Climate of Gambia
Where is the country of Gambia located? The country of Gambia, also often referred to as “the Gambia”, is located in the west of the African continent. The Gambia has a tropical savanna climate, type Aw according to the Köppen climate classification. With this, it belongs to the tropical climate zones and not subtropical, as some sources incorrectly state. The Gambia not only has a savanna climate, but also a typical savanna vegetation. Here you will mainly find grass landscapes with large shrubs and some trees. You will not find really large areas of tropical rainforest here; in the south of the country you will find forests with fruit-bearing trees, such as citrus trees. In the drier north you will find the baobab, which is so characteristic of Africa, which is also called monkey bread tree. It is quite swampy along the Gambia River, the river provides a typical mangrove vegetation, with all associated animal and fish species.
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The Gambia has tropical temperatures, which are between 31 and 38 degrees during the day all year round. Close to the coast, the temperature can be somewhat tempered, but there is often no more than 1 or 2 degrees difference between the coast and the interior. However, the perceived temperature can be slightly better due to the presence of a light breeze. In the summer months the temperature drops very slowly when evening falls. At the end of the night, the mercury has dropped to about 23 to 24 degrees, after which the temperature skyrockets to above thirty degrees again within a few hours. In winter it is slightly cooler at night; the minimum temperatures in the winter months are on average around 18 to 20 degrees.
The Gambia has two obvious seasons: a very dry period and a real rainy season. From the end of October to the beginning of June it is very dry in The Gambia. It rarely rains and if it does rain once, the amounts are generally very low. Heavy tropical showers are a phenomenon that you don’t often see during the dry season.
From the 2nd or 3rd week of June you can see a clear change in the weather. The humidity rises and the chance of rain increases enormously from the second half of June to the second half of October. This is a rainy season, with about half the days of rain. This precipitation almost always falls in the form of (sometimes heavy) showers, which mainly occur at the end of the afternoon or after sunset. During the rainy season, almost all precipitation that The Gambia has to process. On average on an annual basis you are at a thousand (far inland) to fourteen hundred (capital Banjul ) millimeters. These quantities can differ by several hundred millimeters per year.
The months of March, April and May are the warmest and sunniest months in The Gambia. Under the influence of a desert wind from the northeast, called harmattan, temperatures can easily reach as high as forty degrees during this period. As soon as the rainy season starts, it gets a little cooler during the day, but the minimum temperatures continue to rise. For the feeling it stays warm, because the higher humidity makes it feel clammy.
Very pleasant winters
The most pleasant months to go on holiday in The Gambia are December, January and February. The humidity has dropped slightly and the temperatures are at an acceptable level. It is warm without getting too hot, especially at the beach or pool you can enjoy a radiant sun in the winter months. As the chance of rain is virtually nil, the Gambia is considered one of the best medium-range places for a winter sun holiday. From March the temperature rises to above 34 degrees during the day, so that it actually starts to get a bit too hot.
The power of the sun is great in The Gambia. The UV index can reach the maximum value of 11 almost all year round, with the exception of the months of November, December and January, in which the already very high value of solar power 10 is the maximum achievable. Even on cloudy days there is a serious risk of sunburn and with prolonged exposure an increased risk of skin cancer. Protective clothing (also against mosquitoes) and/or a lot of lubrication can protect you against the bright sun.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit The Gambia
The Republic of Gambia is a popular sun destination on the African west coast. The country consists of a long strip around the Gambia River. As a result, the number of kilometers of coastline is quite limited. Including the mouth of the river, there is about eighty kilometers of coastline, along which several beaches can be found. The most beautiful beaches of the Gambia can be found at Kololi Beach, Kotu and Bakau. The tropical climate of The Gambia ensures that these are mainly beach destinations that are ideal for a winter sun holiday.
The period from November to January is the best time to travel to The Gambia in general. It is then tropical warm and there is hardly any precipitation. From February it starts to get seriously hot, so that it can be experienced as uncomfortably warm, especially in the interior. There, the maximum temperatures in March and April rise to about 40 degrees Celsius. In June, when the rainy season starts, temperatures drop slightly. The increasing relative humidity makes it still feel very hot.
Do you only want to travel to The Gambia for a beach holiday and do you not travel further inland? Then you can plan your holiday within the period from November to May. The temperatures on the coast are still somewhat bearable and the sun shines exuberantly. Especially the months of March and April are known to be very sunny. We would not recommend the period July to August for a holiday in The Gambia. It then rains heavily and the precipitation can cause flooding such as flooding.
Gambia during the school holidays
Suppose you are bound by the legally established school holidays, for example because you have school-age children who are of compulsory school age. When is the best time to travel to The Gambia? The Christmas holidays, spring break and May holidays are the best travel periods if you want to travel to The Gambia during the school holidays. If you also want to visit the interior, the May holiday is too hot, just like the spring break. In that case, it is better to opt for the Christmas holidays. If you only want to fly to The Gambia for the beach, the May holiday is the best of these three options. The summer holidays have more gloomy and wetter weather than the other school holidays. The autumn break is a questionable case. The weather can be good, but there is also a chance that you will still have to deal with unpredictable weather.