The Republic of Gambia also known as The Gambia is the smallest country across west however this country prides of great beauty and very hospitable people who will gladly share with you so much regarding their culture and lifestyle. The pleasant weather allows holidaymakers on a Safari in Gambia to enjoy the beautiful beaches, resorts as well as the different wildlife parks where you will admire the numerous animals and birds living in this country.
#1 Albert Market in Banjul
During your visit in the Gambia, spare some time and wander around this vibrant market and put to test your bargaining skills as your purchase various items. The market was established in the mid-nineteenth century and deals in a variety of items ranging from traditional art works, status, musical instruments, fabrics to mention just a few. Because the market is busy, you are advised to visit it with a local guide.
#2 Go bird watching in Tanbi Wetland
One popular activity enjoyed by holidaymakers who visit The Gambia is bird watching with a bird list of about 540 species and his can be best enjoyed on a boat ride within the mangrove streams of Tanbi wetland found close to the mouth of the magnificent River Gambia. During this traditional boat ride, you will drift down stream as you sail beneath the canopy and see various tidal creeks, lagoons and mudflats. You won’t also fail to notice some locals on smaller boats collecting oysters. Other places for bird watching including the Bao Bolongo Wetland Reserve which is home to several species and also commonly visited by migrant species, as well as the Tanji Reserve found in the south.
#3 Visit the mysterious Wassu Stone Circles
The Wassu complex comprises of eleven (11) different circles of unique standing stones and in fact the oldest man-made structures across The Gambia. This site was declared a UNESO World Heritage Site and has the tallest stone standing at a height of 2.59 meters. It is alleged that these stones mark a burial ground of a very old society supposed to have disappeared so many years back.
#4 Visit River Gambia National Park
Also known as the Baboon Island, the park which is comprised of a complex of five islands covering a total area of 585 hectares and was gazette back in 1978. it is located within the Central River Division approximately 300 km from Banjul. in this park you will find one of the last remaining populations of hippos in Gambia as well as a Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project (CRP) with more than fifty (50) chimpanzees that is open to tourists.
#5 Learn About the Slave Trade Era in The Gambia
A Visit to the National Museum found in Albreda will reward you with an opportunity to explore the slave trade exhibition showing the dark past the country encountered during those colonial days. In this museum you will see various displays of human captives as well as an imitation of some of the slave ships. You will also cross over to the nearby Jufureh Island (currently known as Kunta Kinte Island to the fort currently standing in Ruins.
this popularly visited tourist site is believed to have been the last bit of Africa that the slaves ever saw of this continent before they were tied up of the lower decks of the slave ships and then sailed them off to America where they were to serve in slavery.
#6 isit Abuko Nature Reserve
Established in 1968, Abuko Nature Reserve was the first gazette game reserve in The Gambia and covers a total area of 107ha. a visit to this national park offers holidaymakers an opportunity to experience the tropical forests in this park which serves as habitat to a huge diversity of wildlife including forest antelopes, crocodiles, reptiles and monkeys. With approximately fifty (50) different kinds of trees in this park, there are two hundred and ninety (290) different types of birds living within this forest among which is: the violet Turaco, Willow Warblers and the Kingfisher. Nature lovers will surely have an enjoyable time here as they explore the various trails.
#7 Explore the beautiful capital – Banjul
Banjul is The Gambia’s capital city and it is found on a beautiful island where the mighty Gambia River joins the Atlantic Ocean. During your city tour you will get a chance to visits the national museum that houses several displays relating to the cultural history of the Gambian people, visit the open-air bazaar a very vibrant market place where you can easily buy masks, statues and printed fabric; admire the ancient colonial architecture and walk to the top of the Arch 22 where you will enjoy uninterrupted views.
#8 Visit Bijilo Forest Park
Established in 1982, the Bijilo Forest Park covers an area of only 51 hectares and it is located within the coastal zone approximately 10.5km west of the capital Banjul. Although the reserve is small in size, it offers the perfect peaceful escape from the hustle and busy lifestyle in the main city. There are a couple of trails that have been well maintained that you can explore to see the different wildlife including monitor lizards, vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, red colobus monkeys and a great profusion of birds.
#9 Kachikally Crocodile Park
The Kachikally Crocodile Park is found in central Bakau just 10 km from Banjul City and is among the commonly visited tourist sites in the country. According to the locals, this crocodile pool which has approximately eighty (80) adult huge crocodiles and younger ones is considered to be sacred and it is used in conducting fertility rituals. Several women who are being faced with challenges related to child conception normally visit this site to cleanse their bodies and pray. Interesting they name the child conceived after visiting this site Kachikally as a way of paying respect to the special power of praying from here.
#10 Visit the Tanji Fishing Village
The largest fishing village in The Gamia is found in Tanji and it is approximately a 30-minutes drive from in Kololi a beautiful resort town found on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. You will see several colored wooden boats belonging to individual fishermen, and even observe the traditional method used in processing the fish that they freshly catch. You will see how they salt the fish and even check out the smoke houses used in preserving and you will get a chance to have a good insight of the culture of the local Gambian people. The best time to visit the fishing village is in the early evening when the fishermen have returned to the mainland and the smoke houses are fully functional.
