What should I take?
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The main factor in deciding what to pack is the heat. Take shorts and/or cotton trousers, and light cotton tops. Add a thin cardigan or similar for the cooler evenings and early morning starts. You'll also want swimwear and some sort of cover-up to wear when going from pool to restaurant. But although The Gambia is a Muslim country it is very liberal and there is no need to be very covered up - shorts and t-shirts are acceptable for both men and women wherever you go. If you’re planning to spend any time inland make sure you have long trousers and long-sleeve shirts for early mornings and evenings – the former because it can be cool, and the latter because of mosquitoes. You'll also want a hat for sun protection, especially if you're planning to do any sightseeing trips and are more likely to be out in the hottest parts of the day.
As to footwear, take trainers or similar for excursions, flip flops for the hotel pool and maybe something smarter for the evenings, depending on where you are staying.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take suntan lotion, insect repellent and cream for when you get the occasional bite despite those precautions. And you must have protection against malaria which is a real risk here. Don't just rely on the repellent and the mosquito nets provided in all reasonable hotels.
Also bring all prescription medicines, naturally, and any preferred brands of over the counter medication and toiletries. You can buy some things here but you may not recognise the brand name or find it as good as your regular favourite.
Miscellaneous: A pair of binoculars could be useful if you plan on doing any of the many bird-watching trips on offer, or even if you have just a casual interest in the extensive bird life here. Also a bird identification book if you have one.
Bags packed, let’s fly to Banjul!
Generic of MALARONE available
Luggage and bags: Light and though. If you intend to travel use a small bagpack which will also be your hand bag and your beach bag. Do not take your best sansonite! Put enough survival clothes in it when travelling (1 swimming costume, 1/2 tshirst, 1 dress or pair of trousers, bermuda, underwears and socks. 1 pair of plastic shoes for the beach etc) in case your suitcase is lost by the company.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take clothes that you can leave or spoil with no regrets. Do not forget the soil is red and so is the dust... But do have also nice tops for evenings. Gambian like to dress up. Adapt yourself to your surrounding. If you stay in a nice hotel and have dinner there you can wear your high heels. Otherwise better not bother to carry them. Remember not to offend people and do not wear short shorts or show your belly. Carry some long sleeve shirt with you in case of need. It will also protect you from the sun!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Leave half empty bottles but make sure before that the hotel allows people to get them and that they are not going to get problems or that it is not going to go to someone else. If you have paracetamol you can leave it too. Women if you do not need your tampoons while travelling back leave them.
Photo Equipment: Unless professionnal use, do not come with sofisticated material. Think of a pair of binoculars. Even if you think you are not interested in bird watching you might like it.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Wear shoes on the beach (even when swimming). plastic swimming pool shoes or beach plastic sandals are ideal but you can also wear anything light with a sole... Do not go on the beach with valuable things. Others: Good sunglasses, hat, high protection suncream. Even if you are not camping bring a torch as there are no roads lights everywhere and switch off early in the evening.
Miscellaneous: Malarone is the easiest to use anti malaria tablets (1 day before and 7 days after departure) and generally has no side effects. It is a bit expensive, but there is a generic which costs around 1 pnd less per tablet. It is important to take a treatment againt paludism and to buy it before departure as you never know what you will find at destination (fakes possible). Use repellent as it will protect you from others possible tropical illnesses carried by mosquitos (dengue fever).Related to:
- Women's Travel
Maleria is a serious illness!!
Luggage and bags: There are plenty of porters at Banjul airport they will get you through Customs as quick as possible for a tip of £1 per case well worth it! Cases are ex-rayed by customs which is not really a issue for most people, but for us we usually carrying items such as learning aids for schools, which quite often means we have CD players, old mobiles phones etc, running the gaultlet each time we visit as they expect to collect duty on already high taxed goods that we have bought or had donated in the UK so it's haggle, barter or just plead or you may lose an item or two.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: November, December is humid so light clothing, light wieght jacket for evening time. Good comfortable trainers/sandals. Beware if you go off the beaten track as shoes get ruined with the sand. Beware on the beach the sand can be very hot, on my last visit it melted the glue on my new sandals!!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A good medicine kit is essential, take pills for headache and bad stomachs as you never know when these things can hit you, usually when the pharmacy is closed you can bet. blister plasters are a great invention as they don't fall of until the blister healed. Anti malaria tablets, some have side effects some don't. Malarone although expensive have the least side effects ask your doctor they will advise the best ones for you, once you got your prescription Shop around for the best deal as your local chemist can be double the price of the larger supermarket chemist!!!
