The Gambian Dalasi is the currency in circulation. It
is subdivided into 100 Bututs.
Coin denominations come in 25, 50 and 1 Dalasi. Banknotes
come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 and
200 Dalasis. The 1 Butut is no longer legal tender in
|ISO 4217 Code
|| Central Bank of Gambia
| Coin Units
||25, 50 Bututs, 1 Dalasi
||5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 200 Dalasis
Travellers’ Money Advice:
If you are visiting The Gambia on a flights plus self-catering
accommodation or B&B holiday package, and want
to minimise expenses by cooking your own food or eating
out at local restaurants, using local joint taxis, and
maybe going on a few nights away from your accommodation
either staying with local families, camping near the
beach, or in budget hotels, it should be possible to
survive on about £125 per week. With two or more people
your budget can be stretched further.
obviously much more difficult to keep costs down in
the coastal resorts such as the Kololi, Kotu, Bijilo
or Brufut where enticing conveniences and products are
available such as tourist restaurants, large supermarkets,
salons, massage parlours, night clubs, spas etc.
If you travel on a flight-only package to Banjul Airport
and decide to reside in one of the tourist hotels, the
cost of lodgings is likely to be your largest single
expense. You will find more competitively priced lodgings
just a little further south of Kololi, in Kerr Serign,
which is still within short walking distance to the
tourist hotspot of the Senegambia Strip area.
If you want to stay somewhere up market and in the resorts
there are some good value for money and luxury hotels
on the beach.
If you want to see more than just the coastal resorts
of The Gambia, an excellent way to keep monetary costs
down is by hitch hiking or bicycling, which not only
saves on taxi fares but also enables you to look for
budget priced rooms or tent pitching space.
If you have opted for a self-catering apartment then
there are several ways to save money. The first is to
shop at one of the local village markets for fresh vegetables
and fruits. The cost of basic produce in markets is
much lower than you will find in supermarkets. Fresh
fish can be purchased at the Bakau fish jetty or if
you're staying further south along the coast, in Tanji.
If this sounds like too much hassle then most supermarkets
have a frozen meats section which also stocks local
produce which is not only cheaper than the imports but
helps the local economy too. For other staples try the
larger Mauritanian stores which sell bags to cups of
rice, tomato paste, cooking oil, spices and other foods
at lower prices. You can combine a sightseeing and shopping
trip by visiting Serrekunda Market where you will find
a wide range of foods for sale.
for eating out in restaurants you can get a satisfactory
meal for as little as £1.50 at street food stands and
takeaways. At realistically priced tourist restaurants
you can get a main meal from £2.50 to £6 and a bottle
of purified water for about £0.50. A bottle of soft
drink will set you back around £0.40 while a bottle
of the local beer, called Julbrew, is about £0.60 and
a glass of white wine is around £1.30. These are only
rough guides as prices for food and drink vary greatly
between local side-street restaurants in the tourist
areas and those near the tourist-class hotels. Prices
are even lower the further you move away from the tourist
and Credit Cards
Gambia is a largely cash based economy. Credit and debit
card acceptance, such as Visa, MasterCard and American
Express, is not yet widespread but is increasing among
top to mid-range establishments. Some of the tourist-class
hotels, supermarkets, top restaurants and service providers
such as car rentals, take debit and cards. Visa
cards can be a handy way of getting money from some
ATMs such as those belonging to Standard Bank which
has a branch on the Senegambia Strip in Kololi. Please
note that transactions charges and commissions are usually
payable for their use in hotels, restaurants and banks.
There is usually a maximum limit of cash per ATM withdrawal
(about D3,000), but you can often withdraw multiple
times. TIP: the crispest Gambian Dalasi notes are often
dispensed by ATM cash machines usually in D100, D200
and sometimes D50 notes.
(4) Travellers' Cheques
As a general rule you will bet a better rate of exchange
by changing cash than using travellers' cheques. On
the other hand it is advisable to carry some funds in
the form of travellers' cheques as they offer greater
security and can be replaced if lost or stolen. If possible
try and buy your cheques from your own bank as it maybe
possible to bypass the one or two per cent charge. Thomas
Cook and American Express travellers' cheques are the
mostly widely recognised names, and are often the quickest
to re-issue cheques.
Though there are some banks and exchange bureaux in
Europe that handle the Dalasi, you will get a better
rate of exchange in The Gambia,
and it will reduce the amount of bulky cash you need
to carry around as there are no large denominations
like in more developed countries. If you do get the
chance then consider obtaining about D2,000 to cover
initial expenses after coming out of Banjul Airport
such as your taxi fare and tips - there are exchange
bureaus and a bank at the airport. Much of the time
the largest banknote (D200) is worth less than
£4. The other thing to remember is to try and get a
good mix of banknote denominations so you can change
as close to what you need in the local currency. If
you are travelling solo then small denominational notes
will sometimes be accepted by a taxi driver as well
as some lodges. Even the Airport Tax can be paid in
UK Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro, Danish Kroner or
There are many foreign exchange bureaus near and within
the resorts such as Kotu, Bijilo, Kololi and Fajara.
Though rates of exchange are fixed by the Central Bank
they are free to offer discounts for customers changing
bulk cash, and usually with zero commission. Bureaux
tend to offer a more personalised and faster service
than the banks as they tend to handle less paperwork.
Tourists are strongly advised to stay away from those
offering to change your money on the parallel black
market as it is illegal to use them.
If you are travelling up-country then it is advisable
to change as much as you think you'll need, then some
more. This is because exchange facilities in the up-river
regions of The Gambia are few and far between, though
you will find them in various towns such as Farafenni,
Soma, Janjanbureh, Basse Santa Su, and Mansa Konko.
