Travel to The Gambia

River Gambie

From Senegal, it is easy to travel to the Gambia over the land border in the north. We did not cross the southern land border, but our guide told us that one can be trickier. Sadly, one on my most distinct memories about the Gambia is the corruption. On our drives, we had to pay bribes to the police every few kilometres. There is also a lot of male prostitution, which I realised whenever I went near the resort beach by myself. The country has had a lot of instability and political issues in recent history. However, there were a lot of beautiful places to see in this small country.

The river Gambie is in the middle of this long, narrow country that is surrounded by Senegal and the Atlantic Ocean. Banjul, the capital, sits on a small island in the northwest and has interesting and sad history. We enjoyed the wildlife, Wassu stone circles, beaches near Serrekunda, and craft markets. Interestingly, we found that not many products are manufactured in the Gambia. Therefore, the only souvenirs we bought were raw materials including tea, peanuts, thiakry (sweet potato couscous), and cashews. Fishing is also a big industry. Finally, at the end of our trip, we had an excellent meal at Yosh on the way to the airport!

SeneGambia Bridge
Wassu Stone Circles
Wassu Stone Circles
Arch 22 in Banjul


  • Banjul, the capital
  • Arch 22, walk to the top for the view and there is also a small museum
  • Banjul sign on a roundabout
  • Banjul Central Mosque
  • National Museum of the Gambia
  • Gambia dockland and port
  • Kachikally Crocodile Pool in Bakau
  • Wassu Stone Circles
  • Boat ride on the Gambie to Baboon island and looking for wildlife including birds, chimpanzees, monkeys, hippos and crocodiles
  • Chimp rehabilitation centre
  • Beaches of Serrekunda including Fajara
  • Kotu and Fajara Craft markets
  • Bird Watcher Association bird watching area; keep an eye out for the many vultures
  • Bijilo Forest Park with monkeys, mongoose, hornbills and more wildlife
  • Senegambia Craft Market
  • Tanji Fishing Center and local market- chaotic but a real taste of local life
  • Makasutu National Park
  • Eat the fresh fish and seafood, and local fruits and vegetables
  • Try a fresh coconut drink- we asked someone at the hotel who climbed a tree to get them

Before you go

  • Gambia Tourist board official website
  • No visa is needed for UK citizens, however US citizens do need to pay for a visa
  • Entering the country at the land border requires some knowledge of the different steps and we were glad to have our guide
  • The country exit fee at the airport is $20 or equivalent. However, in local currency it was only 1000 dalasi
  • The official language is English, although there are a number of local languages including Wolof (also spoken in Senegal)
  • Unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption in the country. We had to buy bribes on the road every few kilometres. We were also asked for bribes at the airport, but they were less pushy
  • Beware of male prostitutes who follow you along the beach
  • As our guide said, you need to be patient in the Gambia. Things do not move quickly and checking in and passing through immigration and security at the airport took a long time
  • Malaria is present so taking anti-malarial medication is advised
  • The weather can be very hot most of the time. There is a rainy (Jun to Oct) and a dry (Nov to May) season
  • Tipping is very much appreciated
Kachikally crocodile pool
Bijilo Forest national park
Kunta Kinteh boat trip


  • Banjul International Airport is located about 45 minutes from the beach resort areas or Banjul without traffic. The only way to get there is by taxi or car. Allow plenty of time to get through security and immigration
  • Getting around the Gambia is easiest with an experienced driver. There are not that many taxis around, especially to get between faraway places. Also, there is a lot of corruption on the roads so the drivers and guides know how to manage this. We were glad to have Mika and Samba from Trip Tour Senegal
  • Around Serrekunda, we walked around the local roads and that seemed safe enough


  • I’ll write about the specific accommodation in different posts. For this trip, our guide booked all of our accommodation.
  • The Sunset beach resort was amazing, and very comfortable
  • The Reliable Guesthouse in Wassu was quite an experience! It was okay for a night but we didn’t have enough water to shower.
  • As usual, I recommend checking reviews on or using AirBnB


The official currency of the Gambia is the dalasi (GMD). As of May 2024, one British pound is equal to 85.6 Gambian dalasi. I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates

50 dalasi note with Wassu stone circles
Fish Yassa at the Reliable Guesthouse
Lunch at Sunset beach hotel
YOSH dinner vegetarian curry and rice
Breakfast at Sunset Beach Hotel


Food in the Gambia is probably not the main reason to visit, although we did enjoy some fresh fish!

Our first accommodation in Wassu, Reliable Guesthouse, was very basic, but they provided us with all of our meals. We had fish yassa for lunch, grilled fish and salad for dinner, and omelette sandwiches for breakfast. My favourite was the breakfast!

While we were staying at the Sunset Beach resort, all of our meals were buffets at the restaurant. They had many choices, although most were unhealthy fried foods. I appreciated the fresh fruits for breakfast. And the fish options were delicious and unique, including ladyfish.

Finally, on the way to the Banjul airport, we had our dinner at Yosh. It is a great fusion of Gambian and European foods, run by a Swiss woman who is also the Swiss consulate for the Gambia. It has a very artsy ambience, and the terrace tables are cosy. We also really liked the food and our chat with Astrid, the owner.


Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: Yes, it is better to have a tour guide and drive to get around, especially with corruption on the roads

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes, most people speak English as that is the official language

Q: Can I travel solo?

A: No, I would not recommend it unless you have a local guide and/or driver

Q: How easy is it to send postcards?

A: Buying postcards was not so easy, but there are some at the hotel resorts. I also just bought stamps at the hotel, because the post office was not near and had very short hours. As on June (nearly 4 months later), no one has received the postcards but we still have hope! See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.

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