Serenity by the sea
Shortly after the start of the new millennium, Gambia's brightest minds worked to reinvigorate Kololi's beach. The sandy shore was made all the more inviting, and it remains a truly special stretch of coast today. With a sun that seems to shine forever and a sea that caresses the coast in laps – tourists adore Gambia beach holidays.
What's more, the efforts that the local community have made to keep natural coastal erosion at bay ensure this beach is as sublime as ever.
At the beach bars and snack shacks that pepper the shore, you'll often find groups of locals and tourists gathered around, chatting and laughing over music that wafts out into the open air from external speakers. Sipping a crisp beer over some of the coolest reggae this side of Jamaica is a good way to beat the heat.
Baked fish or shrimp stews are favourites at Kololi's beach huts, with plenty of zingy fruit cocktails for those who don't like seafood. They take their customer service very seriously here, so not only can you expect service with a smile, but you can rest assured that they serve up healthy meals that are hygienically prepared.
Out and about
Kololi's surrounding landscapes are as dramatic as they are enticing, and with that come tons of adventures. Go horseback riding or opt for some high-octane fun and rent a quad bike, both of these activities offer structured tours along with the chance to cut loose and take in the sights.
More traditional tourism hubs are also available with trips for animal lovers, families and thrill-seekers on holidays to Gambia. Bijilo Forest Park is nicknamed Monkey Park thanks to its population of primates and forms a nature trail of towering trees and sweeping plains, where you're sure to spot some new furry friends.
If the kids are getting restless, head for Dream Park, the first amusement park in Gambia, tucked close to Kololi. Bumper cars and spaceship rides are all in a day's fun here, while restaurants and toy shops ensure happy faces all round.
Shopping done right
If you're due some retail therapy, they do it both the traditional and the contemporary way here in Kololi. The craft market close to Kololi is locally famous for its splendid handicrafts and art pieces, which range from tie-dye shirts and wicker baskets through to local delicacies and traditional djembe drums.
It bustles with life here, but if you're imagining a midday souk in Morocco, relax. There are rules that stallholders have to follow that mean they aren't allowed to hassle tourists for a sale.
The craft market is also a great example of how forward-thinking Kololi is. Women's co-operatives, an initiative across Africa to encourage female entrepreneurship, are responsible for much of the activity here, and they have a say in how things are run.
That said – if you're looking for a modern shopping trip, go to the Horseshoe Shopping Centre. It's where supermarkets, fashion boutiques and gadget dens meet for a sublime retail journey.