The Gambia Travel Guide for Beginners

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In this article, you will learn everything you need to enjoy your stay in The Gambia.

Gambia Background Information

gambia-political-map

The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa with a population of around 2 million people. It’s a popular tourist destination for many Americans and British travelers because the official language is English.

It’s one of the poorest countries in Africa because Gambians were suffering under the political rule of former President Yahya Jammeh. In 2016, Jammeh lost the presidential election and his 22 year rule came to an end.

I visited Gambia in November 2016 twice for around 14 days in total. While I’m not sure about the political stability as of now, Gambians speak good English and the cost of living is extremely low.

Why visit The Gambia?

 

Kombo Beach Gambia
Kombo Beach, Gambia

It is a great place for brothas to visit because of its laid back lifestyle, low cost of living, pristine beaches, and beautiful African women.

Gambians speak English along with other local African dialects like Wolof and Mandinka. Most girls speak good English but learning Wolof will increase your ability to communicate with everybody.

Gambia enjoys year round warm weather, good nightlife, and unlimited access to beautiful Gambian girls.

Getting to The Gambia

The easiest route is to fly into Dakar Senegal then take another short 30 minute flight to Banjul.

The other alternative is to fly to Senegal then take a shared taxi known as a sept-place (French for 7 seater). The price is around 6,000 CFA for 1 person.

I highly recommend flying if you can afford the extra cost because riding in sept-places is a horrible experience. You will be cramped in an old beat up hatchback for around 8 hours.

How to Get a Gambian Visa

The Gambian visa process is very simple for U.S. citizens. Obtain a Gambian visa at your local Gambian embassy or apply for one at the border.

The visa fee costs around 3,000 dalasi ($75 dollars) and is good for one single visit no longer than 30 days. If you need a visa extension, it is easy to obtain at the U.S. embassy in Banjul.

Be careful at the Gambian border because The Gambia police are ruthless and you could get detained by demonstrating weird behavior.

If you are coming from Senegal, then you can obtain a visa in Dakar. However, you will have to wait longer due to overcrowding problems at the Gambia embassy.

Best Places to Go in Gambia

Banjul

Banjul is the capital of Gambia and home to most of its street markets, banks, and embassies. If you are coming from Senegal, then you need to take a ferry from Barra to Banjul. The ferry ride lasts 30 minutes and costs 150 dalasi.

Once you arrive in Banjul, take a stroll through the city and visit some of their arts & craft markets. These markets sell everything from shoes to masks for extremely cheap prices.

Always remember to bargain and never accept the first price from a seller. Most Gambians like to double the price so expect the true price is be at least 50% lower than what they tell you.

Serekunda

Serekunda is home to many of Gambia’s nicest beaches and vacation resorts. These places aren’t cheap though so expect to pay at least $100 per night at any of these resorts.

There are also many supermarkets and shopping centers located on Serekunda’s main road.

Kaijing

Kaijing is a residential neighborhood where you will find many locals. It also offers affordable hostels and hotels for budget travelers. This area contains many primary and secondary schools as well.

Senegambia

This is where the nightlife takes place. The Senegambia strip is a long street filled with bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and banks for both tourists and local Gambian residents.

It gets pretty crowded on the weekends, but it’s the best place to go for live music, dancing, and picking up working girls.

Banks

Gambia has several banks where you can withdraw money via an ATM. Ecobank and Standard Charter are the two most popular banks. If you need an ATM, ask a taxi driver for the nearest Ecobank. Ecobank ATMs are blue and hard to miss.

Nightlife

Wow Nightclub Gambia
Wow Nightclub, Gambia

Gambia’s nightlife takes place along the Senegambia strip. There are many different types of clubs & bars depending on your preferences.

Live Music

Gambians love to play local music and perform for tourists. The best place for live music in Senegambia is Darboes restaurant at the end of the strip. They perform everyday until 2 am.

Working Girls

Gambia has plenty of working girls if you want companionship for a short and/or long time. There are 2 main clubs where you can meet a working girl: Time Inn and Brittantica. Both clubs are located at the beginning of the Senegambia strip along the main road. Ask any taxi driver to take you to the Senegambia strip and they will know what you are talking about.

Nightclubs

Another option is to party and dance at one of Gambia’s nightclubs. There are many nightclubs on Senegambia strip including:

  • Wow
  • Georges
  • 2rays
  • Gaya
  • Kora
  • Aquarius
  • Jolor

Most clubs have a small entrance fee of around 100 dialas (approx. $3). When nightclubs offer a free cover charge, the nightclub will be packed because many Gambians don’t want to pay a cover fee. Weekends are the craziest while weekdays are best if you want to avoid the big, loud crowds.

Should You Visit Gambia?

Yes, but maybe not right now. Gambia is dealing with backlash since President Jammeh lost the election. However, I predict Gambia will become much more enjoyable in the future since the new President is a successful real estate developer and promises to improve the economy and create jobs.

If you’re looking for a good place in Africa to visit, then Gambia is a good place to try.

I bought the book “Lonely Planet Africa” for reference during my trip and it really helped me save money and stay safe during my journey.

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