pages of detailed information about The Gambia, West Africa.
OVERVIEW & GEOGRAPHY:
The Gambia, in West Africa, is a slither
of a country with a total area of 11,300 sq. km (land 10,000 sq. km,
water 1,300 sq. km.) and its only land boundary is with Senegal at
740km. The country has a population
of 2 million people (2017). It has an Atlantic Ocean facing coastline
measuring 80km which runs south from Buniada Point on Jinack
Island to the Allahein River in Kartong.
The Gambia River courses east
for approximately 487 km and roughly through the middle of the country
and finally passes over Koina village, northeast of the border.
Gambia's capital of Banjul is located
on St. Mary's Island on the south bank of the river estuary and is
cut off from the mainland by Oyster Creek and the Daranka Bolong.
Either side of both creeks are the Tanbi Wetlands,
characterised by mangroves, mudflats and saltwater creeks as far south
Agriculture is the country's
biggest export which is dominated by the main cash crop - groundnuts.
Local efforts have been made to diversify farmers' incomes by moving
them onto cashew cultivation and other more profitable cash crops.
Some of the various cooking recipes
prepared in The Gambia have been introduced by various waves of immigrants
from the Senegambia basin and other parts of West Africa since the
early 19th century. For example Jollof
Rice (Benachin) from Dakar.
The climate of The Gambia can be
divided into two general seasons of wet and dry. Monsoon rains start
from around mid-June to mid-October and the dry season from mid-October
to the first half of June. The dry season is generally cooler and
On the defence front the army is composed
of infantry battalions in the GNG, GNA and the navy.
See economy, economic
sectors and the business guide.
The Gambia is a multi-ethnic society with a mix of peoples from the
West Africa sub-region with various cultural, religious and linguistic
differences living side by side. Ordinary citizen's lives are marked
by a number of rites of passage and traditional rituals. There are
at least 8 ethnic groups each with
its own and sometimes overlapping customs, traditions and languages.
There are over 10 languages plus various
dialects spoken, most of which are part of the Niger-Congo linguistic
At various times in its history all or
some of the country was a part of some of the great empires of West
Africa and local Senegambian kingdoms. Ancient pottery artefacts have
been unearthed which have been dated to around 5,500 bp. Rural villages
with a knowledge of iron have been found and dated to around AD 500.
The Gambia achieved internal self-government in 1963; gained independence
in 1965 and five years later became a republic with a president.
TRAVEL & TOURISM:
The cool, dry season from end October is when the travel
and tourism sector kicks into life until the end of the Easter
vacations of the following year, though some visitors continue to
arrive in smaller numbers until May. From most European airports it
takes about 6 hours flight time to arrive at Banjul
Airport. The country offers a less expensive alternative tropical
holiday destination than for example the Caribbean or South Asia.
There are various 2 to 5 star tourist
hotels in resorts
along about 12.5 km of various beaches and coastal cliffs starting
at Cape Point in Cape Saint Mary to
the west of Banjul, south past Kotu and Kololi
and down to Bijilo and Brufut.