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The Gambia is a country in West Africa and is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. It has a short North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west and is surrounded by Senegal so that it is almost an enclave. The country occupies the navigable length of the Gambia River valley and surrounding hills.
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The Gambia gained its independence from the UK on 18 February 1965. A constitution was written on 24 April 1970, before being suspended in July 1994 and subsequently rewritten and approved by national referendum on 8 August 1996. It was re-established in January 1997.
The Gambia formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002.
Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May); Natural hazards : drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years).
- Kachikally Crocodile Pool. Opportunity to touch/pat West African Nile Crocodiles. GMD50.
- Four Wheel Drive Adventure. Very popular tours visiting schools, country homes, and distilleries.
- Benachin or Jollof rice — a traditional West African rice dish with onions, spices, tomatoes or tomato paste mixed with meat, fish or vegetables.
- Chicken Yassa — chicken boiled with onion, black pepper and lime or lemon.
- Domoda — meat stew with rice and peanut butter sauce.
- Lots and lots of peanuts, the main crop of The Gambia.
- International food. Please don't be put off by what you may hear about Gambian cuisine, everything may come with rice but don't forget rice is a staple in most of the world. But if you're after something your stomach is used to, then there is a plethora of international restaurants to choose from where you can have a Chinese or Indian curry, good old fish & chips or Japanese noodles, and there's also Thai, Lebanese, German, Dutch and Mexican even food places run by the British were you can get a full English breakfast. In fact food in Gambia is truly international and the fish is to die for.
- Gambia's own beer, Julbrew is worth a try. It's made by Banjul Breweries, who also make soft drinks.
- Palm Wine is juice from palmtrees that is collected and fermented. It is used as a kind of wine by the locals, and you may get a chance to try it if you go on a tour to rural Gambia.
- Baobab juice
- Spirits. You can most of the well known spirits and liqueurs in the tourist areas along the coastal strip
- Spitits, Beers & Cigarettes. Julbrew is a lager based beer, it is mainly sold in bottles but you can get in a draught form which is a lot less gassey than the bottled. You can get most of the spirits you would expect to find at home and they are still a lot cheaper than the Costas, Greece or Turkey. Whisky, Rum, Gin, Vodka, Brandy are freely available as well as Curacao and Tia Maria. Cigarettes can be bought very cheaply at around GBP2.50, €2.80 per 200 pack from all the main supermarkets or in the tourist areas.
Since 1971, the Gambia has used the dalasi as its currency (GMD). The dalasi is divided into 100 bututs. Banknotes come in GMD5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 denominations and you may find GMD0.25, GMD0.50 and GMD1 coins in circulation.
Approximate exchange rates in September 2013 were:
Maestro is not accepted at all. Many tourists have problems because of that. It is better you take CFA francs, euro or dollars with you. If you have a Visa credit card and don't use a PIN or you forgot it, then the only Bank that can help you out is (the bigger) GT Bank in Banjul, which only requires your card, your passport, and your signature.
- Kora is the main music instrument of the Mandinka tribe, and could be considered the national instrument of Gambia. It is 21-stringed and built from a large calabash cut in half and covered with cow skin to make a resonator. It sounds like a mixture of harp and flamenco guitar. Real koras can be very expensive but small souvenir versions are also available.
- Tailor made clothes can be bought at cheap prices.
- wood carvings
- wooden masks
- African drums
- hand-woven table runners and place mats.
- Batik and tie-dye fabric.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Gambia on Wikivoyage.
Cities in Gambia
25 hotels in this place
- Bijilo Forest Park
- Tanji Bird Reserve
- Abuko National Park
1 hotels in this place
- Bakau Beach
- Kololi Beach
- Cape Point Beach
- Bakau Kachikally
- Independence Stadium
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Banjul is the second largest city in and capital of Gambia. The city is on an island, which has constrained its size - population is only 40,000. Consequently much of the population now is based on the mainland between the airport and the city. The main tourist and business centres are around Bakau, Fajara, ... (read more)
- Arch 22
- Gambia National Museum
- Banjul Beach
- Fort Bullen
- State House
Points of Interest in Gambia
- Abuko Nature Reserve. open daily 08:00-18.30. Nature park situated outside the village of Lamin in the Kombo North District, 25 km from Banjul. At 105 hectares it is one of the smallest (if not the smallest) protected areas in Africa, but it still offers a good introduction to the Gambian wildlife. For instance there's monkeys, crocodiles and some 300 species of birds GMD35.
- Kunta Kinteh Island (Roots tour). An excursion inspired by Alex Haley's bestseller and movie Roots. You can go there on cruise up the centre of the wide Gambia river, towards the former French trading post of Albreda and the village of Juffureh. Views of the river bank are distant. Visit the setting of Roots, an old slave trade station. Tourists are overwhelmed by locals who appear only when the boat arrives, and disappear when the boat leaves. Locals are persistent in begging for money and thrusting craft items under tourists noses. Locals insist on being paid to appear in photos. Or you go by car, e.g. with th official tourist guides on the small roads on the North Bank and sail in a pirogue from Juffareh.
- Gambia River National Park. Beautiful national park below Janjanbureh. The camp is pricey, but worth the money. They will organize boat tours to see chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, crocodiles, etc.
- Sanyang Beach. One of the most beautiful beaches in Gambia. Public transport leaves from Serrakunda and Brikama regularly, and private taxis can also be hired for day trips.
Bakau Beach - Bakau
Sanyang Beach - Sanyang
Arch 22 - Banjul
Bijilo Forest Park - Serrekunda
Kiang West National Park - Batelling
River Gambia National Park - Kudang
Kololi Beach - Bakau
Gambia National Museum - Banjul
Banjul Beach - Banjul
Fort Bullen - Banjul
Cape Point Beach - Bakau
Tanji Bird Reserve - Serrekunda
Bakau Kachikally - Bakau
Abuko National Park - Serrekunda
Independence Stadium - Bakau