The Gambia may be small, but don't be fooled by the size of this tiny West African nation. With chimpanzee sanctuaries, nature reserves, and idyllic golden beaches, The Gambia is more than worthy of your vacation days. The most important factor in planning your trip? Figuring out the best time to go. Annual subtropical weather patterns in The Gambia are split into two main seasons: the Dry Season and the Green Season, each taking up about half the year and each creating a unique backdrop for your travel experience.
Dry Season: November to May
Beginning in November, the rain tapers off and gives way to long days of sunshine and a verdant landscape. Average daytime temperatures remain in the eighties year-round, but during the dry season you'll be humidity-free and experience significantly cooler evenings - you might even need a sweater! As the months go by, the weather continually gets dryer and the scenery changes. Things heat up significantly in March, with most of the lush greenery fading by April. In spite of the heat, these last months of the dry season also provide spectacular displays of wildflowers - and even better, fruit stands will be filled to the brim with fresh mangos and cashews.
Green Season: June to October
Whether you call this time of year green, rainy, or wet, the months spanning June through October in The Gambia range from merely humid to legitimately stormy. Expect warm days with fewer hours of sunlight and daily downpours at the height of the season. is ideal for spotting the many types of native tropical birds and taking in the brilliantly green vegetation and rice fields. Temperatures are higher during these months, but a benefit of the green season is relief from the harmattan, a dry and windy weather pattern pervasive in dryer times.
Things To Consider
If you're traveling to The Gambia between December and March, you won't be alone - this is the busiest time for tourism, especially on the coast. Even at its most crowded, The Gambia is still a hidden gem with plenty of opportunity to find solitude, but beachside accommodations should be booked well in advance.
The green season is generally considered an off-peak time for tourism. Rainy conditions mean that some roads are no longer accessible, and some wildlife reserves close their doors to visitors during this time. However, for flexible travelers who don’t mind sudden showers and humidity, visiting during this time of year allows for a true escape from the crowds and lower prices.
You might also want to think about where you'll be spending your time while visiting The Gambia. Temperatures are generally more mild on the coast year round, so the heat and humidity of the green season may not be a deterrent to visitors sticking to Banjul or the coastal beaches. Conversely, travelers interested in spending most of their time in the nature reserves and countryside might opt for the dry season; its more comfortable climate and diminished vegetation make for excellent wildlife watching.
No matter what time of year you go, wear breathable clothing and bring mosquito repellant. You'll want to be prepared to explore all this little slice of Africa has to offer!