Well, travelling alone is not a problem really, I did it quite often. Just came back last week.
Which part of Serrekunda is he stayig? I would not prefer it since it is loud, noisy and full of exhaust gases. But Serrekunda is big, far bigger than Banjul, the Capital, so it might be o.k, sepending on the area.
The Gambians are used to tourists, at least in the urban areas, so to be white is also not a problem. But be aware it is a muslimic country. To stay with a man you are not married to might have an impact on your reputation. Please give a thought to the way you dress. Inside the villages or cities is not like being on the beach. So no shorts please, better cover your legs. When entering a house, take off your shoes and great with "Salam aleikum" and shake hands. Some elderly men might refuse because they won't touch another woman than their wife, so don't worry!
People might invite you for food. If they are poor, secretly give a little "fish money" (money for the next day's food) to the housewife. It is also polite when somebody visits you to give hinmsmall money for the fare.
Since I'm not on this site frequently, you can also ask further questions if you like to email@example.com
Otherwise I wish you a pleasant stay!
The currency they use in The Gambia is the Dalasi.
The exchange rates are 35Dalasi for 1Euro.
You’d better change your money at the airport, banks or hotels because at the black market they sometimes try to rip you off.
Banjul was founded by the British in 1816 as a trading post and a base from which to attempt to suppress the slave trade going on in nearby French West Africa. It is located on Saint Mary's Island at the mouth of the Gambia River, and is connected to the mainland by bridges to the south and ferries to the north. The city's original name was Bathurst, after Henry Bathurst, then-Secretary of the British Colonial Office. In 1973, the name was changed to Banjul, which is a corruption of bang julo, the Mandé tribe's words for "fiber." The Mandés gathered a type of fiber that grew on the island for use in making ropes.
Banjul is Gambia's capital and largest city. But with only about 360,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area, it is one of the smallest capital cities in Africa. It therefore lacks many of the attractions of larger, more cosmopolitan cities, and there is little of interest for the traveler. However, it is still worth visiting the capital city to experience Gambian urban life. Most travelers only go to Banjul to take the ferry across the Gambia River on their way to the river's north bank or Senegal.
Favorite thing: (the good points) . its very relaxing . and a good place for winter sun without too much of a long flight . with the gambia people they either love it or hate it . it depends on the kind of person you are.its very dusty and the top end of the hotels are not to the strandards that we are used to here. if you enjoy something different . its is exactly that . but if you enjoy your luxuries it certainly isnt. one thing i would like to point out to people that havnt been there before is this .... its a very poor country and there are quite a lot of scams going on there. particulary if you have a tender heart .you will be taken advantage of , maybe you have heard of "the bumsters" unemployed youths that hang around hassling tourists. in my opinoin these are not the problem . they are very harmless and are just after 50p or £1. the people you have to watch are the hotel workers . tourist taxi drivers etc. they will befriend you suss you out . . suggest buisness deals etc . and fleece you of everything very quickly . there is much rumour . that the gambians are angry with the british . they say that when they gained there independence in 1965 we left them with nothing and so now. they think they are totally justified to be naughty to us . they see it that we owe them finacially . there are some very nice people in the gambia . but unfortunately not around the tourist areas .
out of the tourist areas ,see more than just Senegambia,the main tourist area.this is easier with a good guide,all your read in VT about Bumsters is true they can be non stop pestering and hassle.but they are just trying to earn a living.you soon learn to deal with them.the first day on the beach,our second encounter of the day we booked a trip out with a with a guy who approached us toting for business.9am on the dot he turned up with a taxi,and took us out for the day.All i can say is he was brilliant took gave a great day out full of information and humour .he got us good deals while haggling prices allways tried to keep our money going into local people.he keep the other guides at bay.we hen used him all week,and he never let us down his humour and ability to fix whatever we wanted always impressed us.
His name is OUSMAN and he can be found outside Bijilo Forest Park by the bike rental or just down from there on the beach.
