Connect with us


BN Travel: Rich Heritage & Scary Crocodiles! Shade Ladipo Explores the Beauty of Gambia



Gambia always brings great memories. Anytime I think of this rustic country with barely 1.7million pple in population, a country crammed with Europeans and some of the best cuisine you will ever eat in Africa especially because it’s so affordable.  If you’re thinking of a holiday in the Gambia then you should totally check out the restaurant called “The Vineyard” in Senegambia and definitely Pizza at Luigis Place in Kololi (watch out for his cats though.)

I love every part of Gambia, the simple life by the beach in shorts, shades and the tiniest bikinis (for the brave). The people are very tourist friendly so don’t they don’t mind our tendencies. In fact they embrace our excesses so it’s not unusual to see tourists doing everything a local is doing.

The best times to visit Gambia is from October to April. In December the young Gambian repatriates fill the club with their various accents and tattoos. February is the major tourist season with the Annual Roots festival which is always great fun and oh so colorful. It is important to visit the Arch 22 and get a 360 view of Banjul and its environs. Also visit the Katchically Crocodile pond and if you’re brave like me see what a live Croc feels like.

Katchikaly croc pond

Katchikaly croc pond

Touch a live crocodile if you dare

Touch a live crocodile if you dare

Hotels are abundant with some of the best prices and quality you will find in Africa. There’s only one 5 star resort (Coco Ocean Beach Resort) but the 4 star hotels are more than adequate as almost all the hotels share the long stretches of endless beaches. Try Sheraton Serrekunda or Laico Atlantic in Banjul.

Wedding at coco Ocean Hotel

Wedding at coco Ocean Hotel

Golden Beach Hotel $50

Golden Beach Hotel $50

During off peak times hotels rate from 30-200usd per night rising to almost double that price during peak season.
I stayed at The Golden Beach Hotel in Bijilo which is a simple 3 star facility with nice and simple rooms but great staff and lovely ambience. Price ranges from 30-100 per night but for me completely free (hate me now.)

The hotel chef serves the best Chicken Yasaa in Gambia. The host Aliu Secka (who is also the President of the Gambian Toutism Assoc) made my stay absolutely amazing and made Gambia a wonderful experience.

Looking for another reason to love Africa? Gambia is a reason



With my gambian friends

With my Gambian friends



At Coco Ocean hotel with friends

At Coco Ocean hotel with friends

At the Gambian Museum

At the Gambian Museum

At the musuem

At the musuem

Drinks with friends at Senegambia

Drinks with friends at Senegambia



Beautiful ladies

Beautiful ladies

Good people

Good people

Slavery? Never again!

Slavery? Never again!

Party time at Aura

Party time at Aura

My Gambian friend Eli Fali

My Gambian friend Eli Fali

For the adventurous please take a boat cruise and experience the Roots Tour where you see and experience the life of Kunta Kinte plus you may get to meet a member of his family.

Boat Cruise to James Island

Boat Cruise to James Island

Kunta Kinte's ancestor

Kunta Kinte’s descendant

I had an awesomtastic time in Gambia and honestly it is one place in Africa you should visit with your friends. There’s so much to see and do in Gambia.

Please share some of your exciting stories from Gambia if you’ve ever been there, I’d love to read from you.

Shade Ladipo is what you would call a travel Junkie, CEO of Avienti Limited a Destination Management company with 3 offices in Lagos & Abuja, Shade is as passionate as they come. She’s a freelance TV Personality, an On air Radio Personality with Smooth FM Lagos, a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum where she represents Nigeria at conferences all over the world and also a Philanthropist. When shes not busy being the boss, shes travelling the world one city at a time.

Shade Ladipo is an entrepreneur. CEO Avienti Limited a Destination Management Company which she started at age 26. With 3 offices in Lagos and inplants in Abuja and some parts of africa, Ms Ladipo lives and breathes travel. Ms. Ladipo is also a Global Shaper (1 of only 13 in Lagos) representing the Lagos Hub at World Economic Forum events all around the world. She is an on air personality with Smooth FM and also a budding TV host. She debuts the 1st Adventure travel series soon on DSTV called 'Travel With Me'


  1. Tolani

    July 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Kunta Kinte’s ‘DESCENDANT’ more likely 😉

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      I’ve heard nice things about Gambia, it’s definitely starting to get more tourist friendly and I applaud that.

      But… did Kunta not get stolen away as a young lad, thereafter emigrating (against his will) to the United States where he begat his children? How does this descendant factor in? Forgive my ignorance, it’s been ages since I lost my copy of “Roots” (although, buying a new copy is starting to appeal to me) …

    • Tolani

      July 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      The last picture; someone was tagged as his ‘ancestor’ so I commented saying that will most likely be his ‘descendant’ if related at all.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Oh yeah, I dug that, Tolani. My question was actually directed at Shade.

    • jinkelele

      July 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      I’ve been on the roots tour, the old woman is related to him via his parents not a descendant from him. cant remember exactly whether she’s his aunt or so.

