Republic of The Gambia is located in West Africa, equidistant from
the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer - latitude 13°27'N and longitude
16°34'W. It is the smallest and westernmost country of Africa
(which is why Lufthansa chose it in 1934 as base for its inaugural
trans-Atlantic flights). It is nearly surrounded by its neighbour
Senegal. The river
stretches east to the Barrakunda Falls, rising in the Guinea plateau
of Futa Jallon. The Gambia is
the closest to Europe of the English-speaking Commonwealth countries.
In 1973 the island capital Banjul
was renamed Bathurst. The total population
of the country is 2 million est. (April 2017). More
The country gained its independence
from Britain in 1965 and is its first and last West African colony.
Following the 1970 referendum the country went on to become a republic
inside the Commonwealth; the Prime Minister, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara,
became the president until
1994. More >>
climatically on the edge of the arid Sahel zone, the climate
of The Gambia is sub-tropical with two distinct seasons of rain and
dry. The wet season, which starts around mid-June, is locally known
as 'Nawet' and is characterised by heavy downpours, vegetative greening,
humidity and more mosquitoes. The rains normally continue until mid
to end of October.
best time to visit The Gambia on holiday is from early November to
mid-April; most tourist flights
arrive in December and January. The majority of visitors stay in various
beachfront hotels, while a significant number
also stay in the 'Kombo' area's lodges and guest houses along a 10.5
kilometre band of accommodations
dotted along the Atlantic coastline resorts.
The resort of Kololi is at the
epicentre of the tourism
The business environment is
quite open and foreign investment opportunities exist in various priority
sectors of the economy
such as seafood processing, tourism, food & drinks processing,
energy, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and others.
There is not much in the way of mineral wealth except for large deposits
of iron ore on the cliffs overhanging the river and salt dried from
shallows and tributaries (Bolongs). There are also small deposits
of zircon, ilmenite, rutile and other minerals. The main cash crop
is groundnuts, introduced into the Senegambia
region from Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
Of the various ethnic groups
in the country the Mandinka
are the single largest group followed by the Fulani, Wolof, Jola,
Serahule and others. The nation's social, cultural
and political landscape is characterised by its long periods of relative
peace, stability and a minimum of inter-tribal friction compared to
some sub-Saharan African nations.