The Gambia - Calendar


January

Bag a bargain

Christmas is over and budgets are depleted, meaning January is a good time to look for last-minute bargain packages at the height of the tourist season.

February

Dancing and drumming in Kartong

One of The Gambia's most prominent annual festivals, usually held over three days on the first full weekend in February, is dominated by exciting traditional music and dancing displays.

March

Chill out on the coast

March and April are among the best months to be at the coast – relatively cool at night, and towards the end of the dry season, which means mosquito and other insect activity is at its lowest.

April

Traditional band at the Roots festival, Banjul, The Gambia by Ariadne Van Zandbergen, www.africaimagelibrary.com

Post-Easter peace

Easter traditionally signals the end of the peak tourist season, which means that late April is often a very enjoyable time to be in The Gambia, with crowds thinning but facilities still operating in full seasonal mode.

May

Homecoming time

The International Roots Festival, inaugurated in 1996 and now usually held biennially in late May (sometimes slipping into June) offers an opportunity for Europeans and Americans of African descent to explore their cultural roots.

(Photo: Traditional band at the Roots festival in Banjul © Ariadne Van Zandbergen, www.africaimagelibrary.com)

June

Take a backpack upriver

May and June are among the best months for independent travel, with pleasantly dry weather but falling outside the main tourist season, which means that the coastal resorts are relatively quiet.

July

Heavy weather

The height of the rainy season, July isn't a great time to visit the Gambia.

August

Still heavy weather

Still in the height of the rainy season, August isn't a great time to visit the Gambia either.

September

Join the hustle at Abuko market

The livestock market in the small town of Abuko, close  to Banjul, becomes a chaotic regional focal point during the build-up to Tobaski (a Gambian variant on the Islamic celebration of Eid-al-Adha), when it is customary for every home to slaughter a ram. Tobaski coincides with the end of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, falling in September from 2015 to 2017.

October

A pre-season taster

Though it can be very hot in the interior, this is a great time to explore the coast, offering pleasantly dry weather prior to the abrupt start of the tourist season.

November

Birding bonanza

The early dry season, from late October to December, is the optimum time for ornithological trips to the Gambia. Wetland habitats are still moist and green, following the recently ended rainy season.  November in particular sees plentiful passage migrants from Europe, while many resident species enter full breeding colours.

Senegal thick-knee by the River Gambia, The Gambia by Ariadne Van Zandbergen, www.africaimagelibrary.com

A Senegal thick-knee by the River Gambia © Ariadne Van Zandbergen, www.africaimagelibrary.com

December 

Tourist season peaks

A great time of year to visit in most respects, December is also when the coastal resorts are most crowded with Europeans escaping the northern winter, which means resorts tend to be at their most crowded and room rates are highest and most inflexible.

Back to the top

The Gambia articles

View all

Gambia – for crocodile pools, handicrafts and indulgent eco-lodges

Didn't think it was possible to get a taste of Africa in a long weekend? Think again.

Read more...

The Stone Circles of Senegambia

Author Philip Briggs explores these ancient stone circles, each one reminiscent of a miniature Stonehenge, which form one of Africa’s most enigmatic and intriguing archaeological relicts.

Read more...

Alex Haley, Juffureh and the Roots saga

The Roots Tour to Juffureh and environs remains one of the most popular excursions from the resorts that line the coast south of Banjul thanks to Aley Haley’s Roots.

Read more...

Related guides and other books

View all