on holiday to The Gambia with small children & babies
can be difficult at the best of times. There are issues
involving air travel, hotel accommodation & that
you should consider prior to your departure, while en-route
& during your stay.
Airline Travel: Flying with children to Gambia
who are under 2 can be really tough going on any parent,
despite their reduced air fares, especially when you
consider that it's about six hours of flight time from
the UK, when they are liable to throw a tantrum.
On & Pre-Flight Suggestions
you are travelling with a baby, arrange a bassinette
or hanging cradle.
• Ask for seats near an exit or bulkhead seats, to provide
your child a safe space to play on the floor.
• Arrange in advance for kid's meals.
you are a lone travelling parent, ask the airline if
they can arrange airline assistance for boarding and
un-boarding at various stops, and at Banjul Airport.
• Do pack their their small toys, computer games,
books etc. in your hand luggage.
• After boarding
the aircraft encourage your child to drink lots of fluids
to reduce the risk of dehydration.
• Put brightly
coloured clothes on you kids so they can easily be seen
in a crowded airport.
• Your child's ears might
hurt due to cabin pressure changes during take-off and
landing, so get them to drink or eat something during
those times. Failing that give them a candy.
• Finally do ask your travel agent or friends for advice
on the most child-friendly airlines flying to The Gambia.
Child friendly hotels are in the majority of establishments
in Kololi, Kotu, Bijilo, Cape Point, and the
other beach hotels along the coastal strip. They very
often have kids' section swimming pools, playgrounds
and a few have babysitters. Quite often you can simply
ask for a small bed to be placed in one of the bedrooms
or the living room without extra charge.
Do keep a compact LED lamp near you, so if the electricity
cuts out, you can rapidly get light, so the sudden darkness
doesn't frighten them. A pram is useless here unless
you are staying within the vicinity of your hotel. Try
a baby sling or a baby backpack carrier.
Children's Travel Health:
you are staying for two weeks in one of the coastal
resorts and don't intend to venture out far, then except
for malaria, you can allay your worries about your children
contracting tropical diseases in The Gambia. Some people
do suggest yellow fever vaccination for kids, though
this is optional. It is however advisable to take your
child for an early medical check-up and to follow your
doctors advice and instructions regarding any medications,
including anti-malaria drugs. Also make sure that your
child is up-to-date on all routine childhood vaccinations
and boosters such as the Td/IPV (UK).
If however you choose not to give them prophylactic
medications then remember that you are less likely to
contract malaria in the coastal areas than further
do be vigilant and remember to spray or rub them with
mosquito repellent in the early evenings, or if they
are about to venture into bush area. Also ensure that
their bed comes with a mosquito net - the best way of
avoiding the disease. If they are staying here long-term,
then consult your GP in the UK or physician in the USA.
has an incubation period from a few days to several
weeks, so as a precaution be vigilant and be alert for
signs of lethargy, high temperature, headaches, flue-like
symptoms etc. exhibited by your child. Take them straight
to your doctor if you notice anything untoward.
Mosquito Nets etc.
Check that your accommodation provides mosquito nets
over beds or insect screens on windows. If in doubt
then pack at least one portable net. Also consider plug-in
mosquito repellent sprays and creams.
Heat & Sun
When going sightseeing or lazing about by the beach
or pool, when the sun is hot, then it's a good idea
to get your child to wear a hat of some sort, as well
as maybe UV sunglasses. Keep them hydrated by keeping
cool bottles of water nearby. In order to reduce the
chances of getting sunburn you should rub their skin
with a good sunblock cream.
Along the coastal resorts, between December through
to February, it can get quite cold in the early mornings
and evenings, therefore you should consider packing
a couple of medium thickness jumpers or a jacket for
your children, as well as body moisturiser.
Excursion by Canoe
Most pirogue rides don't come with a lifejacket so it's
important that if they are non-swimmers you should not
allow them into any small boat.
Always get the advice of your doctor before deciding
to take or not to take any medications or precautions
for yourself or any member of your family or friends.