Photo Equipment: I wouldn't take expensive equipment
Miscellaneous: The locals appreciate anything at all, if you leaving your toiletries do try to leave a note saying what you have left, and to whom they are for most hotel are staff are stopped by hotel security this saves any hassle for the person you have gifted them too. Pick pockets and theft is world wide issue The Gambia is no exception especially in the crowded places, don't flash the cash try to keep small amounts of money in different pockets simply don't put temptation there in the first place!!
Tampons are hard to find!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I would recommend taking everything you need with you. Toiletries are moere expensive than in the UK and choices may be limited. With regards to sanitary products definitely DO NOT leave that to chance as you will not find tampons and any sanitary towels you find will be like nappies.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Work Abroad
- Study Abroad
Luggage and bags: let it be some with a key!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: shoes to walk in, light long shirts and trousers. Make sure to take clothes along you can leave for friendly people, they will apprteciate it
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: anti-mosquito-lotion for the skin. Leave your lotion and shampoo there! Likewise the rest of your malaria tablets, paracetamol
Miscellaneous: green tea as a small gift is always welcome. Otherwise bags of rice or sugar. Torches are always needed. And candles, current is hardly steady!
Clothes for charity
Luggage and bags: Most of the population in the Gambia is very poor. All gifts are highly appreciated. Please take as much pens and paper, toys and used clothes as ever you can with you. Your airline company may allow one extra luggage for charity purposes if you ask them beforehand. Dont give the stuff away just there on the streets. That is one way to teach bad manors for children and there will always be someone left without. You will find a suitable situation and place.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you ask around people seem to bee more than happy to give some clothes away for a good cost. The picture of the girl is taken on the next day that my mom gave her this pink shirt.
Miscellaneous: You may want to take a flashlight with you. There are hardly any streetlights. Power cuts are also common.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Women's Travel
Insect repellant... and lots of it
Luggage and bags: something light and easy to carry round for day trips out
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: flip flops are usually fine, i never wear anything else. All standard garments you'd associate with a holiday where temperatures are averaging 30C.
Some thin full length trousers and a light top covering your arms are perfect at dawn and dusk when insect bites are frequent
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: anti malarial tablets are a must and plenty of insect repellent especially if you happen to be travelling between may and october as this is the rainy season and there are mosquitos a plenty!
Lots of sun cream!
Miscellaneous: Not really necessary but for travellers who have real issues with the heat a small hand held fan is always nice for those ocassions when you're just too hot!
Quick list of things I'll take next time
Miscellaneous: Strong sun cream, it really is very hot.
Good tummy-bug medicine as almost everyone caught Banjul Belly.
Football shirts - either old ones of yours or cheap ones you can find in sports stores. You can swap these for anything.
Mosquito Repellent, Books, Camera, Visa
Luggage and bags: Bring nothing nice.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In the long dry season (November to May), temperatures average 70-80F and the humidity is 30-60%. Summer temperatures range between 80-90F and the humidity is high.
The rains begin in June and continue to October.
Throughout the year, temperatures tend to drop substantially in the evenings.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Malaria is present throughout the country, although the risk is essentially limited to travel between June and December -- the wettest months.
It is advisable to take anti-malarial prophylactics and use insect repellent on all exposed skin!!!
Photo Equipment: Telphoto lenses are a must if you hope to capture some footage of the many terrific bird species.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Not any more for me. At this point, just traveling in countries like this is enciting enough. I don't need to do the backpack and camping to make it a thrill. Indeed, many of the better hotels can help you achieve that sensation of camping out.
