Gambia Weather and Climate
The smallest country on the African mainland is Gambia. It shares its name with the main river that divides the country on its horizontal axis. Around 1.7 million people live in an area of 11,295 square kilometers. That results in a population density of 152 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The country is almost completely enclosed by Senegal, so there are no other neighboring countries. In the west of the country the Atlantic Ocean represents a natural border. Due to this very small border area to the sea, Gambia cannot be called an enclave, although the small state is mentioned as such in many travel guides.
The capital Banjul is also located directly on the Atlantic coast. The City of Banjul is comparatively small with around 32,000 inhabitants and is only the eighth largest town in the country. However, it is an important economic center and is home to the international airport, which connects Gambia with numerous cities around the world.
The seaport also plays an important role for the republic in West Africa and is the most important transshipment point for the pronounced export industry of peanuts.
Climate in Gambia
The Gambia has a tropical, warm climate. In the course of the year there is both a pronounced dry season and a rainy phase. In spring, temperatures in the interior of the country can reach temperatures of up to 43 ° C during the day. On the coast, temperatures rise to a maximum of 34 degrees. From October to June the average temperatures vary between 31 and 34 ° C.
Thus a fairly constant temperature can be recorded at this travel time. During the summer, the humidity increases and it often becomes uncomfortably humid. The official rainy season begins in Gambia in June. The intensity increases until August to around 405 millimeters of precipitation per month and slowly level off again until October. In October, very little rainfall of around 85 millimeters is expected.
The dry season begins immediately afterwards and runs from December to April. During this time there is almost no precipitation and a cloudless sky and warm temperatures determine everyday life in Gambia. This dry period is largely due to the trade winds from the Sahara, the so-called Harmattan, which mainly transports dry and hot air to West Africa.
When to go to Gambia
We can unreservedly recommend mid-October to the end of May as the best time to travel to Gambia. As already described, this is the climatic dry season. With daytime temperatures of around 30 ° C, it is very pleasant, especially near the coast. Water temperatures of 21 to 25 degrees create perfect conditions for a beach holiday.
For a more secluded beach holiday, however, the months of October and November are suitable. The sea is still heated from the rainy season and the beaches are relatively empty. The rainy season, however, is less suitable for a trip. For Europeans, the high humidity is difficult to bear. A journey through the country is now made very difficult by the heavy rainfall.
The partly unpaved roads are difficult to pass. You should therefore rely on the best travel time if possible and travel to beautiful Gambia during the dry season. Speaking of roads: until 1965 there was left-hand traffic in Gambia, but this has been abolished.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Banjul (Gambia)
|Daytime temperature||31 ° C||32 ° C||34 ° C||33 ° C||31 ° C||31 ° C||30 ° C||29 ° C||31 ° C||31 ° C||32 ° C||31 ° C|
|Night temperature||15 ° C||16 ° C||17 ° C||18 ° C||20 ° C||23 ° C||23 ° C||23 ° C||23 ° C||22 ° C||19 ° C||16 ° C|
|Water temperature||22 ° C||21 ° C||21 ° C||22 ° C||24 ° C||26 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||24 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||1||1||0||0||4||62||267||405||286||86||6||0|
|Hours of sunshine||7||8||9||8||7||7||6||6||6||7||8||7|
The annual average temperature in Banjul is 25.9 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is June (27.6 ° C), coldest month of January with mean values of 23.4 ° C. The maximum water temperature in Banjul is 27 ° C. Comfortable bathing is possible at these temperatures. All months have a water temperature of at least 21 ° C and are therefore suitable for a beach holiday.
The annual precipitation is 1118 mm on 57 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. The months of July, August and September are considered the rainy season, as more than 175 mm of precipitation can be expected per month. Overall, around 958 mm of precipitation can be expected in the rainy season. You cannot expect snow in any month in Banjul.
As our climate table shows, March is the sunniest month with an average of 8.6 hours of sunshine per day. On average over the year, the sun shines 7.2 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Serekunda and Brikama.
Highlights and attractions
During the dry season from December to April, numerous migratory birds overwinter in Gambia. This time is great for bird watching. Here you can join professional guides (eg about “Birdwatching in the Gambia”) and learn more about the flora and fauna of the country. Safari tours are also slowly gaining ground, and wildlife observation is still mainly in the area of the great river Gambia.
Another attraction is the Bijilo Forest Park in Banjul. Bakau is only a few kilometers from the capital. The Katchikally Crocodile Pool should also be on every Gambia travel itinerary.
For most travelers in Gambia, beach holidays are the main priority. One of the absolute dream beaches in the country is Kotu Beach, a highlight for every traveler. This is also where most of the good standard holiday hotels can be found. However, our favorite beaches in Gambia are Cape Point, Jinack Island Beach, Sanyang Beach and Kartung.