Gambia is one small country that has so much to offer! From its world class birdwatching to its astounding golden beaches or its contagious culture, hospitable locals, vibrant environment, depressing history, this country has plenty of things to captivate the travelers. Though it’s the smallest country in the African continent, Gambia is big on appeal and attraction, proffers the most exciting and diverse destination incontinent. The nickname of this beautiful country is “Smiling Coast of Africa” definitely suits it the best. If you’re traveling to the Gambia for the first time, you may be in search of a thorough guide. Like any other country, Gambia has few things that tourists must have to know and to keep in mind while visiting Gambia. Let’s check out some of the things you must have to know before traveling towards Gambia with cheap flights.
- Exchange Money in Gambia: Gambian Dalasi is the local currency of Gambia. In big cities and major places, you can pay in US dollars, pounds, and Euros, but it’s almost impossible to exchange money out of Gambia unless at land borders that enters into the Gambia. Though Gambian Dalasi is barely available in the UK, it is better to wait to get to your travel destination Gambia to exchange money. But keep in mind that we are not talking about exchanging at the airport. At Senegambia, you’ll get a better exchange rate compared to the airport. It’s mainly because of a lack of regulation and the value of foreign currency to locals makes it a lucrative business for both.
- Tourist Taxis in Gambia are nothing but swindle: Once Gambian found that you’re foreigner, they automatically assume you rich and demand big. Green taxis usually hanging outside the hotels and major tourist haunts try and lure tourists to hop in. Those who get in will have to pay premium costs even for a short distance journey. Instead of Green taxis, it is recommended to take yellow bush taxis that local use as their prices are negotiated and settled before one sits in the taxi. Yellow bush taxis are much cheaper than tourist taxi in Gambia.
- Be Callous at the Market: Gambia is home to great markets where you can find anything and everything from clothes, crafts, and other souvenirs. Local markets are a perfect place to explore Gambian culture, tradition, and true colors. Make sure to set a low marker for anything you want to buy, the seller starts from high and then meet mutually somewhere in the middle.
- Where you should go in the airport: The obvious thing to do after checking in for your flight is to breeze through security and heading towards the departure lounge. If you want to dodge the crowd, a better alternative is Banjul International Airport’s lounge and restaurant, located at the top of stairs in the departure hall. The area is perfect for relaxing, there’s a TV, it’s quiet, you can enjoy some beautiful views out over the tarmac, and the table service is quick as there is a less-crowded.
- Arch Tours are worthy: When you’re in Gambia don’t miss the day tour. There are plenty of options to choose from retracing Kunta Kinte’s steps on the Roots tour to hippopotamus spotting. Sunbathing is excellent, but don’t just spend all your time sitting on the beach; there is so much more to explore. Arch Tour is the most reliable and reputable tour operator in Gambia.
- Clothing: It is one of the traveling aspects to respect every religion and culture. Gambia has a 90 % population consisting of Muslims, so tourists are recommended to wear appropriate dress. Do not wear too revealing clothes, shorts and vest are OK in urban areas but avoid wearing them in villages.
- What to Eat in Gambia: Jollof rice is the most popular dish in West Africa, and the Gambia is home to Jollof, so trying this one is a must. The word Jollof derived from the Wollof called to the people of Sene-Gambia (Gambia and Senegal), which means “one-pot.” Most of the dishes prepared in Gambia is made of grown food such as millet, vegetables, groundnuts, cassava, meat, and fish. Domoda, Plasas, Afra/Dibi, and Olele are some other recommended food to try in Gambia. If you visit Gambia in the summer season when mangoes are available, don’t forget to enjoy the sweetest and juiciest mangoes.
- About the Weather: Like the rest of the West African countries, Gambia has two seasons, dry and rainy. Throughout the year the weather is warm so always take light clothes with you. Must check out the weather upon your dates of travel. From November to May, when the season is dry, the temperature can go up to as high as 43 degrees Celsius. If you can’t bear the extreme weather, it is recommended to plan your trip at other times of the year.
- Enjoy the Game of Wuri: Wuri is a famous West African game that you can see many young and old people play in markets and streets. Wuri is a simple game played by two people on board, having six holes on each side, and both have four beads. Both players’ aim to collect as many beads as possible by accumulating even numbers in each pot. Sounds easy? But this has some tricks involved! Enjoy watching this game or learn (if you’ve time) when in Gambia.
- Stock up on sweets and stationary: Gambia is an underdeveloped country where many kids beg at the roadside or help their parents to earn by selling a pack of peanuts or other things. It is recommended to take some pencils, pens, workbooks, and sweets to give to these children. These little things are ordinary for us but mean a lot to these kids.
- Tip in Return: Gambia is a land full of hospitable peoples. They often offer you help, so it is better to provide them with a tip in return. Just offer than one pound coin, and they will happily do many things for you. Take a handful of coins with you so you can use them where necessary.