Miscellaneous: Roots, Alex Haley The story of Kunte Kinte, an African man who is stolen from his African tribe in Ghana and made a slave in the 'new world'. The book was the subject of a poular 1970s television drama, and an annual Roots festival takes place in the village of Jufureh.
P.S. United States citizens need a visa!! Get one at your local consulate or prpare to sit at the very dusty border.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: There is a growing risk that people who travel to tropical and sub-tropical regions may contract malaria. At the same time, malaria prevention and treatment is becoming increasingly complicated by developing resistance. LARIAM is a widely used prescription medication that is highly effective at preventing and treating malaria. Since 1985 more than 25 million travelers worldwide have used LARIAM.
But when you react bad on this medicine, you should contact a doctor and consider to change it.
Take items that you can leave behind
Luggage and bags: Light weight and old luggage as everything gets very dusty. Small lightweight rucksack for daily use.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's best to take as many items as you can that you don't want to return with. My daughter takes and wears items getting too small and returns with an empty suitcase!! Towels not really essential as a sarong makes a light weight alternative.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: A decent 1st Aid kit advisable, be happy to leave it behind as most Gambians are grateful for all received.
Take malaria preventatives and use them, there is100% increase in malaria cases in the U.K.
Photo Equipment: Take everything you will require, you can get stuff there but everything takes a long time to find.
Many people will ask you to take their photo as to have a photo taken in The Gambia is expensive.Try to get an address to send the photo's to or take them back next time.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: When there in October we got off the plane to a temperature of 38C.
At this time of year you need nothing extra for the evening as still very hot. Do where cover up clothes and repellent .
Miscellaneous: Gifts for oraganisations are always gratefully received. If unsure where to give them go to The Gambia Tourist Support Restaurant in Kololi and let them deal with it. Look at ther web site Gambia Tourist Support, they are now a registered charity.
Your unwanted items will find a welcoming home
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you have space for your old shoes, you'll find someone with your shoe size!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Take some extra shampoo and leave it with the people, it's an expensive product for them. Their are such a stylish people that they love to look sharp.
Photo Equipment: Leave your old camera, someone will appreciate it. Remember you must have once thought it pretty cool yourself.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you can afford it leave some sports equipment, a new football would mean a lot to a community.
Miscellaneous: What you can pack are all those music cassettes that you've grown out of, original tapes are like gold as most music consists of pirate copies. They are easy to carry around, make a great tip to your taxi driver, and keep the bumsters happy too. Paper is in critical shortage so children's books and comics make an excellent gift. We took some paints and brushes, our daughter Esme bartered two paint sets for a rather fine drum with Peter a rasta painter. Fine sable brushes are much prized but all those clothes your children have grown out of are guaranteed a new, happy owner. There is an amazing shortage of toys, we came across one little boy whose prize possession was a discarded teddy bear's head on a stick, it was very poignant.
Malaria and mosquito
Luggage and bags: light clothing
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Always wear shoes or sandals, even when you go into the Altantic. This is very important as you can get very sick by not doing so (has to do with infections)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Use an anti malaria product (before leaving home).!!!!!!
Photo Equipment: digital camera is the best. Beware of the dust. Put your camera in a plastic bag.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Beaches are great. Beware of the tides. It comes in rather fast and can cut you of the land.Related to:
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Don't forget your swimming suit, light summer clothes, walking shoes, sandals.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Don't forget to take your malaria pills! With 'lariam' you start 14 days before you leave. Take one pill by week and always on the same day. Go further to take the malaria pills until 14 days after your come back. Also necessary : sunmilk because it can be very hot.
Photo Equipment: Take enough films with you for photographing this beautiful country and their friendly people !
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Basic first aid equipment including sticking plaster, antiseptic cream, cotton wool,headache tablets, tampons, deodorants etc need to be packed.
Miscellaneous: It is best to bring everything you think you might need with you and not rely on buying it there, even if it is available it will be more expensive than at home.Take little gifts for the children, items which in the developed world might be considered too petty to give are often much prized.
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