Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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The geographic diversity of Western Africa is quite amazing. Not only can one access the desert vistas of the Sahara, but there is also the tropical climate of Cape Verde.

Many of the nations in this region have coastal access. Despite the variety, the cultures of this region have developed distinctive similarities in music, dress, and cuisine that makes for a fascinating adventure.

Certain traditions in this region have been practiced for centuries, even through the colonial period. Embroidery and hemming are especially common, with the work featured on jackets, tunics, and shirts. Many of the cuisine preferences out of Western Africa have influenced other regions of the world as well, most notably the Caribbean and the Americas.

At the same time, historical civilizations have had a moderate impact on this region as well. From the Greeks and Romans to the Ottoman Empire, there are traces of these historical cultures that can be found here as well. There are still numerous colonial influences that are fused with these elements to create an intriguing experience for the visitor.

For the adventurer, Western Africa offers numerous options that range from diving and snorkeling to backcountry treks. For those who want a relaxing holiday, there are world-class resorts along many coastal areas. One can explore the Sahara, experience local life, or spend time by a glistening swimming pool, surrounded by swaying palm trees.

Western Africa is a wonderful way to experience the continent of Africa for the first time. From Niger and Nigeria to Senegal and Liberia, there is something amazing just waiting to be found.

Below you find a list of countries belonging to the region known as Western Africa.

Western Africa A - Z

Popular destinations in Western Africa

Gambia

Formerly a British colony, Gambia retains some past influences, including the national language. However, the present day identity of this incredible country is undoubtedly all its own, with the vibrancy of its golden coast, intrigue of its reserves and parks and sweeps of the majestic River Gambia that transects the land. Wherever you wander, Gambia holidays will put a smile on your face.

Lively, vivacious, colourful and diverse, Banjul is a fitting capital for this fascinating destination. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the country’s larger hotel complexes and beach resorts can be found within its stretches, mainly along the city’s envy-inducing coastline of white sand and azure waters. One of the largest and most bustling cities in Gambia is Serrekunda, a colourful and vibrant location that makes a great base. With a gorgeous, rolling coast and buzzing market scene, this is Gambia at its most vibrant. Serrekunda is replete with dazzling resorts situated around its northern coastal point. For those who are looking for a Gambia holiday to experience its heavenly beaches, there is no better location than the stunning Kotu. Offering a dazzling array of luxurious resorts as well as charming guesthouses right by the water’s edge, this is relaxation like you’ve never experienced before.

As much as the jaw-dropping coast often steals the show on any visit, there is much to explore away from the beach. The Kiang West National Park and River Gambia National Park are both teeming with rare species, vivid flora and fauna and dramatic views from their highest points. The parks can be explored by foot, car or bike, and are the best way to get to grips with Gambia’s wild side. By far the most thrilling of experiences on offer in Gambia’s national parks is encountering its populations of baboon. One of the country’s cheekiest indigenous critters, these fascinating primates frequent the renowned Baboon Island in River Gambia National Park, and provide an incredible natural experience for travellers of all ages. If you are looking for a bit more civilisation from your holidays to Gambia, the country’s buzzing cities provide endless days of entertainment, with museums of African history, bustling bazaars and incredible traditional restaurants. The energy of the capital Banjul is particularly infectious – discover its colonial past, taste the traditionally prepared cuisine and meet the ever-cheerful locals.

One of the best times to visit the country is during the British winter when Gambia’s rainy season has faded and the sun begins to creep out. While temperatures aren’t unbearable, usually peaking at around 30C, there is still enough heat for you to feel satisfied by your winter escape. January and February prove very fruitful periods to visit the country, ironically in its dry winter season. Gambia’s wet season tends to run from June to October when the temperatures get hotter and the humidity levels increase further, proving a more challenging period to visit. Steeped in history and showcasing a stunning coastline, Gambia offers a world of choice for your holiday. Whether you’re looking to kick back and soak up the sun or delve into the city’s historical and cultural heritage, there’s something for everyone.

Made famous by the novel “Roots”, Jufureh and James Islands have slowly increased in popularity as some of Gambia’s most mesmerising cultural attractions, perfect for history lovers. Jufureh is not visually impressive, but boasts an incredible slavery museum with replica slave ship. James Island is much more picturesque, but it is the remains of Fort James, a major colonial outpost dating back to 1661 that make it worth a visit. Those looking to discover Gambia’s hidden natural wonders should put their best hiking foot forward and head to the incredible Bijilo Forest Park. A community environment and small-scale reserve, many well-trodden paths snake their way through verdant vegetation and fascinating wildlife, with a lively population of red colobus and patas monkeys, sure to put on a show. Those who enjoy bartering for a bargain will delight in the frenzied atmosphere of Banjul’s Albert Market. Fabrics, shoes, housewares and an endless array of local fruit, veg, herbs and spices collide in this explosion of business and trade. Get stuck in with your best haggling techniques – you never know what you might find!

 

Africa continent