The only reason we came to The Gambia is because of the great weather in December (we were there in 2009). And it stayed the only reason one should ever have to go there. As soon as we left the resort, close to the beach, one person after the other comes at you, wanting to be your friend (later asking for money), sell you something, offering trips, giving you their stories of hardship and aiming for (financial) sympathy, and such. We were advised to stay off the beach after dark, as people tend to get robbed there, not to walk to and from the beach alone when the sun has went under, and to keep a good eye out for pick pocketing (from which others from our group, not so lucky, suffered). We saw big fat ugly white guys taking young black women to their room (in the resort no less!), and we saw really old white women spending time (even marriage parades in the street) with handsome black guys. In the streets, out in the open, you will hardly have any time by yourself. You can fend them off easily (´no thanks´) and they are not that persistant, but one after the other will come and will try their luck.
Next to that...During our 8 day stay the resort managed to run out of many things, at different times; No more plates for breakfast, no more bottles of beer, no more money to change, no more power(!), no more water, no more hot water, etc. It is Africa, I know, and you should take that in mind when booking there... but for me, I would rather turn up the heating at home in stead of venturing out there again.
We made the Banjul-Barra ferry crossing four times in total. Three times were completely trouble free but once we attempted to make the crossing on the first ferry of the morning of Milad an-Nabi and it was chaos! This particular crossing was part of a group tour to Janjang Burreh. We started our journey as a group of thirteen, but we became twelve when one of our group had his passport, camera and credit cards taken while trying to push through the mob who were desperately trying to get past the guard manning the gate that blocked the way to the ferry - and the only route to North Senegal. Jonathan caught a man with his hand in his pocket looking for dalasi but luckily he had none in that pocket.
Every time we crossed it was busy, but this particular time was crazy. I helped two women up who fell in separate incidents, their suitcases and bundles falling from their heads into the crowd. We were thankful that neither woman was carrying a baby on her back, as so many mothers were.
Please make sure that any tour operator you do use has a valid operator licence as your insurance company will not pay out in the event of an incident which requires you to claim for lost property or medical etc etc.
the prostitutes in the gambia all look very stunning, but do't get gaught up in their trap or business, some will even pick pocket you if they want to!
the drugs in the Gambia is mainly the majuana, cannabis, da herb, da ganja, da weed, whetever you want to call it. As i hope you are all sensibly, you probably won't buy it anyway. some dude tried to sell my heroin! that just shows how bad the drugs are in this country, but don't get put off this great country