on your holidays in Gambia you should never swim anywhere alone
as you could get into trouble with no one around to help. If a
lifeguard is nearby then it maybe OK. Use your common sense in
all situations involving you going into water. The main rule is
that if you are in doubt, then keep out.
You should take
a number of factors into consideration before attempting to swim
in the Atlantic Ocean. There can be certain times when the undercurrents
can be quite powerful with tall waves, and could take you under.
Beach swimming can sometimes be risky; so you should try and get
advice on safe bathing locations, and when it's safe to do so.
Look out for the sea condition flags placed on the sand along
the beaches by the attendant lifeguards,
before going into the water. If there is a red flag then don't
enter the water. A yellow flag means you can swim with caution
but stay near the shoreline, and a green flag means it's permissible
to swim. This system of flags on the beach or areas roped
off using buoys also marks out potentially dangerous rocky areas
in the sand. If in doubt, keep out!
this is the open sea which can have various sea creatures
close to or on the shore. Jellyfish such as the Portuguese
man-of-war, sometimes make a presence. However this species is
easy to spot, recognise, and avoid, with its bright blue and pink
body with long trailing, stinging tentacles. Stingrays, though
not common, sometimes make a presence. Think also about wearing
plastic shoes to avoid getting pricked by sea urchins.
to the areas of beach that are well used by people, and be very
careful about swimming along deserted sections of beach, such
as in Gunjur, Sanyang,
Kartong and others strands in south
dive into a hotel swimming pool without knowing where the deep-end
is, and how deep it is. The first time you go into any pool always
walk in using the steps, or lower yourself in feet first, irrespective
of what the pool depth indicators say, then examine with your
own where the deep end is. This is because it could be a new pool,
and a mistake has been made with the depth indicators. Such mistakes
are not unknown here.
you are going to stay in a hotel then look for the ones which
have children's section
pools, as well as one with an attendant lifeguard. If your
child needs, it then do bring along a couple of child's inflatable
armbands, and have someone responsible to keep an eye on them
RIVERS & CREEKS:
River Gambia is known to
have crocodiles, which are common along the length of the
river and in tributaries, and hippos which reside upriver
in the central regions. You should avoid swimming anywhere along
the river, as well as various streams as you could encounter one
of these animals.
Swimming in freshwater
creeks can hold other risks such as contracting various diseases.
Tiny flukes released by freshwater
snails harbour the disease schistosomiasis, also known
as bilharzia, which can be passed onto you by the parasitic worms,
which enter through your skin. This can show up as a rash that
same day, so if you see this sign then get it checked by a doctor.
Though the chances of you getting infected on brief contact is
fairly low, you should still be aware of the risks. Another water
borne disease is giardiasis, which is an infection of the
digestive system caused by a tiny parasite (Giardia intestinalis)
in contaminated water. Symptoms include stomach cramps and bloating
but it's not usually considered dangerous to human health and
can be easily treated. If you feel the need to take a dip then
try to do so at least 250 metres from the nearest settlement,
rub a DEET based insect repellent all over your body before swimming,
stay for less than 15 minutes and towel dry your skin vigorously.
Sometimes snakes are caught by fishermen in the creeks