Ousman can be contacted on 002209984010 and email firstname.lastname@example.org phone is best as email is only via internet cafe visited weekly less if busy.mention my name John and Yana
Fondest memory: COLOUR every thing in The Gambia is colourfull the people the birds
NOT A FINISHED PAGE WILL FINISH SOON I HAVE PHONE EMAIL PHOTOS OF OUSMAN IF YOU NEED
You get a better rate in the Gambia for currency rather than travellers cheques. In Feb 2007 I got 51 Dalasi to the £ for cash as against 49 for t. cheques.
You will need a room safe obviously, and you will also get a better rate outside the hotels, but only at designated currency exchange offices. One such place is Barries very close to Sarges hotel in Kololi.
Fondest memory: Visiting a school taking writing materials can be very rewarding
The Gambian women are just beautiful and atleast what I saw, very fine dressed. Traditional clothes are colourful and nicely cut. Meny women use scarf in their head in traditional way.
They and little girls use lot of effort in their hairdos too. Wigs are quite popular also.
Of course I knew that people in Africa carry things on top of the head but really seeing it felt truly exotic. Another thing exotic for me was how women carried their babyes in slings.
One of the four cats of Bakotu gave a birth on the bed in our hotelroom on our last night in The Gambia.
We became friends with te mothercat during our vacation. First thing in the morning it was always behind the door asking for food. In the evening when we were getting ready for going out, it was always keeping us company. Maybe it felt safe to bring the three kids to the world in our room.
One was born before we went out and when we came back there was two more.
On the next day we had to move the mom and the kids to a small sementshelter in a garden. The staff was very helpfull. Biggest worry was that the monkeys of the hotel will kill the kittens. We made some blocks into the doorway to prevent that but..
The staff named the kittens after us. So, if you know how Susu, Pete and Sirkka are doing, please let me know.
Favorite thing: If like me you always take several books with you on your holiday why don't you donate the ones you have read to the Banjul library? On recent trip to banjul I visited the library and was dimayed at the condition of the few books they have to offer, and was only too pleased to give them the books I had brought with me. The library is situated on the outskirts of Banul just 100 metres beyond Arch 22 and down a road on the left. Your books would be greatly apreciated and If the condition of the books they have now are anything to go by they will certainly be well read
From the Gambia to Senegal we crossed the border between Basse Santa Su in the south-east of the Gambia and Velingara in Senegal.
The 25 KM long road between Basse and Velingara is unpaved, dusty and bumpy. The Badiara Senegalese borderpost between those two towns in the middle of nowhere is told to be the most friendliest borderpost entering Senegal.
We arrived in Velingara in Senegal in the late afternoon without CFA, The petrol station didn't take euros and the banks were closed. So it took some time before we had CFAs , could refuel and continue our route.
In the Lower River Division south of the Gambia River with all the mangroves and tidal wetlands we were sometimes wondering, where were we travelling.
Is this tropical Africa or are we back in the flat and green wetlands of the Netherlands ?
In Gambia we saw several times prey birds and vultures along the way to the east. Often the vultures were sitting in the tops of trees, waiting for their meal.
Suddenly we saw also this one, only a few meters from the mainroad, eating a cow or donkey. We couldn't see it properly.
Everywhere in the Gambia we saw many traditional villages. The round huts are made of the local natural materials. So they have mud walls and thatched roofs.
Villages like this are allready constructed for many centuries in the same way and perfectly fit in their natural surroundings.
In African countries I always like to see the creativity of the people by using second hand materials for almost everything, they construct.
In Gambia I saw a lot of doors made of oil drums. This door in Soma looks really nice.
At so many places in the country I saw old car wrecks in the streets. Sometimes these car wrecks looked rather surrealist, almost like modern art.
It looks like nobody cares about it. And I suppose, there doesn't exist an environmental police either.
The Kombo Beach is the only hotel we have been to in The Gambia, we stayed here the first time and...more
well such an extraordinarily well run venue in Gambia. German influence, very efficient. What...more
AU Hwy, Brufut Heights, PO Box 3311, Serekunda, Gambia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples