The country Gambia
Gambia (official: Republic of The Gambia) lies in the extreme West part of Africa to the Atlantic ocean. Gambia is with a surface of 11,295 Km2 the smallest country in Africa. Gambia measure from the East to the West approximately 320 km. From the North to the South the wide varies from 20 km up to 50 km. Gambia is surrounded on three sides by Senegal. The landscape is slightly sloping with some hills. The highest point amounts to approximately 40 meters, as a result of which Gambia is with that still flatter than Belgium. The good navigable Gambia River flows the complete year straight through the country. Along the coast are a lot of sand beaches. The delta of Gambia River is rather swampy with a lots of mangrove plants. The North of Gambia has a savanna landscape with long grasses, large shrubs and a few trees. At the South of the Gambia river lies bunch savanna, with lot of grass and trees.


Climate
Gambia has a subtropical climate with dry and a whet season. The dry season lasts to approximately the middle of October up to approximately the middle of June. It frequently occurs that during this dry period no single drop of rain falls. During the month March up to May the sun shines the most heavy, with an average of 10 hours sunshine per day. The Northeast wind (Harmattan) blows during those months from the Sahara and can bring instead of rain also a lot of dessert sand. At the end of dry season the temperature can rise up to 40°C. By this temperature there are regularly tornados or land spouts, which are called Tonkolong. The air humidity can decrease in this period up to 25%. The wet period lasts to approximately the middle June up to the middle of October. The wettest months are July, August and September. The half of all rain falls in August. Mostly the rain showers falls at night and in the morning. However, it never rains more then twelve days per month during this period. In the capital Banjul, located to the coast, the annual rainfall is approximately 1400 mm. In Georgetown, located in the inland, it rains approximately 1050 mm rain per year. The highest air humidity, up to 95%, is measured in August. The water temperature of the Atlantic Ocean varies between 20°C and 27°C.


Useful tips...
The capital of Gambia is Banjul and the location of the airport. The official language is English. A traditional drink is called Tenkuolo, a palm wine. Jollof-rice or Benachin are mostly eaten and is made of rice with fresh vegetables and several type flesh and tomatoes. Wooden made souvenirs are the most popular. The national currency in Gambia is the Dalasi. Pay attention on the fact that many shops don’t accept credit cards. We advise the use of cash money to avoid problems with payments. Except in restaurants and hypermarkets, bargain is advised. Also consult the nearest tropical institute for up-to-date information on vaccinations and other precaution measures for a healthy visit to this marvelous country.


Timezone
In Gambia the time zone is exactly GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). They don’t use summertime.

Visa
You must be in the possession of a travel passport that is minimum still valid 6 months after re-entry. When you possess a European passport you need no visa if you stay no longer than 28 days. For further information you can take contact on the Gambian embassy.

Vaccinations
For a holiday visit to Gambia a vaccination is not required. However, vaccinations against yellow fever and DTP are strongly advised. For a visit to Senegal it is obliges to have different vaccinations. Also medication against malaria is strongly recommended. Ask you’re nearest tropical institute for there recommendation.





1. King Kombo, alcohol brewery and liquor factory
An excursion which is very nice and that you can make individually, and not need to be depend on others. You can make a visit to the alcohol brewery and liquor factory, and will find out the fame of the ‘jungle juice, the typical well-known palm wine. This excursion puts you in contact with a real Dutch-speaking brewer. The fruit plantation, source of all pleasure, lies in the heart of the province Kombo. A quiet area, where approximately six years ago, in the middle of the bush, the Belgian pioneer Emile Arron established him selves. On the tour you can ask any question and taste the final results of all efforts on one of the bantaba's within the complex. If the drinks please you, you can buy them and have immediately a nice present for the friends or family at home. Of course you can buy this liquor for yourself and enjoy later of the supreme quality drink brewed on this location. The plantation is open from Monday up to Saturday between 3 pm and 5 pm. If you like, just give them a phone call to 9922428 and you will be picked up at your hotel and brought back after the visit. Please visit their website for more information: King Kombo


2. De capital Banjul
Banjul is the official capital of Gambia. Serrekunda is the largest city of Gambia, and a lot more active as Banjul. However you should consider a visit to the charming capital city, to see the curiosities like Albert market and the crowdie harbor, departures place of the ferry. The airport is also one of the emergency landing strips of the NASA, in case a shuttle flight needs to bee diverted. If you drive into Banjul, you see immediately the impressive Arch 22. The gate is 35 meters tall and the centre of an open square. It houses a textile museum. Inside you have a beautiful view unto the city, the Gambia-River and the Atlantic Ocean. On the square in front of the arc stands a statue of the Unknown Soldier, who carries a baby.


