Back-to-nature holidays in The Gambia

Updated on Sep 27, 2019 by Clarabel Jones

Blog > Back-to-nature holidays in The Gambia

Teeming with wildlife and unspoilt wilderness, The Gambia is a nature-lover's playground. Take a walk on the wild side and craft your own back-to-nature holiday. Mother Nature is waiting!

The wildlife experiences in The Gambia are limitless, making it the perfect holiday destination for those looking to reconnect with the natural world.

Read on to find out the best places to stay on your back-to-nature holiday and which extra excursions and experiences we recommend to make your holiday even more memorable.

 

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Mandina Lodges

Back-to-nature holidays don't get much better than this. Hidden away in the heart of Makasutu Forest, Mandina Lodges offers complete peace and tranquillity amongst the mangroves. 

Monkeys and baboons swing through the trees, and its position along the River Gambia also makes it a bird-watcher's paradise. Look out for kingfishers and bee-eaters whilst you relax in the pool, or take a breakfast walk with your personal Mandina guide - who will explore with you by foot and canoe, teaching you about the flora and fauna around you.

The accommodation itself is nothing short of magical; nine beautifully designed lodges connected by wooden walkways and bridges give you a sense of being immersed in your environment. Many even have open-air showers, allowing you to truly feel at one with nature.

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Fathala Wildlife Reserve

This unique property in neighbouring Senegal brings you face to face with some of Africa's most exciting wildlife.

Set within 2,000 hectares of a 6,000 hectare national reserve, at Fathala the animals roam freely, giving visitors a sense of truly being immersed in the wonders of nature.

Enjoy a local game drive, where you'll be in for a chance of seeing rhino, giraffes, buffalo, zebra, warthogs and monkeys. And when nighttime comes, gather around the fire pit to observe the wildlife at the nearby watering hole before dining in a traditional thatched restaurant.

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Sunset Beach Hotel

Small and friendly, Sunset Beach Hotel is well-suited to those looking for a back-to-nature holiday on a budget. 

Situated between the beach and the neighbouring Kotu stream, the location makes it a great back-to-nature base for keen birdwatchers. When you're not relaxing by the hotel's two beachfront pools or exploring the nearby bustling resort of Kololi, look up to the sky to spot some of The Gambia's rarest and most beautiful birds.

The huge variety of birdlife in the area means that this hotel is often visited by birding enthusiasts - including Chris Packham when he guides birdwatching tours in The Gambia!

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Bakotu Hotel

Another property that's popular with birdwatchers, Bakotu Hotel is known throughout The Gambia for its tranquil ambience and uninterrupted views of Kotu stream. 

You won’t find any loud music or organised pool games here. Set back from the golden sands of Kotu Beach, this property enjoys beautiful natural surroundings while being close enough to the beach for those who want to feel the sand between their toes.

Head round to the back of the hotel to find a large decked area set beneath towering trees, where you can observe monkeys, monitor lizards and over 50 species of bird!

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Senegambia Hotel

One of The Gambia's best known hotels, it's also one of the liveliest, with a wide range of activities during winter aimed at adults, teenagers and children.

The most popular is the daily vulture feeding which takes place in the hotel’s gardens, attracting several species of birds and monitor lizards, as well as monkeys looking for a free lunch.

Also home to a diverse array of birdlife, the Senegambia gardens can be explored further with the hotel's resident ornithologist, who is on hand to provide guided tours within the grounds.

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Get out and explore...

Wherever you stay in The Gambia, you have the opportunity to add extra excursions and tours to your back-to-nature holiday.

Here are some of the best additions that will help you experience more of The Gambia's fascinating wildlife:

 

Chimp Rehabilitation Project

A visit to the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project's camp is an experience that'll stay with you forever.

After starting in 1979, the eco-camp is today home to over 100 chimpanzees which live on a series of three islands deep in the heart of the River Gambia National Park.

Take a boat trip around the islands and observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat, not to mention hippos, crocodiles and a colourful array of birds who also call the river home.

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Birdwatching tours

Home to over 540 species of bird, The Gambia is widely recognised as one of the best birdwatching destinations in the whole of Africa. 

From half-day birdwatching tours to full-day excursions with lunches and entrance fees to nature reserves included, there's plenty of options to add to your back-to-nature holiday.

Many of our tours are conducted by Malick Suso, who Chris Packham described as one of the very best birdwatching guides in The Gambia.

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Kachikally Crocodile Pool

The wildlife in The Gambia doesn't get much more exciting than crocodiles! The Kachikally Crocodile Pool in Bakau is one of the country's most famous tourist hot-spots, which is not surprising considering the pool is home to over 100 crocodiles.

Pay a visit to the museum to find out why the area became sanctified, and look out for the famous Charlie, who measures a staggering two metres long!

 

Rivers of West Africa Cruise

The best finishing touch to a back-to-nature holiday in The Gambia is a cruise along the tranquil River Gambia.

Come aboard the elegant mega yacht Harmony V and enjoy an intimate cruising experience, while keeping an eye out for rare and wonderful wildlife as you go.

Step inside Kiang West National Park, and take an optional river excursion past Baboon Islands in the River Gambia National Park, where you can observe chimps, hippos, crocodiles and monkeys in their natural habitat.

You can choose between a 4 or 7-night cruise, both of which can be added to your back-to-nature Gambia holiday. 

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This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to back-to-nature holidays in The Gambia. Discover our list of exciting excursions, or browse our full collection of properties today.

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