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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Bijilo

Things to do in Bijilo

The small village of Bijilo is considered a haven for tourists looking for a quiet holiday to Gambia. Getaways to this African gem mean you can explore the area's many treasures, but at a more leisurely pace.

Relax on the beach

The strip of beach in Bijilo is one of the quietest on the west Gambian coastline. You can relax for hours here with a good book and a glass of something ice-cold – you're sure to get a good tan too. When the waters are calm they're great for taking a refreshing dip under the toasty African sunshine.

Even as one of the more subdued beaches on the coast, Bijilo still has a lot of life. There are opportunities to travel across the sand in style, either by horse or quad bike, which can add a little spice to an afternoon spent lounging by the sea.

See what's hiding along the shore

As well as being an excellent spot for relaxation, Bijilo coast is also a splendid place to cast out your line if you're in the mood for some fishing on your Gambia holidays. Prepared anglers can try their luck and see what the Atlantic has to offer while enjoying a lazy day on the beach.

Alternatively, Baba Bijilo Sport Fishing, a few minutes north of the village, can set you up with some exciting trips offshore where there are plenty more fish to catch. It's the only company in the area that'll take you out to shipwrecks where large barracuda are found, so it's worth a try whether you're an amateur or pro.

Take a stroll through Bijilo Forest Park

Half of Bijilo's coastline is taken up by the village's forest park. Also known as Monkey Park due to its inhabitants, it's a beautiful nature reserve made up of forest, scrubland and sand dune habitats. There's a footpath set out through these areas which is ideal for a stroll if you're looking to discover some of the local flora and fauna.

The monkeys that live in the park, including the green vervet and red colobus monkeys, are curious animals that roam freely around the woodland reserve. They're a spectacle to spot in their natural habitat and not camera shy either.

Find something unique at the craft market

Just outside of Bijilo is the Senegambia craft market where the most enthusiastic locals are eager to sell you their wares. There's plenty on offer here to take your fancy, from hand-carved masks and jewellery to popular djembe drums played by many Gambian musicians.

The atmosphere at the market is highly spirited and everyone there is always welcoming towards visitors. It's the place to go if you're looking for some excitement after a quiet day at the beach. It's also excellent for trying out your bargaining skills as sellers are happy to haggle.

Sample the local flavours

The bars and restaurants in Bijilo are a reminder that it's quality over quantity when it comes to delicious cuisine. The handful of dining places in the village serve up some of Gambia's finest seafood dishes, including tasty fish balls and spicy yassa which go down nicely with a refreshing wonjo juice. A favourite with the locals is domoda – a rich, flavoursome stew made with peanut paste and meat.

The proximity of these restaurants to the beach means you can enjoy your meal while taking in Bijilo's glorious view. There are many delicacies here that are hard to find back home so it's the perfect excuse to sample as many as you can.