Ever wondered why The Gambia is called ‘The Smiling Coast’, here’s why

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Photo: My Gambia


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

The Gambia is arguably one of the smallest countries in Africa, but its people are said to have the biggest hearts. The country is famously nicknamed ‘The Smiling Coast’ and it has over the last decade become a tourist hotspot.
The Gambia is believed to be one of the friendliest and safest places to visit in the world.

The country’s economy is heavily reliant on its tourism sector because of its hospitable and welcoming citizens. Also, due to its position on the map of Africa it has earned the nickname ‘The smiling Coast’.

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This small country cuts through the middle of Senegal and some say its position resembles a smile on the map of Africa welcoming those who navigate through the country right up to River Gambia.

As this was established years ago, the country wears the nickname proudly both in formal and informal settings.

This brand has helped boost the image of The Gambia leading to the creation of job opportunities for its youth. The country carved a niche for itself in the hospitality industry as far back as the 60s.

Sometime in the late 1970s, a conscious effort was made by stakeholders to improve The Gambia’s appeal to the world and to turn it into an alluring tourist destination.


Strategically, it was just around the time that Alex Haley’s critically acclaimed book Roots; The Saga of an American Family was published. Many black people in the diaspora could automatically relate to the principal character Kunta Kinte, a Gambian that was captured and sold into slavery in the 18th century.

It saw a surge in Gambia’s appeal to tourist eager to find their roots and so the Gambian Tourism Board ceased the opportunity of the media attention brought about by the book and established a New York office, legitimizing the link between the Gambia, Africa and the USA.

Tourists have so much in store for them in this beautiful country ranging from its beautiful landscape, charming riverside villages, ethnic diversity, religious tolerance, hotels, spas not forgetting its delicious and flavorful local cuisine.

Also, the country’s rich history, historical buildings, archaeological sites of which some are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites and monuments all hold intriguing stories waiting to be retold.

The people make a conscious effort to always boost their tourism industry by focusing on customer satisfaction through rendering the best services at their hotels and a keen focus on making the country appealing to others through strategic marketing techniques.
The passage of time has in no way diminished the appeal of ‘The Smiling Coast’. It has rather become a sought-after place where people seeking o delve into Africa’s rich culture and natural ambiance in a very hospitable and safe environment turn to.

‘The Smiling Coast’ may have originated by the shape of the country on the map of Africa, but it is the people of Gambia that embody it better and bring it to life through their friendly and hospitable nature.



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