tend to be fixed in supermarkets, restaurants, bars
and malls. However, when shopping
around in craft markets and small goods stores you can
expect shop keepers to ask for a higher price for their
goods than they would for a local.
These are generally unemployed young men who hassle
tourists for money, gifts or a free meal. There are
generally 4 types of bumster in Gambia, most of whom
operate in the Senegambia Strip area of
The first type will hassle you until you get so
fed up that you just relent and give him some money
just to go away. Don't ever be tempted to do this.
Gambia has one of the lowest crime rates in sub-Saharan
Africa. Serious crime is even lower than most industrialized
nations, and some tourists say they feel safer here
than in their own countries. Physical assaults against
tourists are rare, as well as muggings and bag snatchings.
However, there are certain urban areas where they tend
to be more common. The sort of crime you are likely
to encounter, if you are not on your guard, is sneak-thieving.
This might take the form of pick pocketing, stealing
unattended items, cheating you of change, and other
petty thievery. The one serious crime that is rampant
committed by conmen and bumsters.
You are only likely to encounter these people if you
spend much time here, and have financial and personal
dealings with certain people.
you intend on going out and about, meeting and interacting
with local people then there are quite a few unwritten
rules of etiquette and local customs you need to brush
up on. Among these are how you greet people, the local
dress code, food etiquette when eating with a family,
& don'ts of society and the family structure.
For example you need to take your shoes off when visiting
someone's house, bikinis in public, away from the beach,
are a no no, drinking an alcoholic beverage in a non-resort
street, especially while walking, is offensive to many,
as this is a Muslim country and is best avoided.
Legal tender in The Gambia is the Dalasi. It is made
up of 100 Bututs. Coin denominations are in 25, 50 and
the 1 Dalasi. Paper money is in denominations of 5,
10, 20, 25, 50, 100 & the 200 Dalasi note.
are a number of pitfalls, issues and products, both
cultural and travel to consider. Some of the advice
relates to things to buy before your arrival to Gambia,
while others are things to look out for, avoid or to
carry on your person during your stay. It is easy to
forget certain things, which can cause you hassle, stress
and embarrassment. Have you taken out your holiday insurance?
Did you buy that money belt?
is advisable to take along two lightweight woollen jumpers,
or a jacket, for the cool evenings during the months
of November to March. It can bet a bit cold by the Atlantic
ocean side, especially when there's a bit of a breeze.
There are two kinds of rules on how to dress. The first
is within the grounds of your hotel. You can wear a
bikini on the beach, maybe sunbath topless, and wear
the kind of clothing you would wear on a hot summer's
day in your own country. However, when outside in public
there are certain types of clothing to avoid. Women
should cover their legs at least down to the knees,
short sleeves are fine, uncovered torso not so.
of the electrical sockets in The Gambia are the 3 pin
British type 'G' socket. However, in hotels you will
often see variable plug types, so it's a good idea to
bring along a travel adaptor. The electrical supply
is not always a steady current, and can be variable,
so think about bringing along a surge protection plug.
section provides advice on the various car rentals firms,
driving, bicycling, quad bikes, green tourist taxis,
yellow cabs, ferry crossings, river boats, microlight
and light aircraft, walking, hitch hiking and rickshaws.
while on vacation you plan to go sightseeing then it
is worthwhile learning a few simple greetings and other
phrases, as well as well as simple rules when entering
If you want to take some pictures of people and attractions
then you need to know about the local etiquette of taking
on sunblock with as SP of at least 30 when needed and
try to go sunbathing before 10am or after 4pm. Long
exposure to the hot sun, especially if you are drinking
alcoholic beverages, can lead to dehydration and possible
section has information on the Dalasi currency denominations,
average room costs in hotels, exchange rates, credit
card acceptance, taxi fares, tipping, how much things
cost, travellers' cheques, ATM machines, banks and bargaining.
When out and about on holiday, always be aware of various
hazards posed to your wellbeing and safety. Nature,
and the urban environment, can have some potentially
harmful elements which you might not be well attuned
to. Among these are various animal diseases, biting
insects, heatstroke, roadside pedestrian care and internal
transport. For example, as cute as some dogs and cats
may be, they are mostly feral, and many have all kinds
of diseases, and a few may even have rabies.
in pools, the Atlantic Ocean, the river, and streams
in Gambia come with certain risks that may not be the
same as in your own country. You need to understand
the system of flags used on the beaches, the potential
dangers of swimming in creeks and what to look out for
in hotel pools.
ever you go on holiday in the world it's always advisable
to take certain precautions about where, and what you
eat and drink, especially in a developing country with
a sub-tropical or tropical climate. Food and water standards
are not all the same, and microbes can proliferate in
warm humid climes. Don't assume if someone at
a lodge serves you 'bottled' water in a glass, that
it's actually bottled water.
on vacation with small kids and babies can often be
very stressful at the best of times. There are matters
involving airline travel, the hotel facilities available,
and your child's health that you should take into account
before your departure, while en-route, and during your
stay in The Gambia.
you are a foreign visitor travelling from the EU or
the USA there are no required vaccinations by the Gambian
authorities. If you are a visitor from another country
then you should check with your physician. If you intend
to stay in a deprived area, or for a long period in
situations where you may be more easily exposed to diseases,
then it is recommended you take a number of immunisations.
Whether or not visas are required to gain entry into
The Gambia depends on the citizens of the country concerned.
Citizens of some countries don't require an entry visa
in their passport, whereas some do. Some travellers
who are required to get a visa prior to entry, but don't,
may be given 2 days to get one from the Immigration
Department in Banjul.
on where you are staying, and for how long, will determine
a few travel essentials. If you are staying for a month,
or a short 2 week vacation, then consider packing your
preferred hygiene products (though many are available
locally), a small pocket torchlight, mosquito repellent
spray, anti-diarrhoea tablets etc.
Other Travel Tips:
It is not wise to carry gifts, parcels or letters for
anyone on your return flight back to your country. Do
not carry any gifts, parcels or letters on your departure
to The Gambia's Banjul Airport either. If you feel obliged
to do so, then do open the item first, inspect it, then
reseal it yourself.