Mainland Africa's smallest nation, The Gambia is a splinter of land entirely surrounded by Senegal. The 500km long, 50km wide shard still retains a clear identity though and Gambia holidays offer you the opportunity to discover this approachable, affable West African country.
The capital Banjul, on St Mary's Island at the mouth of the River Gambia, has a well-protected harbour, some attractive colonial architecture and a heaving market.
Serekunda is in fact the largest town and a good place to see local life and African-style wrestling. The Kachikaly Crocodile Pool here is a sacred site for locals who come to pray here. South of here, The Gambia has a series of luxurious Atlantic coast resorts, where the sun loungers are aimed at those looking for good-value winter sun.
The country is bound to the River Gambia, one of Africa's great waterways; head inland to discover low-key colonial towns and a wealth of wildlife.
Nature reserves such as Klang West National Park, Abuko Nature Reserve and The River Gambia National Park all have wildlife watching available. Alternatively, head upriver on a pirogue to see and hear more than 500 species of birds. Arrive at historic, colonial Georgetown and take to the walking trails to see birds in the forest and hippos on the water's edge.
From here head to Janjangbureh to discover the Wassu Stone Circles, a series of standing stone circles built as burial sites 1,200 years ago.
Basse Santa Su far beyond Georgetown is the main trading post of the upper reaches of the river.