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Practical information Gambia

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Gambia : Travel Information before you go!

Area

11300.0

Flights

London/Banjul via Casablanca and Conakry: 8 hrs 10 mins. Distance: 2,782 mi.

Population

1500000

Airports

Banjul's international airport is located 15 miles Southwest of the town. Taxis will bring you to the centre of town for about 15 euros.

Security

It is recommended to avoid the surroundings of military and official buildings. Besides this advice, the situation in Gambia is rather calm. Tourists are often stopped by people offering their services. Say "no" politely but firmly and you will not be bothered anymore. There are also some pickpocketers around the touristy spots.
Concerning swimming, be sure to follow the instructions given when you get there as certain beaches are dangerous.

Languages

The official language is English. The main African languages are Wolof and Mandenka.

Required travel documents for

Passport valid for at least 3 months. Required visa, issued at the embassy. Bring 2 photos and 1 form. Show your return ticket or a ticket leaving for another destination, or a certified document from your travel agency.

Religion

Muslims (85%), Christians and Animists (15%).

Currency

The currency is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD), which consists of 100 Bututs. You can exchange money in the airport or in town, in banks and bureaux de change. Travellers cheques drawn up in Euros, US Dollars or Pounds Sterling can be exchanged but will incur a commission fee. MasterCard, American Express and Visa credit cards are accepted in most hotels. Bank opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 8:00am to 1:00pm and from 8:00am to 11:00am on Fridays. Some banks are also open on Saturday mornings.

Local transportation

By boat:
The Gambia River is the main navigation route between Banjul and Georgetown or Basse. A trip lasts about a day and the stops during the journey are of varied durations.
By road:
Buses and bush-taxis drive on the only tarred axis, outside of the Capital, from Banjul to Basse. The other roads are trails, thus a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
By car:
Car rental agencies are located in most tourist complexes. People drive on the right and an international driver's license is required. Minimum age : 21.
By bicycle:
You can rent one in any tourist site. It is a very pleasant way to discover this flat country!
In town:
"City-taxis", painted yellow, serve the routes between Banjul and the tourist complexes of the Atlantic coast. "Tourist taxis", painted in green, can drive all over the country.

Health

Yellow fever vaccination is required. Recommended vaccination shots: diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, typhoid, hepatitises A and B vaccinations. Anti-malaria treatment is strongly recommended, the country is listed in zone 3. Do not swim in stagnant water and only drink sterilised or bottled water (with the cap taken off in front of you). Do not eat raw or half-cooked food (meat, fish, vegetables, fruits...) and take all precautions to avoid "traveller's dysentery".

Electricity

Voltage is 220 V. Square or round, three-pin electrical outlets. An adaptor is not needed.

Telephone

To call Gambia from the UK: Dial 00 + 220 + personal phone number you wish to call.
To call the UK from Gambia: Dial 00 + 44 + personal phone number (without the first 0).

Gambia : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Embassy of Gambia (also carries out Consulate work)
57 Kensington Court, London, W8 5DG
Tel.: 020 7937 63167 01.72.74.82.61
Fax: 020 7937 9095 01.53.04.05.99
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m and from 9:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m on Fridays.

At the destination

Britsish Embassy

20 Rue du Docteur Guillet Boite Postale 6025 Dakar (Senegal) Tel: (221) 33 823 7392 (221 8) 395 100.
Fax: (221) 33 823 2766 (221 8) 395 181.
British High Commission.
Tel: 4495133/4 .
The Gambia National Tourist Office. Ministry of Tourism
and Culture
The Quadrangle, in Banjul.
Tel.: (220) 228 496.
Fax: (220) 227 753.