We simply had a super great vacation (Kololi, Tendaba, george Town, Kaoloack, Saly, Dakar, Lac Rose, Somone, Mar Lodj, Banjul).
Ismaila (Smiley) is a very reliable and friendly driver.
He drives very safely and has comfortable big car. We were travelling with 2 adults and 2 children (9 and 12 years old). In The Gambia it seems that he knows someone in every place! He helped us where ever he could (e.g. with the formalities at the border, and when the ferry was out of order on the last day of our trip he arranged a boat to the other side). We were free to arrange our own programme during the day. This was all very relaxed! By the way, he's also a mechanic, so we had no worries about the car.
The village of Lamin is a little paradise that can be found in Gambia. This is a very small place that is filled with mangroves where, currently, it is complicated to find people but very easy to see thousands of birds of different species. The main oddity of this village is the "Lamin Lodge" restaurant which is made of wood that has been built in the middle of the mangroves and therefore it is suspended in mid air. Here visitors can spot all types of birds and enjoy the scenery of the Gambia River or the seafood with a cold beer. We also strongly recommend to stay there until sunset and preferably to see it from the third level of the restaurant, where the colors acquire an inexplicable intensity. If visitors like the adventure, in the Lamin Lodge they can rent bikes and even mini boats to travel a few miles up the river of Gambia. The only is that the price of food and drink is much higher than in the rest of Gambia but it is still worth visiting.
Abuko Nature Reserve is the main Gambia National Park, which is important because although Gambia is the tiniest country in Africa, with 11,300 square kilometers, it has 6 nature reserves, 3.7% its land. I knew that in this park you can see everything, and I was correct. bird lovers can enjoy thousands of types that seem to have no fear of anything. It is advisable to bring binoculars, but you can see at a glance over a thousand birds. Some species live only in this area, as in the case of green and violet turacos or the polluelas . Along the way are many birding sites. I will recommend you enter, because besides enjoying wonderful views, you're going to be able to see something that I have not erased from my mind. The roofs of these houses are full of some species nests with spikes (I've included a picture). One of the caretakers of the park was trying to explain what exactly is this sort of nest, but after half an hour I just got to understand that they are a kind of butterflies with which you have to be careful as they have a poison that produces a greater pain than the sting of a wasp. But Abuko Nature Reserve there are many more things. Along the route you can see several species of monkeys, yes, often hidden from tourists, so I recommend go quietly. ALSO can find all kinds of insects, spiders and some seemed to have the body electric. At the end of the tour visitors are the greatest treasure of this book, a small orphanage for animals. Here it can be seen up close, and even touch and caress, several species of monkeys. There are vultures, hyenas, etc. I focused mainly on animals, but Abuko Nature Reserve is also a paradise for plant lovers, as there are hundreds of different species that often are not found anywhere else in the Gambia.
If Tanji Beach is a must-see, we should not miss the market, between Brufut and Tanji. The most notable feature is the drying of fish, made up of wooden cabins where they are dried while the fish is collected during the day. This fish is sold in markets in Gambia, Banjul like or Brikama and provided no trucks waiting to collect the goods. The smell is strong. Visitors will not only be surprised by the smell, another thing that is notable is the dirt. This cleaning is done only once a month and every day thousands of fish are dried. I did not dare to try these products, but if you want to do something brave this is the best place to try dried fish. Besides fish, we can find all kinds of products, from clothing to bracelets, pendants and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Children usually around forever until this market approach to play and have fun and at the same moment that a tourist gets everybody comes up to him and accompany him until he leaves. One recommendation, many of these children have never been seen in a mirror, much less in a photo, so for them they do a photo is a wonderful thing, especially if it is with a digital camera and then you can teach it.
The capital of Gambia is a place of contrasts. Despite being the country's biggest city, the structures are tiny, the tallest is the Arch 22, a bow in the middle of the city that is prohibited to pass through. Everyone must go around except the head of state. Most streets are unpaved and not clean, as in the rest of the population of Gambia is made once a month, so it really depends on the day you visit, whether or not the streets will be clean. In Banjul the streets are full of "shops" where they sell all kinds of things and of people going from one place to another running errands, but there are also many places to see. the Royal Victoria Teaching hospital offers guided tours in return for a donation. It is worth seeing because you can understand the difficulties faced in these countries. When we went to see one of the best rooms, the "laboratory", the doctor explained he was excited because a few months ago he couldn´t do analysis, and explained in detail what was this process. I was also struck by the X-ray room, as they had a machine that had given the British in 1970 or so but did not work for two years. Seriously, it's an amazing place. In Banjul we can also see the National Museum, which has some exhibits dated but we can draw a lot of attention, for example, here sets out the dress she wore Miss Gambia in 1984. Another life hotspot that you can visit is the St. Joseph's Adult Education. It is an education center for more than 20 years dedicated to helping disadvantaged women. These places are really worth a visit and is a must walk hours through this capital to understand the serious differences that exist in these countries. It's indescribable, a must see