WC's / Flush Toilet Lavatories:
Gambia's toilet and bathing facilities in and around
the hotels and tourist areas are usually of a decent
standard where you will normally find soap and toilet
paper being supplied. This is not always the case with
some night clubs so do be prepared and carry extra tissues
with you when going out. As a general rule the more
local the place the dirtier the toilets.
Traditional Pit Latrines:
Squat toilets or pit latrines are used by over 70% of
population of Gambia and furthermore they prefer to
use water instead of toilet paper. There are generally
3 types of pit latrine. The first is the flush type
in which one would squat with your feet on a concrete
slab or porcelain-type foot-stand and later flush your
waste with a bucket of water. While the second type,
which is more prevalent up-country, consists of a hole
in the ground with a large underground hole.
The third type is the so called Ventilated Improved
Pit latrine (VIP). Often burnt ash is added to the smaller
types to reduce the putrid smell. A small majority of
the urban population in Gambia, about 55% (2007 est.),
have now moved away from Pit latrines and are now using
flush lavatories with septic tanks which are emptied
periodically of solid waste.
It is very important when building one in the rural
areas to keep it at least 15 metres away from the nearest
borehole or well and should be at least 3 metres deep.
Some Gambians build 2 latrines
next to each other and when one is full it is covered
over and the other is then used. When both a full the
first can be re-opended and the formerly human waste
is now compost which can then be used in the farm as
Meaning of Toilet & Bathroom:
To avoid confusion when you need to relieve yourself,
use the word “toilet” to express both the object and
its abode. The word “bathroom” is quite literal in The
Gambia—it is the place you go for a bath. If you say
bathroom when you desperately need a toilet, you are
sure to be in trouble! In urban areas, toilets are most
common in business and hotels; up-country, a hole in
the ground, lined with cement (called a pit latrine)
is usually the way to go. Beware that most toilets do
not function correctly in except in the most upscale
of establishments. If you will be away from the hotel
for a few hours, it is advisable to bring your own toilet
paper, as Gambians use water and their left hand.
In some of the eco-lodges they are now using composting
toilets as a more environmentally friendly way of disposing
of human waste and conserving on water supplies as well
as minimising detrimental impacts on the local ecology.
Bathing Local Style:
the rural areas the vast majority wash using a water
filled steel or plastic bucket, soap and a loofah (loofer)
made from the dried fibres of the baobab, Adansonia
digitata, which is a sour gourd called booy.
In the Kombos people either use the bucket style or
showers. It is virtually unheard of for a Gambian to
lie down in a bathtub full of water and bathe ones-self.
The loofer is called Njampeh which is pretty tough on