  2. naana

    July 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    life and living it

  3. Amara

    July 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Wots with dat desperado makeup @ d gal in blue top, anyway lovely environment

  4. Anonymissy

    July 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    i just packaged a tour for a family , the are staying at Calabasch and they are loving it already

  5. X-factor

    July 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Oh yes I concur with you Sade
    Simply put, I ll describe it as the place where nature communicates with the soul in a restful, serene and blissful ambience. The coco beach house experience was absolutely fab, Hanging out @ the Sheraton was such a cool experience…. (The pure mango juice….mmwwahhh)…… the Nigerian GT, Access, Skye etc bank’s staff are always super excited to host you and give you a treat(they cherish the company)
    For maximum value/comfort you can rent a fully furnished 2 bedroom @ TAF guest apartment Serukunda, just opposite the Sheraton…..
    If you ve been married for a while and you need some juice in your marriage, I can assure that you ll sure fall in love again with a weekend @ the Gambia….( I got a witness) …………..

    • jinkelele

      July 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Yeah the furnished apartments actually work out cheaper if you’re with a big family, and its cheaper than staying at sheraton though its is one of the better hotels.

  6. Berry Dakara

    July 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Dear Bella Naija,

    I am willing and available to be hired as your Travel Writer/Journalist. I will not even ask for Business Class tickets every time, but I must stay in 3+ Star Hotels and have a driver and dessert wine at my disposal.

    Humbly yours,

    Berry Dakara.

    PS. If you want to send me to Seychelles or Tanzania anytime in January, let me know.

  7. Adams Ede

    July 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hmmn. Well like she said, another reason to love Africa…

  8. Hurperyermie

    July 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm


  9. Nonhlanhla

    July 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    loved everything but the hotel….nope

    • Shade Ladipo

      July 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      There are loads of better hotels but I was hosted by the owner of that particular hotel and even though it seems simple the service more than made up for everything plus you can’t beat the fantastic beach view and the yummy food all soo affordable

  10. Chat

    July 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Gambia nice… am proud of my country.

  11. gambian beauty

    July 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    i don’t know which hotel she stayed at but there are way better hotel in gambia

  12. YS

    July 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I went a few years ago and all my friends were like “Huh?? Gambia??? :-/” But were mad jealous when I came back and put up my pics on FB. Its a lovely country, and the fact that its not overpopulated makes it very easy to get around. Its also a short hop to Senegal so easy to pop down there while you’re at it. People are very warm and friendly. I remember the “Types of Juju” section in the museum where they display samples of jazz charms and what they are used for 😀 and I can still taste the Benechin (sp). Great holiday. Africa is awesome and its sad that it only seems to be people from other continents that recognise that.

  13. CarliforniaBawler

    July 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Went to Gambia last year….It was wonderful! the people were awesome and I came back with the funniest/gangsta stories ever! it was beautiful and serene down there…I got to touch a live crocodile (possible the most daring thing I’ve done in my life) and it was a great start to my ‘discovering Africa’ vacation journey….
    I do agree with the hotel thing(previous comment), they have way more beautiful hotels over there, for the value of your money, I’d advise to stay at Ocean Bay hotel and resort….It’s really nice, the beach is just right behind your room, complimentary breakfast, live entertainment on weekends and you get to pay less than $100 per night!!

  14. Chic

    July 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Gambian girls are some of the prettiest in Africa! Drop dead gorgeous women and they have maintained their dark complexion love that about them.

  15. Xtsy

    July 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Looks fun & unpretentious.

  16. Lynxx & Emma Nyra are Nigeria wackest artist alive!

    July 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Short thou

  17. KOOL OLA

    July 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Ive been to Gambian few times b4, each visit was exiting! I’m looking forward to visiting the smiling coast again this winter. Its always a good escape destination from this killing Chicago winter weather.

  18. Eve

    July 25, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I’m thinking mmmnnnn honrymoonnn..niceeee

  19. @ajiriavae

    July 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Nice but Bella Naija needs to show us tourist spots in Nigeria. We need to encourage local tourism and also show what we have to your foriegn readers.

  20. Cheap Flights SA

    July 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I would love to go explore there someday myself. I wonder if it’s similar so high up in Africa as down here, in the western Cape.

  21. Travel Galore

    July 26, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Are the people there friendly, or is it a bit like Nigeria where it’s dangerous?

    • Shade Ladipo

      July 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      They are extremely friendly

  22. Cheap Flights South Africa

    July 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Did you stay in the Coco Ocean Beach Resort?

    • Shade Ladipo

      July 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      Yes I did but for only one night. Amazing place with great cuisine as well but it gets filled up quickly because its the only 5star hotel

  23. Cheapest Flights Nigeria

    July 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I would love to go there some day myself. It’s not very far away, though.

  24. Blessmyheart

    July 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    This is lovely. I would love to visit the Gambia some day. I wish there were more pictures of the scenery and tourist locations though

  25. Black Pearl

    July 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Proud of my country Gambia, the Smiling Coast Of Africa. Friendly and beautiful people anywhere you go , always willing to help. Please visit or for more information about our beautiful and tourist friendly country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features