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Location:Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Area:11,300 sq km
Population:2,221,301 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
Religion:Muslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no response 0.1% (2013 est.)
Things to Do
1. Visit Bijilo Forest Park
Explore the lush Bijilo Forest Park and see various bird species, monkeys, and reptiles. Take a walk along the nature trails and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
2. Visit Kachikally Crocodile Pool
Visit the sacred Kachikally Crocodile Pool and witness the resident crocodiles up close. Learn about the cultural significance of the pool and its importance in local folklore.
3. Explore Makasutu Cultural Forest
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Gambia at the Makasutu Cultural Forest. Participate in traditional music and dance performances, visit local villages, and enjoy nature walks.
4. Visit River Gambia National Park
Go on a boat tour of the River Gambia National Park and spot diverse wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, and monkeys. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the river and its surrounding landscape.
5. Visit James Island
Take a boat trip to James Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the ruins of a former slave fort and learn about Gambia's colonial history.
6. Experience Tanji Fish Market
Visit Tanji Fish Market and witness the hustle and bustle of the local fishing industry. See fish being brought in from the sea, and explore the colorful stalls selling fresh seafood.
7. Go on a River Cruise
Embark on a relaxing river cruise along the Gambia River and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mangroves and wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds, dolphins, and fishing boats.
8. Visit Abuko Nature Reserve
Discover the abundance of wildlife at Abuko Nature Reserve. Take a guided walk through the lush forest and spot monkeys, reptiles, and a variety of bird species.
9. Explore Juffureh Village
Visit Juffureh Village, made famous by Alex Haley's book 'Roots'. Learn about the village's history, culture, and the transatlantic slave trade.
10. Relax on the Beaches
Unwind and soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches of Gambia. Enjoy the warm sand, clear blue waters, and breathtaking sunsets.
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The Gambia has a tropical climate with two main seasons: a rainy season from June to October, and a dry season from November to May. Here's what you need to know about the climate and the best time to visit:
During the rainy season, the country receives a lot of rainfall, which can cause flooding in some areas. Temperatures during this season range from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F) and the humidity is high. The dry season is cooler and less humid, with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 33°C (64°F to 91°F).
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Gambia is during the dry season, from November to May. The weather is pleasant, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you don't mind the rain, the wet season can be a good time to visit, as the country is lush and green, and there are fewer tourists. However, some roads may be impassable during this season, and some activities may be limited.
There are many hotels in Gambia ranging from budget to luxury options. Many hotels are located in popular tourist areas such as Banjul, Kololi, and Kotu. Some hotels offer all-inclusive packages with meals, drinks, and activities included.
Guest houses in Gambia are often smaller and more affordable than hotels, and are a good option for budget travelers. They offer basic facilities such as a private room and shared bathroom, and are often run by locals.
Lodges in Gambia are typically located in rural areas and offer a more immersive experience of the country's natural beauty. They often have fewer amenities than hotels, but provide a more secluded and tranquil environment.
Villas and Apartments
For travelers who want more space and independence, there are villas and apartments available for rent. These are often self-catering, and can be a good option for families or larger groups.
For budget travelers or those who want to experience the outdoors, there are campsites available in Gambia. Some are basic and offer few amenities, while others have more facilities and activities.
Taxis are widely available in Gambia and are a convenient way to get around. They are relatively inexpensive and can be found in most towns and cities. However, be sure to negotiate the fare before getting in the taxi to avoid any surprises.
Buses are a cheaper option for getting around Gambia, but they can be crowded and uncomfortable. There are both private and government-run buses available, and routes cover most of the country.
For those who prefer more independence and flexibility, car rental is an option in Gambia. However, driving in the country can be challenging due to poor road conditions and aggressive drivers. Be sure to obtain an international driving permit before traveling to Gambia.
Motorcycles, or "bikes" as they are known locally, are a popular way to get around in Gambia. They are inexpensive and provide a more adventurous way to explore the country. However, they can be dangerous, so make sure to wear a helmet and drive cautiously.
There are several ferries that connect different parts of Gambia, including the capital city of Banjul. Ferries can be a slower but more scenic way to travel, and are often used by locals.
- The currency of Gambia is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD).
Cash And Cards
- Cash is widely used in Gambia, especially in rural areas. Some businesses may not accept credit cards.
- It is recommended to carry small denominations of cash for daily expenses.
- ATMs are available in major cities and tourist areas.
- It is advisable to withdraw cash from ATMs located in well-lit and secure areas.
- Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with ATM withdrawals.
- Tipping is not expected in Gambia, but it is appreciated.
- If you receive good service, you can leave a small tip of around 10% of the bill.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in Gambia is relatively low.
- Accommodation, transportation, and food are affordable, especially in comparison to Western countries.
- However, prices may vary depending on the location and tourist demand.
- Be cautious of individuals offering unsolicited assistance, as they may be attempting to scam tourists.
- Avoid giving money to beggars, as it can attract unwanted attention.
- Negotiate prices and be aware of common scams, such as overcharging or fake merchandise.