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
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
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
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 or America.
Never pay the asking price from a
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.
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.