3. Serekunda Market
Serekunda Market is really an adventure. Here you can buy almost everything. Rolex Watches (real or fake), used jerry cans, slippers, goats, you name it. On this market the local people buy their merchandises. The nicest part of the visit is to observe the local people and see them negotiating with use of their hands making all kinds of movements. Don’t be surprised when you see the Gambians talking to each other in a busy way about something they want to sell or buy or if someone put his goat in a cab a take of.


4. Lamin Lodge
Hide between the mangrove bunches lies the adventurous Lamin Lodge. It is made completely of Mangrove wood. This gives Lamin Lodge the typical look of an enormous tree house. In fact these lodge is an oyster farm, but because the beauty of the building, they have established here a lodge where you can with eat and drink deliciously. The hardened path to Lamin Lodge has been made of pulverized oyster shells, which lie also in large mounts beside the path. Because the oysters fix themselves to the roots of the Mangroves, the women will pull almost daily the oysters of the roots. The oysters are eaten cooked and of the shells are used to made ways. From the Lamin Lodge you can make fishing trips, bird observation trips or simply nicely sail around in a small boat.


5. Paradise Beach
On this beach relaxation rules and you will forget all your troubles. Lain in this wonderful bay you can enjoy your sunbathe in the white sand, have lunch or diner in the beach bar or simply walk along the sea and look a the waves or the palm trees. The exotic shells (*) you find on the beach are used by the Gambian women to made beautiful bracelets and neck collars. You wont find no ‘hustlers’ over here and have plenty of time to make a chat with the local people. If the sea breeze isn’t enough to cool you down, you can seat yourself under sheers parasols or take a shower under the many self-made recycled oil barrels. Of course you can take also a dive in the ocean, but keep in mind that this waters have a strong flow under need the surface you better don’t go to far into the sea. If you love to eat fish, you can order your preferred kind in one of the many establishments, where they sell daily fresh catches species. (*) Be sure you don’t take these shells at home as a souvenir, because some species are protected and forbidden to carried out thru customs.


6.Tanji Fishing Village
The fisherman village Tanji is very nice to visit, especially in the afternoon. On that part of the day all fishermen return with their captured fish (sharks, turtles, barracudas, etc.) and the their women come to help them. The fish is immediately smoked on site, and as a result of this a heavy fragrance of smoked fish hangs in the complete village. With the undergoing sun, the smoke of the fish, the pirogues (canoes) on the beach and the splendid traditional clothing of the women, you have been insured of making beautiful photographs. The collection of thousands refrigerators on the beach, which are not electrically connected and where the fish is stored temporarily, makes you really laughing.


7. Camel Safari in Tanji


8. Kachikally Holy Crocodile Pool

The Holy Crocodiles Pool in Bakau is really a must. According to old-animistic use this pool should have supernatural healing strength, particularly in case of fertility. Still a lot of women come to this place to bade in the water and hope to be good fertile. Many other old rituals are also carried out at this pool. The Kachikally Pool is a wonderful place and many people say they are able to feel the spirituality on this location. In the pool live around 80 crocodiles, which you can touch and caress. Nobody knows the reason for this strange behavior of the reptiles. Some say it’s because they are holy animals, others think it’s due their way of feeding. There are several of these pools in Gambia (with or without crocodiles), but the pool in Bakau is the most known tourist area.


9. Makasutu Culture Forest
In this splendid ecological forest you can walk for hours and enjoy of the nature. Makasutu Culture Forest is a good example that tourism and environmental protection can go hand in hand. During the walking you will be surprised of the beautiful colors, the large butterflies which land before your feet and the rich variation of species of tropical birds you can see in this forest. You can learn to climb a palm tree in the way the local people does this for centuries. Or you can taste the Zum-Zum (alcohol concerning palm wine), also known as a jungle juice. Be careful no to drink too much of it, or it can bee you’re gone see pink elephants! You also will find a lot of baboons in Makasutu forest. A canoe trip trough the mangrove bush is recommended, and conducts you along long mangrove roots and riverbanks with lots of crabs and other river occupants. At the end of your visit you can drink something or eat a little snack in the splendid Lounge of Makasutu just outside the forest, and in the mean time visit a traditional dancing and djembe drum show.


