The Gambia is defined by a river, the one that gives the nation its name. The long, narrow country stretches from the Atlantic into Africa for some 475 kilometers (295 miles), and consists of the Gambia River and its banks—spanning only 48 kilometers (30 miles) at its widest point. This smallest country on the African mainland is also home to the continent’s smallest capital, Banjul, with fewer than 35,000 residents. Sitting on an island where the river enters the ocean, Banjul is decidedly laid-back, without the bustling city center—or traffic jams—of Africa’s larger metropolises.The Gambia also has the distinction of having enjoyed a relatively stable government since independence. That, combined with a warm tropical climate and miles of beautiful beaches along its Atlantic coastline, has attracted a thriving expat community. For most visitors to Banjul, the nearby beaches and quiet pace of life here are its main draws. Among the popular sights are The Gambia National Museum, which recounts the history of the country as well as daily life for the nation’s residents, and the Abuko Nature Reserve, the country's first national park, which provides an excellent introduction to Africa’s flora and fauna.