It’s no surprise that The Gambia’s high season falls at the same time as its dry season. Most tourists choose to visit at this time of year, between October and May. If you’re keen to avoid the crowds, your best bet is to check when the UK's school holidays fall and – if you can – book your break outside of those times.
The Gambia’s hottest months of the year are July and September, when the average temperature hovers around the 30-degree mark. However, these months both fall within the wet season, so if it’s sunbathing weather you’re after, it’s best to visit at another time of the year. During dry season, March and April are the hottest months. Jet off then, and you’re all set to top up your tan. In terms of sun, you’ll see the most from February through to May – these months offer an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day.
If your main reason for travelling to The Gambia is to get the measure of its wildlife, you won’t be disappointed. The birdwatching scene here is especially impressive – there’s a huge variety of species to spot, almost 600 in total, from raptors and pelicans to paradise flycatchers and herons. The best time to birdwatch here is in the early dry season – October, November and December. At this time, lots of birds migrate to The Gambia to escape the European winter. Plus, it’s breeding season for lots of native species, so you can expect them to be decked out in full breeding colours.
When it comes to other wildlife, any time during the dry season is a good time to visit. Make sure you tick off some of The Gambia’s nature reserves – the River Gambia National Park is a highlight. This protected area’s teeming with animals and birds. Take a river cruise along the Gambia and keep your eyes peeled for the likes of monkeys, crocodiles and hippos. May and June offer the least amount of wildlife-spotting opportunities. Although there’s also lots of wildlife to be seen toward the end of the rainy season, the vegetation gets so dense that it’s really tricky to spot anything – it’s no surprise that the rainy season is also known as the ‘green season’.
Looking to plan your trip to tick off one of The Gambia’s best events? Here are our top picks…
Banjul Demba Cultural Festival
Every year, this festival celebrates The Gambia’s culture through art exhibitions, plus music and dance performances.
Food and Beverage Festival
This event’s put on by The Gambia tourism board, and celebrates the country’s cuisine – expect dishes like domoda – a spicy peanut-based curry – and okra stew.
Second weekend of February
This annual festival takes place near The Gambia’s southern border, in the village of Kartong. The village is known for being traditional and unspoilt, and the festival is run by locals to celebrate The Gambia’s cultural credentials. If you’re looking to get to know the authentic side of The Gambia, this one’s for you.
National Independence Day of The Gambia
This celebration marks the anniversary of The Gambia’s independence from Great Britain in 1965. The main event takes place in the country’s capital, Banjul, in the form of a parade.
This annual rally kicks off in Plymouth in the UK, passing through Amsterdam and a number of African countries, before reaching its final destination in The Gambia.
Bureng Cultural Festival
This festival aims to preserve the traditional cultural practices of the Mandinka group in The Gambia.
International Roots Homecoming Festival
Every second May
This festival’s all about celebrating The Gambia’s culture and heritage – with its origins in reconnecting the country with its roots following the impact of slavery. It’s packed with culture-rich activities, music performances, and historical tours.
This by-the-beach hotel lines up some of the best family-friendly facilities in the business.
TUI SENSATORI Ibiza is in a standout spot on the White Isle. It comes with a great beachfront setting and brilliant sunset views.
In a prime spot on the Riviera Maya, the beachfront TUI SENSATORI Riviera Cancun offers up a taste of the finer things in life.
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
More from TUI
About TUI MyTUI app Cookies Notice Manage Cookie Preferences Privacy Notice Terms & Conditions Credit card fees Media Centre Travel Jobs Affiliates Discover Lakes & Mountains Discover Weddings App Store for Ios Google Play Store Travel Money Holiday Budget Calculator TUI Group First Choice Holiday Brochures Travel After Brexit Holiday Weather
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
See gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter and Facebook.com/FCDOtravel - for the latest general FCDO travel advice, including coronavirus travel guidance, security and local laws, and passport and visa information.
See gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice - for FCDO travel advice about individual destinations.
See Travel Aware page - for travel advice from TUI.
See travelhealthpro.org.uk - for current travel health news.
The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website.