The tiny West African nation of The Gambia lies in a region with arguably the most agreeable climate in the area – the weather is subtropical, with distinct dry and rainy seasons. If you’re planning to take a trip to this most unique of destinations, check out our guide to the best time of year to visit.
January is always full of outdoor events in observance of the New Year – January 1, as in many countries, is always a public holiday. With a subtropical climate, The Gambia generally has warm temperatures all year round. Although January is the coldest time of year, it’s still very hot at the start of the month, getting slightly cooler as the days go by. Humidity is moderate, so it’s comfortable enough to explore the sights and relax on the beach. The skies are usually beautifully clear with a small amount of cloud cover from time to time.
Rainfall: No rain
Temperature: 26°C – 32°C (79°F – 90°F) at the peak of the day
February in The Gambia is dry and hot, making it the perfect destination for those wanting to escape freezing temperatures. During this month, the temperature increases daily so it’s worth visiting towards the beginning if you want to avoid sweltering heat, though whenever you arrive, you’ll be greeted with plenty of sunshine. Be sure to mark your calendar, as there’s plenty going on in February: the first week is the annual Food and Beverage Festival organised by The Gambia Tourism Board; the second weekend of February is the annual Kartong Festival staged by the community of Kartong in South Gambia; and February 18 is the National Independence Day of The Gambia. On this day in 1965, The Gambia attained its independence from Great Britain.
Rainfall: 2mm of rain over the entire month.
Temperature: 25°C (77°F)
With abundant sunshine, March is the perfect month to relax on The Gambia’s white sandy beaches. In March, people experience longer days with beautiful clear skies, while the dry season ensures any rain is minimal and short-lived. In the hottest part of the day, temperatures can get very high, so make sure you seek shade between 11am and 3pm. The first week of March is the annual Amsterdam/Plymouth Banjul Rally, a charity rally that starts from Plymouth, UK, and passes through different African countries with Banjul as the ultimate destination. Also in March, The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry staged its annual trade fair at the Independence Stadium in Bakau. Elsewhere, there is an annual Bureng Cultural and Maribatang/Dankunku Cultural Festivals held from mid- to the last weekend of March.
Rainfall: No rain
Temperature: 34°C (93°F) in some parts of the country
April usually brings hot temperatures and plenty of sunshine to all the regions in the country. In April, the weather is warm and bright, with clear blue skies, hot afternoons and cooler evenings, making The Gambia the ideal springtime destination for visitors whether you’re relaxing on the beautiful beaches or exploring the landscapes inland. Starting in March and running towards the beginning of April, the annual Essau Worosso Cultural Festival is an event that celebrates the first Manding settlers on The Gambia river banks from the Great Mali Empire.
Rainfall: No rain
Temperature: 25°C – 31°C (77°F – 88°F) in the peak of the afternoon
May is usually the last month before the wet season – generally, the country experiences hot weather all year round, though there is also a wet season which lasts from late June until early October. Temperatures are high, sunshine hours are long and it is bone dry in May, making this the perfect time to visit if you want a beach break in the heat. May Day (May 1) is a national holiday, when workers across the country converge at Independence Stadium to take part in different sporting events, while the second week of May is usually the International Roots Festival staged by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Temperature: 26ºC (79ºF) in May, reaching highs of 31ºC (88ºF)
June ushers in the wet season – during this period, the weather in the country is normally hot and sunny. In June visitors love relaxing at the beach along the country’s coast, especially at resorts areas. With amazing natural sites to explore and discover, the wet season runs from June to November, but any showers this month are light and refreshing in the hot temperatures.
Temperature: 23°C (73°F)
Despite the fact that July is a wet season in The Gambia, the light rains don’t stop chill-out time outdoors. The weather is very warm and sunny, and visitors will love spending much time at the beach and relaxing by hotel pools. In July, tropical showers are blown into the country by southwesterly winds. Summer in The Gambia is always characterized with fun and exciting activities in both urban and rural areas. Football tournaments – locally called ‘nawettan‘ – are in progress in almost all urban and rural villages. This summer football fiesta attracts thousands of football enthusiasts, making The Gambia even more lively and worth exploring.
Temperature: 24°C (75°F)
August is the middle of the rainy season that lasts from June to October, making it among the wettest months of the year. As a visitor you should always expect rains at this time, though sometimes people experience plenty of sunshine during this month too. Summer activities are alive and kicking in The Gambia during this period. If you’re a football fan you won’t get bored – even though the game might not be the same caliber of those in the English premiership or La Liga, there is a great deal of fun in the air.
Temperature: Between 26ºC – 29ºC (79ºF – 84ºF) in the afternoon
As a visitor, just get prepared for rains at any time, even though there’s still plenty of sunshine. There are many outdoor activities to take part in, making summer one of the best times to visit The Gambia. It rains at any time during this period, but there are still about eight hours of sunshine or more each day. The sea’s lovely and warm too, with the Atlantic Ocean waters staying at an inviting 28ºC (82ºF) this month.
Temperature: 26ºC – 30ºC (79ºF – 86ºF)
October falls at the end of the wet period, and the country bids farewell to the green season. However, visitors can expect some rain showers, but there are more of sunshine and blazing temperatures. This blazing temperature also helps farmers in their farming activities. During this time, the Atlantic waters are warm, which is ideal for swimming.
Temperature: 28°C – 31°C (82ºF – 88ºF)
November is usually the start of the dry season in The Gambia when people experience hot, sunny and warm weather. However, some parts of the coastal areas are the perfect place to cool off as visitors relax by the beautiful beaches along the country’s Atlantic Coast. As a result of the wet season which ends in late October, much of the country’s landscape is still visibly green – though in dry months like November, hot weather is soon blown in by north-easterly winds.
Rainfall: Little to no rain
Temperature: 20°C (68°F)
December is usually sunny and extremely pleasant to relax on the beach or around the country’s immaculate nature reserves. The sunshine is hugely impressive in December, with an average of ten hours or more each day. The bright blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean wash against its pretty beaches. In December the dry and hot weather blown in by north-easterly winds and is an excellent time to explore bars and restaurants, which are in abundance along the country’s coast. Outdoor celebrations start up again with the advent of Christmas and New Year.
Rainfall: Little to no rain
Temperature: 86°C (20°F)