Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Gambia

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It’s been a several months since my first trip to The Gambia, but the experience is still fresh in my mind. It was a work trip, and my first time out of Europe so a totally new experience and one I was definitely looking forward to!

I wasn’t taking my visit as a complete stranger – I design holiday brochures so I work with photos of the Smiling Coast as it’s known, daily. There is only so much you can get from pictures though, and I was excited to discover the culture of West Africa that wasn’t through the eyes, or words, from the many writers, designers and photographers before me.

I stepped off the plane to an unfamiliar heat, a welcome bottle of water and plenty of smiling reps. We drove away from the airport and towards the coast, to our hotel. I love car journeys, and this one definitely was no exception! The sights outside the windows were new and exhilarating – I was witnessing a totally different way of life outside of the developed world and devouring every detail of it. Buildings were being built, animals were being herded and people were selling things in the middle of the road. There were lots of bush taxis – like a local bus service but in beaten-up old vans – and packed full to the brim with travellers, but still picking up people from the side of the road, some of which just hung on and stood on the outside to get their lift.

The weather was perfect for my trip, a whole week of blue skies and temperatures in the 30’s, paired with a cool breeze in the evenings so I never felt too hot or uncomfortable when working out and about. I spent the week visiting a lot of hotels and a lot of restaurants, taking in the many sights including the beautiful, unspoilt beaches of Gambia.

I left the country with a head full of new sights and sounds, as well as a desire to return and experience more of the world outside of the resorts. The Gambia is full of life, and, if you ask me, the perfect introduction to a developing country and different culture. The people were so friendly and welcoming, you couldn’t really ask for more! The quirks of the country and the stories I have brought back with me are unique, and the brochure that I design is only a tiny window in to this African community.

I’ll be honest and say that no, it was never on my ‘Places to visit’ list that’s filed under the ‘Wanderlust’ folder in my brain. But I am so glad I did. It’s probably not on your list either – when you think of countries to go on holiday, West Africa isn’t one that usually springs immediately to mind, but I’d definitely recommend it. If you want an interesting and cultural holiday that still includes unspoilt sandy beaches and guaranteed sunshine; pop The Gambia on your list.


Top to bottom:
Ngala Lodge
The beach at Batukunku
Mandina Lodges
Leos Beach Hotel
If you have any questions about my trip, feel free to pop them in the comments!

2 comments

  1. Beautiful photos, that pool looks amazing in that setting. And that must be a dream job!

    rachael xx | made up of little things

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