Why The Gambia should be your next holiday – and how to save £100 with an exclusive M.E.N discount

What better way to beat those winter blues than booking an exciting and exotic trip for early 2020?

Leave the Manchester drizzle behind and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime with a holiday to The Gambia.

That’s right, this small West African country is a must-visit this year with everything from exotic wildlife, luxury abodes and a coastline to explore.

And now it’s even more affordable as the M.E.N has partnered with specialist travel provider The Gambia Experience to offer an exclusive reader discount.

If you book before February 2, 2020 using the code JAN100 you can save £100 on the cost of your holiday.

But you won’t be the first to see the potential in this gem of a holiday destination as The Gambia receives more than 100,000 visitors a year.

With an influx of Europeans enjoying the African nation the UK makes up more than half of those visitors.

Find out what you’re missing with our top five reasons to visit The Gambia this year.

The Gambia has a sub-tropical climate

Bask in glorious sunshine

The friendly West African nation has a sub-tropical climate with sunshine throughout the year.

And with average temperatures sitting comfortably high you can soon see why The Gambia is commonly known as ‘The Smiling Coast’.

When dreary weather hits the UK this holiday destination experiences almost uninterrupted sunshine and practically zero rainfall.

Between now and June is one of the best times to visit as holidaymakers can experience average maximum temperatures in the low-30s.

So get your sun hat packed because you’re to need it as you enjoy soaking up those Gambian rays.

Pay a visit to the Chimp Rehabilitation Project

Get adventurous on exotic excursions

The Gambia is known for its abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems.

From monkeys, leopards and hippos to hyenas, crocodiles and rare birds there is plenty of animal spotting to be done.

In fact, the wildlife of The Gambia forms one of the most memorable elements of a trip to the country, offering encounter opportunities, whether in the grounds of your hotel or in the realms of a sprawling nature reserve.

Our personal favourite is a stay or visit to the Chimp Rehabilitation Project.

The project was established in 1979 and is four and a half hours inland within the River Gambia National Park – and you can even stay overnight in a comfortable safari tent. 

Hop on one of the regular boat trips to experience a chattering of chimps on the nearby islands where they reside. 

One of the best ways to spot The Gambia’s most famous species is to embark on a specialist wildlife tour, though others may prefer to go DIY and plan their own wildlife trips.

Whichever way you choose to discover the country’s beautiful and intriguing inhabitants it is certainly worth a day away from the sun lounger.

Relax in luxurious resorts

After all that excitement of getting up-close to crocs or an early morning boat trip to see the hippos you will want to return to some luxury.

Luckily there is a plethora of great beach-fronted resorts to choose from, as well as hidden retreats to be at one with nature.

Why not opt for the impressive African Princess Beach Hotel in South Kotu?

The contemporary 4-star hotel opened in late 2018 and is located on a beautiful stretch of beach, perfect for a stroll or lazy day by the sea.

Water is a key feature of the African Princess Beach Hotel, with a network of eight free-form pools meandering throughout the property.

And our favourite feature of all is the swim-up rooms on the ground floor.

There is also a well-equipped gym and spa on site enabling guests to treat themselves to a massage or manicure during their stay.

Or if you would rather go a bit more low key you have to consider Mandina Lodges.

Hidden in the African bush on a mangrove-lined tributary of the River Gambia, a stay here is more peaceful and unique than you could ever imagine. Guests rave about the pre-breakfast walks to see the wildlife, the relaxing pool and evening river cruises.

Expect a warm welcome with the Gambian hospitality

A soft introduction to Africa

In many African countries the multi-sensory, vibrant atmosphere which accompanies day-to-day life can be slightly overwhelming.

However, The Gambia is a great way to start your adventures on the continent as you’ll encounter a more relaxed, laid-back pace of life.

In addition to this, the official language of Gambia is English, ensuring communicative ease and even access to English-language newspapers.

Not only that but you also have time on your side in this West African country. 

It may come as a surprise to some but The Gambia functions on the same time zone as the UK.

This ensures your holiday doesn’t lose a day or two as you battle with jet lag.

In addition with a flight time of around six hours you can enjoy breakfast in the UK and be sat by the pool with a drink by mid-afternoon.

The weekly direct flight has launched due to high demand

You can fly direct from Manchester

There is no need to head to London to start your African adventure, or rush for a connecting flight, as you can fly directly from Manchester.

A weekly departure will whisk you away to the capital Banjul leaving Manchester at 8am on Enter Air and arriving at 2.30pm.

Thanks to The Gambia Experience there are more flights to the African nation this winer than ever before to meet growing demand.

They will operate the new direct Manchester-Banjul route from December 16 until April 27, 2020.

Karen Durham, product manager at The Gambia Experience said: “The Gambia offers so much to see and experience during January and February, it’s the busiest time of year.

“What’s more, the glorious weather and temperatures of over 30°C make a trip to Africa’s west coast an ideal escape from a cold British winter.”

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Written by Chiamaka Ekeh

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