Gambia Tours & Holidays
At this stage we don't have any organised trips to Gambia.
That said, Intrepid can create tailor-made tours to many destinations, including Gambia. Our fully customised trips still offer the same small group experiences with local leaders, but made just the way you want it. Simply fill out your details on our Tailor-Made page and one of our travel specialists will be in touch. Or why not visit Morocco, Kenya or Botswana?
Gambia at a glance
Banjul (population 470,000)
English (official), Wolof, Mandinka, Fula
Type G (Irish/British 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin)
Learn more about Gambia
Best time to visit Gambia
The best time to visit The Gambia is from November to February when temperatures hover around a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius and there’s little humidity. Conveniently, this is also the best time for bird and wildlife spotting. From mid-February to April the average temperature rises to about 26 degrees Celsius, before gradually climbing into the 30s from late June to late September. Humidity during this time can be oppressive, and the rains can wash away some of the roads. The heat and rain slowly subside over October and November, making this another good time to visit as the country is green and lush.
Geography and environment
Completely surrounded by Senegal save for its 80 km stretch of coastline, The Gambia is an exceptionally flat country with the highest point only 53 metres above sea level. The country’s namesake river, which threads through the country from the east, starts amongst tropical rainforests before gradually giving way to mangrove swamps and coastlines. Further from the river, savannahs and plantation woodlands dot the landscape.
Top 5 Gambian Drinks
Top 5 Gambian Drinks
Blood-red and almost impossibly sweet, bissap or manjo is an infused herbal tea made from the flowers of the hibiscus plant, and it’s the nation’s number one drink. Typically flavoured with ginger or mint, it makes for a refreshing midday beverage. And with preliminary studies recently suggesting that it may reduce blood pressure and hypertension, you may well return home in better shape than you left.
As much a social rite as a no-holds-barred caffeine injection, try the three-glass Ataaya ceremony when you’re looking to recharge the batteries or make some local friends. One part Chinese green tea leaves to two parts sugar, three parts water and a bunch of mint – think of it as the teetotaller’s mojito. Just don’t drink the foam at the bottom of the glass.
Brewed from the leaves of the local Kinkeliba plant, this strong and sweet herbal tea is mostly drunk as a breakfast tonic or at dusk during Ramadan when its reputed appetite-stimulant qualities assist gorging on the evening meal. And hunger inducing though it may be, one need not fret about possible weight gain because it also supposedly aids weight loss. Perfect!
A thick syrupy juice made from the fruit of the baobab, this ultra-sweet libation imparts an unmatched sugar high and is certainly more appetising than its ungainly tree would have you expecting.
5. Jul Brew
Described by some beer buffs as evoking aromas of hay, boiled vegetables, canned corn and cardboard, Gambia’s national beer is probably unlikely to scoop any international beer awards. But knocked back on a white sandy beach while being buffed by 28-degree sea breezes, you’re hardly likely to care.
|Chaff on the Wind||Ebou Dibba|
|Our Grandmothers’ Drums||Mark Hudson|
|The African||William Conton|
|Dream Kingdom: New and Selected Poems||Tijan M. Sallah|
Gambia travel FAQs
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: Yes - In advance
Canada: Yes - In advance
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: Yes - In advance
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - In advance
UK: No - Not required
USA: Yes - In advance
Some nationalities require a visa to visit The Gambia. If you require a visa it must be obtained in advance from an embassy overseas. Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and some other countries do not need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days. Citizens of the USA, Canada, South Africa and some other countries do need a visa and should apply to their nearest Gambian embassy and ensure that the visa is obtained before arrival.
In established restaurants, bars, hotels and taxis a 10% service charge is usually added to the bill - though feel free to tip more than this for exceptional service. At restaurants where a service charge isn’t included, 10% is the acceptable gratuity. Although tipping at other places isn't mandatory it will be much appreciated given the low wages that Gambian service workers are typically paid. Setting aside a small amount for porters, guides and drivers is also a good idea.
Internet cafes with fairly slow connections can be easily found in Banjul and the resort towns on the Atlantic Coast. Towns further inland will usually have at least one internet cafe with unreliable connectivity.
Mobile phone coverage is good in The Gambia’s large cities and towns, but less so in rural areas. The major local telephone companies are Gamcell and Africell. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you plan to use your mobile phone.
Fairly clean western-style toilets can generally be found in Banjul and the towns on the Atlantic Coast. In towns and villages further inland, squat/pit toilets are the norm. Carry your own supply of soap and toilet paper as this is rarely provided.
Sandwich = 50 GMD
Litre of bottled water = 30 GMD
Bottle of Jul Brew = 20 GMD
Shwarma = 50 GMD
Tap water isn't safe to drink in The Gambia. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring water purification tablets or ask your leader where filtered water can be found.
Credit cards are generally only accepted at top-end hotels, if arranged at the beginning of your stay, and at some high-end restaurants. American Express and Visa are the most likely to be accepted, though use sparingly as there is a genuine risk of fraud.
ATMs can be found at banks and urban centres in Banjul and around the Atlantic Coast, though they aren’t always reliable. Due to credit card and bank fraud, caution is advised when using these and some ATMs may only allow withdrawals of fairly small amounts. Be sure to have other payment methods on hand when venturing out of the big cities. Visa is the most accepted card.
- 1 Jan New Year's Day
- 18 Feb Independence Day
- 15 Apr Good Friday
- 18 Apr Easter Monday
- 1 May Koriteh (End of Ramadan)
- 22 Jul Revolution Day
- 15 Aug Assumption Day
- 9 Oct Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) - Celebrated 5 days later for Shi'a
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2022. See the current list of public holidays in Gambia.
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
From the US?
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.