There is relatively little serious physical crime in
The Gambia particularly against tourists. You are more
likely to become the victim of conmen or tourist hustlers
who simply want your cash with the least bit of trouble.
Though The Gambia is known as the "Smiling Coast"
and is indeed one of the safest and friendliest countries
there are still good and bad people, and sometimes it
is difficult to distinguish between them. If you are
a foreigner, and especially if you are white, you will
stick out as a "Toubab", and thus as 'rich'
and vulnerable. The most common theft is pick pocketing
in crowded places like Serrekunda.
Violent muggings and other assault are rare but definitely
not out of the question. Though common sense goes a
long way by itself, you should keep a few things in
Don't be complacent as there are Gambian criminal elements
such as pickpockets operating in crowded areas such
as Banjul Market,
ferries and the Serrekunda town area. There are also
some handbag snatchers who are particularly active at
night and who would make their escape along dirt side
roads and disappear into the night. Use an empty bum
bag as a decoy or put just your less valuable items
in your bag and carry you cash close to your body. Muggers
hardly exist in the tourist areas but you have to be
careful in parts of Serrekunda, Bundung and the rougher
ends of town particularly at night as some criminals
would not hesitate to pounce.
Packages or your luggage brought on holiday should never
be left unattended, especially in taxis
& mini-buses. Attacks on tourists are not common;
however, you should not take valuables or large sums
of money to the beach or
display them in public. Travelers should also be cautious
of individuals who persistently offer unsolicited help.
Always take precautions in unlit areas or in places
away from the Tourist Development
If you have to venture into these areas then go along
with a well known and trusted Gambian friend. 'Well
known and trusted' because they themselves maybe the
ones to set you up!
If you do venture out at night always tell people where
you are going and carry at least a pocket-sized torch
on your person. And finally, avoid going to visit people's
houses at night-time, unless you are going by car and
know them very well.