Travel Guide to Gambia

January 9, 2020 Gâmbia








Welcome 2020! 
We have spent the last days of 2019 and the first of 2020 in Gambia.
 Are you curious about this destination?
 keep on reading below :)



Gambia is the smallest country at the African mainland and is surrounded by Senegal. With 80 km of shoreline and 400km land, Gambia is perfect to explore. The capital Banjul is positioned on the ocean on a peninsula. The mainly language in Gambia is English, as the country used to be an English colony. The currency is the “Dalasi”.

Why Gambia?

I actually have heard this question numerous times. Did you know that tourism in Gambia has existed since the early 1970s? The British and Dutch were the first ones traveling to this place. 
When I was looking for cheap flights, I stumbled across Banjul, the capital of Gambia. There are direct flights from Lisbon to Banjul (Tap Air Portugal) and it’s just a 4hour flight. 

Gambia has a lot to offer regardless of its small size. Not just beautiful beaches with palm trees, but also outstanding nature and a few lovely sights. 
There are 540 different bird species so you will have a lot to see if you are a Nature fan :) You'll find crocodiles, hippos, water snakes alongside the Gambia River.




When to visit Gambia?

You should visit Gambia in the dry season - November to May. The days are sunny, hot and there is no rain. The rainy season begins in June until October. If you want to visit Gambia just for a swim, the best months are May and October, whilst the water is warmer. However, there are also many mosquitoes in the rainy season. (I was in Gambia in the dry season and there were a lot of mosquitos so I can't imagine in the rainy season!!!).






Is Gambia Safe?

Gambia is an incredibly safe journey destination, especially within the tourist areas. People are friendly and affectionate.  I moved freely and never felt unsafe. Gambia has zero tolerance for tourist crimes as the police is everywhere and there are numerous cars' controls. 
Beach boys are also called "bumsters" - there are a lot of men harrassing on the beach (this is the worst part! I heard “I love you” and “Marry Me” every single day).  But most of them are very friendly and just want to talk and do business.






Where to Stay?

We stayed 2 days in Banjul (to experience the capital) and 8 days in Serekunda (Western Gambia at Labranda Coral Beach Resort,  an all inclusive Hotel.







Transportation 

We booked with an agency we found online, its called Black & White and they are really nice. They picked us from the airport ( at 2 a.m. ) and the way back too. They also do Safari trips - you can take a look online. 





What to Visit

 Gambia is a true paradise for nature lovers! 

Monkey Park in Kololi:  Wild monkeys - Bijilo Forest Park. A minimum of five differing kinds of monkeys sleep in this park. 

Cruise the Gambian River:  There are multiple traveller agencies that supply a calming boat ride on the river.

Serekunda Market: We went to Serekunda Market with all the colourful sights, smells, hustle and bustle. I loved our time here and the opportunity to take photographs of the Gambian people buying and selling their things. It was also, surprisingly, a very hassle-free environment. 

Visiting a School: Try to avoid donating to the schools which are doing very well in terms of supplies. A tour company drops tourists off at the same schools and they have donations frequently.
My advice would be to check out the village and country schools which really are in need of donations, you will find them when you are on trips and a good taxi driver will know . 
Toothbrushes and toothpaste are always needed as tooth decay is prevalent and dentists too prohibitively expensive for the average family. Painkillers, asprin etc, firstaid kits, second hand spectacles, children's book are always welcome, as are pens pencils and balloons. The boys love footballs which you can purchase cheaply when there.




What I didn't like

As I mentioned before being harassed constantly on the beach is a bit uncomfortable. We like to do long walks at the beach and when you leave the hotel area you are constantly approached.
The trash on the streets and at the beach is horrible. We tried to talk about the importance of picking the trash to some locals but they simply don't understand. In some places you will find a lot of vultures at the beach too.

You can check my Gambia Highlights on Instagram here where you can watch everything I did there.


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