There are many bureau
de change outlets in Gambia particularly around
the various holiday resorts
such as Kololi, Bijilo, Fajara and Kotu. To get the
best foreign exchange rates you either have to bargain
hard or change bulk cash. They are often faster
and tend to give you better rates than you can get from
a bank. Do be wary of signs that say zero commission
as what you should look out for are the rates they have
on offer. These are normally posted outside on the street
on small signboards.
For large amounts be prepared to haggle and if they
refuse to improve their offer from their advertised
rates then be prepared to move on to the next firm.
The cashier will usually call you back before you exit
their bureau de change.
order to avoid being short-changed don't assume you
have been given the correct amount of money. Remember
to count the bills given to you in front of the clerk,
and its also a good idea to carry a pocket calculator.
Do also check that the bunch of banknotes does not contain
notes of a lesser denomination, for example a few 50
Dalasi notes mixed up with a larger bunch of 100 Dalasi
notes. Do not be shy about asking for any torn notes
to be changed replaced.
Parallel Market Money Changers:
Tourists are advised to give a wide berth to the local
money changers who operate in the so called Parallel
Market. Many locals used to change bills on the black
market, particularly at Serrekunda's Westfield Junction,
to get a better rate than they would have at the officially
recognised exchange bureaus and banks. It is currently
illegal to use the services of street hawking money
changers and you should use an officially registered
bureau de change of or one of the other financial institutions.