tribes living in harmony amid inter-marriages and welcomed acculturation.
It’s for this reason that led to war-torn countries into dispatching delegations to conduct studies on how a tiny Gambia with varying local dialects co-habit without qualms or religious fuelled bloodshed. This peaceful co-existence breeds about merging culture, customs and traditions.
For in-depth entertainment, the kankurang masquerade associated with the Mandinkas –the dominant tribe -, the Zimba linked with Wolof ethnic grouping –second biggest tribe– as well as the Djembe an instrument of pleasure touted with the Fulani group, the Kumpo associated with Jolas are solid basis for tourists out seeking to understand locals’ entertainment sources.
The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Spain, United States, Ireland and France are very many countries with most percentage of tourists arrivals.