The Gambia, the smallest country on the continent (excluding the islands) situated on the coast of West Africa. The country is surrounded by Senegal. The capital is Banjul and the local currency is Dalasi (GMD).
Fun Fact! The country is the 70th smallest country in the world! But what this country lacks in size it sure makes up for in scenery.
If you’d like to know more interesting facts about this African country, click here.
So let’s break this country up into PARTS.
The Gambia is a multi-ethnic country with the biggest ethnic groups being the; Mandinka, Fulani, Wolof, Jola and Serahule tribe. The official language is English, but Mandinka, Wolof and Fula are also commonly spoken in the country.
The Capital, Banjul has so much to explore. The National Museum is a great place to learn about Gambian culture and history. There are also many mosques and cathedrals scattered around the city which are also worth a look. Albert Market, the most popular street market sells everything a traveller could desire.
The Gambia river, one of Africa’s major rivers. Why not have a relaxing boat ride down the river?
Abuko Natural reserve is a beautiful wildlife reserve home to a plethora of wildlife and animals.
Why not head to Kachikally crocodile pool in Serrekunda which gives you the exhilarating opportunity to get up close and personal to crocodiles in their natural habitat.
James Island; also known as Kunte Kente island is a UNESECO World Heritage site. The Island allows you to explore the Gambian history from pre-colonialism up until their independence. Truly a must-see island!
Another UNESECO World heritage site is Stone Circles of Senegambia which date back to the 3rd century BC.
Rituals and Culture
The main religion within the country is Islam, with Christianity being the second largest religion. The national sport is Borreh, which is a type of wrestling. I bet it sure does work up an appetite.
Some Gambian staple foods include vegetables, peanuts, cassava, fish and meat. Though Islam is the main religion, alcohol is still widely available. Some of my favourite were Akara and Benachin (Rice vegetables and meat cooked together).
– The Gambian currency is Gambian Dalasi which is about for 6,300 dalasi for £100. Dollars are commonly taken in tourist attractions, but it is still handy to take some dalasi with you also.
– Shared taxis are very much a thing in the Gambia alongside people hitching a ride. So, don’t be afraid if someone else hops into your taxi.
For more travel advice check out; FCO: Travel Advice . Outside of the UK: Please check your government’s travel advice carefully.
I arrived in Gambia mid-April. Gambia was a very interesting country for me, especially the difference between its neighbouring country Senegal.
Gambia was definitely less developed with a small easy to navigate airport in the capital. I stayed in an Airbnb that was in the Serrekkuna region and spent most of my time there. I also explored the infamous Senegambia area.
I’ll be honest with you, Gambia as a country only stood out to me because of the people. Once you travel through a lot of African countries, some (NOT ALL) begin to feel the same.
There is a mix of unexpected cultures which me as a Nigerian. Now I don’t know why but there is a heavy Caribbean, more specifically Jamaican influence in Gambia.
It was odd to me at first hearing Africans with this clearly rehearsed Jamaican accent, but it was heart-warming to see the cross-continental union. Reggae and Bob Marley are really loved in this country and it was honestly very heart-warming to see black people loving other black cultures.
The Gambian museum was an interesting place and the paid tour really put some artifacts into perspective.
Albert market, Kunta Kente island and Gambia’s national parks and crocodile pool showcase the country’s unique wildlife.
My favourites places were the Tanje village museum and the Bijilo forest park. These places gave a unique look into Gambian, history, art culture and beautiful nature. I concluded my day walking out of the forest onto a beach close to the forest and watching the sunset.
Now, something I have to mention that shocked and upset me whilst in the Gambia was the bleaching creams. They were everywhere! Even on billboards and its sad that a lot of Gambian women were aspiring to this standard of beauty.
So much so that I would specifically request creams without bleaching properties which is so sad.
Check our founder’s Gambia vlog!