Haggling & Bargaining
how to bargain in Gambia is a skill that is an essential way of
life, and is indispensable when buying goods from roadside or
market vendors, so be prepared to haggle hard over their asking
prices. Below are some useful bargaining tips tourists should
If you see something you want to buy, start by saying "Nyatta
La", which means "how much is it" in Wolof, and
if you are a man shake hands first before bargaining can commence.
will often please the seller and make him more amiable towards
you as well as reduce his intended asking price, as he will feel
you know a bit about local costs already. As soon as he tells
you the cost reply "Daffa seerr" which means "it's
too expensive", and follow this with "Wanyi Ko"
which means "reduce the price". Be good humoured and
jovial in your negotiations as this helps break the ice. If you
are pressed for time then ask him "what is your last-price"
(commonly done) and if it is anything above 2/3 of the original
cost then walk away with a smile.
Try not to look like a tourist if you want to stand any chance
of getting a bargain, particularly in the Kololi
and Kotu resorts. Shopkeepers can often
easily spot you out from those that live in Gambia. A few things
you can do is to hide your money or belt bag, stride confidently
but not too quickly, as this is a sure sign you are from Europe
Never pay the asking price from a
street vendor or goods shop. This is not Europe where they tend
to be fixed, and even if you feel that the item is reasonably
priced ask for it to be lowered. Never make an offer first.
You may think that it would be a bargain when in fact you are
paying over the odds.
Shop vendors and street hawkers will nearly always ask a tourist
to pay more than he or she would for the locals, as locals are
into haggling very hard indeed, and are quite prepared to try
someone else where agreement cannot be reached.
patient when negotiating over the price of goods and add a smile
while doing so however, do not over bargain as the vendor may
get irritated and upset. When tourist shopping expect to pay 30%
to 40% lower than what he had originally offered the item
to you for.
If you can't agree then one trick is to say that you are just
taking a look at other items further down the street and that
you might come back. If the vendor doesn't call you back immediately
to re-negotiate then he had probably made his final offer to you.
not bother haggling over prices charged in the supermarkets, restaurants,
bars, nightclubs and 'Bitiks' as they tend to have fixed prices.
Likewise don't bother with small items purchased from the local
'Pular' corner shop such as a packet of razors, insect spray,
fruits, peanuts, purified water bottles, bread or coffee. However,
if you are approached on the beach by a fruit seller or other
hawker then do ask for a reduction. If you have bought a lot of
items in bulk from a supermarket then it is worthwhile asking
them to reduce their price as they are often willing to offer
a discount, particularly to valued customers.
If your hotel room lacks any promised facility or you are intending
to stay over 2 weeks in Gambia, then it might be worthwhile asking
for a reduction of hotel room rates.
Tourist taxi fares tend to be fixed
though there is scope for negotiation depending on the distance
and time you require the driver's services. Ask at your hotel
reception desk or your holiday rep for advice.
When it comes to hiring the services of local skilled craftsman
such as a plumber, bricklayer or construction contractor be prepared
to bargain. Tip: Get quotes from two or three professionals, and
let them know you are getting quotes from others before making
up your mind.