(6) Tipping Advice
you are booked into a tourist hotel or lodge, and join
organised trips, you should normally tip staff, but
it can be difficult to know how much to tip at the end.
Many hotel staff make less than £1.50 per day, while
self employed, such as bird guides can make considerably
more. For most small services the equivalent of about
£0.40 should suffice. For waiters and waitresses working
in independent private restaurants, about 7.5% of the
bill is recommended. For room staff and hotel waiters
who are taking care of your needs on a daily basis consider
giving up to £1 twice a week. The other option is to
look out for a gratuity box which is quite common now
in hotels and restaurants. This
way tips are gathered at the end of each day and shared
out equally. This avoids the situation where waiters
get the bulk of tips while kitchen staff and doormen
see far less money, if any at all. Tips are an essential
part of staff income and often pay for things like fares
home and back to work, and some essential daily family
Don't tip taxi drivers who simply pick you up and drop
you off at your destination. Tipping is not expected
so don't feel obliged to do this at all as locals don't.
However, if your driver helps you out in other ways
such as carries your luggage to your room etc. then
a small note gift should be enough. If you go on an
organised ground tour, the trip's drivers and guides
see tips as an essential part of their daily income,
as they would normally struggle on their basic pay.
The staff may hand out a collection hat at the end of
the trip so each guest should tip say £2.
(7) How Much Do Things
is difficult to pin down in the local Dalasi currency
due to the variable exchange rate and inflation, therefore
the following gives you a range of prices for a given
commodity or service in UK Pound Sterling. Generally
some items can cost less than in Europe while other
items can cost more, while at other times a big price
difference in The Gambia is as a result of where you
acquire your goods and services. Buying anything from
inside hotels is generally costlier than outside, and
again prices inside and in the vicinity of the resorts
tend to be higher than further away.
for any reason you find yourself short of funds during
your trip then money transfer is one option open to
you. However, the recipient can only receive money in
the local Dalasi currency. Some of the best known and
widespread remittances companies are Western Union and
Moneygram. You are better off bringing all the funds
you need for your vacation in foreign money and travellers'
cheques, and extra as a back-up, as remittances are
a costly way of sending funds to you.
hops in shared taxis and vans is about £0.11 and these
prices are regulated. Exclusive use for say a trip from
Kololi to Kotu is just under £1 while a trip to Serrekunda
Market is almost double that - these fares are negotiable.
Taxi fares from the airport to the holiday resorts of
Kotu, Kololi and other destinations are posted
on the right hand side of the exit and are fixed. Make
sure you have the equivalent of at least £10 ready after
collecting your luggage. For all other fares from your
accommodation it is best to get advice from your receptionist.
It is important to note that just outside most of the
large hotels there are green tourist taxis. These tend
to be more expensive than the yellow cabs and your receptionist
can advise you; prices for certain locations are sometimes
posted just outside the main entrance.
(10) Travelling To
you are taking a short flight or overland trip into
neighbouring Senegal then you will need some CFA francs
(pronounced 'sefaa'). This is a common currency in 7
other West African countries. The CFA is also accepted
by some stores near the ports in Banjul, across the
river at Barra as well as upriver in the easternmost
town of Basse Santa Su. In the future The Gambia may
join a regional monetary union and adopt a new common
currency called the ECO to be legal tender in a West
African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
back your change (called 'wechit') might not seem such
a problem at first but over one or two days you may
find your purse or wallet amassing a bundle of floppy,
dirty notes which are difficult to keep aligned straight.
As a general guideline the smaller the banknote the
worse its condition. Small corner shops tend to give
back the tattiest notes, many have adhesive tape or
staples holding them together, and some are almost unrecognisable.
Try and visit one of the banks and ask them to change
say D500 for some good condition D5, D10 and D25 notes.
New notes are usually channelled through banks and supermarkets
first, with supermarkets often having the best in the
smallest notes; this can be a bit of a hit and miss
affair though. If you simply want small change quickly
then kindly ask at one of the petrol stations. Try opening
a tab at your hotel's bar so you don't have to handle
cash so much.
Travellers aged 18 or over arriving or departing from
The Gambia may import or purchase the following products
at Banjul International Airport duty free zone which
are tax exempt.
• 1 litre of beer, wine or spirits.
• 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or or 250g of tobacco (or
combination up to 250g).
• Goods with a value not
in excess of D1,000
all your valuables such as jewellery, passport, travellers'
cheques and reserve cash etc. in your in-room safe or
at the reception. When travelling out and about use
a money belt or similar holder and don't inadvertently
display wads of cash when out in the general public.
Pickpockets are quite active in busy markets and other
crowded public places.
If you are to receive large amounts of Dalasis from
a bank in packets then ask for it to be given to you
in 'sealed packets'. This saves you time in having to
count it and if you are going to make a payment in bulk
cash the recipient may accept it without counting if
he/she has an account at the same bank.
time to time foreign currency trading restrictions may
be announced. For example in August, 2013, it was announced
by the Gambian authorities that "Shipments of foreign
currency have to be done through banks and with the
approval of the Central Bank of The Gambia," with
individuals departing from the country being restricted
to taking $9,000 in foreign currency. In that same year
the authorities also pegged the Gambian Dalasi against
the US Dollar as well. The situation is fluid and subject
to change. For the latest announcements on currency
restrictions see the Central Bank.
100 Dalasi banknote
Obverse & reverse
50 Dalasi banknote
Obverse & reverse
25 Dalasi banknote
Obverse & reverse
10 Dalasi banknote
Obverse & reverse
5 Dalasi banknote
Obverse & reverse
*NB: Any of the above advice is subject to change without
notice, and does not represent the final word on monetary
matters. Please check details with the relevant airlines,
banks, travel agents, tour operators, relevant public