Frequently asked Question on The Gambia
Below we have compiled a number of questions commonly asked about The Gambia as one of the holiday destinations on the African continent. These we have professionally answered to help you better understand the country and prepare adequately for your stay.
Do I need a Visa to visit Senegal?
Persons with citizenship of European Union member countries except the USA do not need a Visa to go to The Gambia however all visiting persons must have a passport valid for a minimum of six (6) months from the date of the end of their stay in this country. All citizens of countries that do not need Visas will be issued with a Stamp on arrival for 28 days duration; however this can be extended for more 28 days through the immigrations office.
Visa applications for The Gambia can only be submitted to the Embassy of The Gambia in your home country prior to your travel and all successful clients will be issued with one. For more updated information regarding Visa requirements, please Check with the embassy website.
Do I need medical insurance to Visit The Gambia?
Although medical services are generally provided by the Gambian government, you will find a couple of private medical services within the urban cities only. For that reason, travelers visiting The Gambia are highly recommended to obtain a comprehensive travel insurance that also covers you medically and provides evacuation in case of emergencies. Nonetheless it is highly recommended to bring with you a personal First Aid Kit when visiting The Gambia
What Vaccines do I need to go to The Gambia?
All persons visiting the Republic of Gambia are required to receive a number of vaccines and these include: Hepatitis A, meningitis, Typhoid, rabies, malaria, yellow fever and Hepatitis B. any one above the age of 9 months traveling from a yellow fever infested or high risk country is required to have a yellow fever certificate as proof of receiving this vaccine. Keen precaution should also be taken about HIV/AIDS throughout your visit.
How to avoid malaria in The Gambia?
Malaria is common in the country, so below we have highlighted a number of ways you can avoid contracting malaria in The Gambia.
- Always take your anti malarial drugs as prescribed by your doctor
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants especially in the evenings to guard yourself against mosquito bites
- Use insect repellent
- Always sleep under a mosquito net over your bed or in an air-conditioned room
Do not forget to visit your doctor or physician back in your home country so that they can recommend all the necessary medication as per your travel plans. To avoid any disturbances while in transit, please ensure that all the medication you are bringing in The Gambia is well labeled and have it accompanied with the doctor’s prescription.
What is the official language spoken in The Gambia?
The official language spoken in The Gambia is English, however, there are a number of other native languages that are commonly spoken in Gambia and these include: Mandinka, Jola, Manjago, Fula, Serahule, Wolof and Serer.
What is the official currency for The Gambia?
The official currency for The Gambia is the Gambian Dalasi abbreviated as (GMD or D) and it is equated to 100 bututs. The Banknotes come in denominations of GMD 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 while the coins are in denominations of D 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 butut.
Are credit cards accepted in The Gambia?
Credit Cards are fairly accepted in urban cities and centers with the Visa Card, American Express and the MasterCard being the most acceptable. A number of luxury and mid-range hotels plus some petrol stations do accept them however when you visit the largest number of local businesses you will realize that they accept only cash payments and occasionally travelers’ cheques. There are a number of ATMs found in the capital however you should take extra caution as card fraud exists.
What is the electric currency in The Gambia?
The Republic of Gambia runs on an electric Voltage of 230 volts with a frequency of 50Hz. The type of plugs and sockets it uses is the type G which has three (3) rectangular blades arranged in a triangular pattern. We highly advise all travelers going to The Gambia to come with their personal adapters despite the fact that most of the hotels and lodges claim to offer them; this will save you from any disappointments. for ladies especially who plan on bringing personal hair styling electrical gadgets such as the flat irons or hair dryers we advise that you bring gadgets that are dual voltage and once in this country please remember to change or adjust the voltage else you may end up blowing them.
What is the Time Zone for The Gambia?
The Gambia is located in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT 0) or UTC+0.
What is the best time to visit The Gambia?
Gambia can best be visited during the dry season when the temperatures are very pleasant, however the wet season as well is very rewarding especially for lovers of nature as the vegetation is green and flourishing. Wildlife viewing, outdoor activities as well as bird watching can best be done during the dry season. The wet season on the other hand comes with heavy rains that make the dirty roads in the rural country very muddy and slippery with a number of then turning out to be totally impassable
Weather of The Gambia
Generally Gambia experiences a tropical climate with the rains coming from Tune to November and this time of the year is characterized by hot temperatures; while the dry season begins in November to May. the average day time temperatures experienced during the dry season are 91° F inland and along the coastal areas its about 75° F. the harmattan season is also experienced by some parts of the country and this is characterized by windy dry weather. The average temperatures experienced during the rainy season on the other hand are very hot hitting about 104° F across most of the country.
What to Wear when Visiting The Gambia?
Because of the generally hot / high temperatures experience in the country, all travelers visiting the country are best advised to pack lightweight clothes. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also highly recommended and if possible bring a wide brimmed hat to protect your face from the hot sun. In case you are traveling during the rainy season, a rain jacket is a must-pack item.