10. Bijilo Monkey Forrest
At five minutes walking distance from the Senegambia tourist area lays Bijilo Monkey Forest. Here you can see several monkeys and wonderful birds, such as the rhinoceros bird. You can make this trip very easy on your own and don’t need a guide. On you’re way towards the forest, you probably will become addressed by `bumpsters’, which will you try to sell peanuts. But at the entrance of the park are plates hanging that warns you it’s absolutely forbidden to feed the monkeys. In the park you must engage a park ranger, who will ask you if you have bought peanuts, because it is really not permitted. Once in the park the same Ranger will explain you that the monkeys do not approach because you have bought no peanuts and he will advise you to do this next time you come again?!? Strange, isn’t? Beside monkeys you find also enormously large termite hills in the park and in these hills also frequently live snakes, because it is nice cold within. So don’t climb on such hill to make a nice photograph, because you can disturb a sleeping snake and been bitten before you know it. If you pay a visit to Bijilo in the rainy season, you can also see enormous spiders hanging in their web. There is in the park a splendid viewpoint on the ocean and a little further a meadow where you see many monkeys with their baby's from nearby. This place is near by the apartments, so therefore no taxi necessary.


11. Bakau
Bakau is a relative small place with less than 30,000 inhabitants. The most important place is the Independence Stadium, which officially offers place to more than 28,000 persons. Although sometimes at important games are more than 40,000 persons inside. Bakau lies superb offers from his highest point a fantastic view on the Atlantic Ocean. The ministry of agriculture has arranged a botanic garden for scientific research on the Atlantic Road between Bakau and cape Point. This place is called Kachikally Crocodile Pool. The tourist market in Bakau is extremely suitable for souvenirs. In the Batik Factory in Bakau made the most beautiful and colorful depressed clothing and curtains. This factory lies at the end of the New Town Road. It is open from Mon./Fri. 9 am- 6 pm. (Sat. 9 am - 5 pm).


12. Brikama
Brikama have been extremely confessed because of the divergent types of wooden cutting art. On the Market of Brikama this cutting art is exclusively sold. The Gambians are really professionals in this art, as you can see for yourself when they are at work on this market, frequently using no more than a little knife and some barn paper. In Brikama many children offers you a ticket with their name and address, in the hope you ever will send them a postcard or a letter of you. A visit to the market will take some time, so you better as the taxi-driver to accompany you. Normally it costs 20 Dalasi per stationary hour for cab, but you have to bargain up to 1/3 or 1/2 of the price. The tourist market in Brikama is extremely suitable for souvenirs. Here you can buy cute djembe's, but ask the driver to take you to Manjai to visit the djembé factory. A must!


13. Abuko Park
The Abuko Nature Reserve is a nice nature park, where you believe to be in the reel jungle. Here you will find only a few animals like some (old) lions, a couple of monkeys, some turtles and few birds. It’s especially the walking pad what makes the park attractive. We notice that the monkeys are feed a lot of beans, while the local Gambian people almost never eat these vegetables for themselves.


The cattle market lies on the road between Abuko and Serrekunda. A visit to the cattle market is quit an adventure. There is a trade of sheep, ewes, chickens but also cows. Beside the market is a slaughterhouse, with directly behind it a place where the corpses were laid down. Around the market you will see a lot of vultures, waiting for the right moment to grab a delicious bit of flesh.

14. The Reptile Farm
On the road towards Paradise Beach lies The Reptile Farm. Even if you are a real hero or afraid of snakes and other reptiles, you must have visit this place. This farm is made by a Frenchman, together with his Senegal wife and they live here with their two daughters. This farm houses several poison and stranglesnakes, but also chameleons, lizards, turtles, monkeys and vultures. They can be observed from close range and even be hold in your hands. If you are afraid, one of the little daughters will show you how to hold such animal. She grabs a python like others girls play with their doll.






15. Fort James on James Island
James Island is a very impressive island to visit.
this place is very famous because og the serail "ROOTS", about the slavery in the year 1860.


The island lies in the Gambia River, about 40 km of Banjul. At the time of slavery the island was used as a collection place for the slaves who been caught on the African mainland. The slaves were hold on the island for a number of weeks to prepare them to the large travel overseas to several plantations in the United States, the Antilles, Suriname, etc. This preparation happened by in a very inhuman manner to make the slaves mentally and physical weak, to avoid insurrection on board of the ships while sailing towards their destination. The ruin of the Fort James, built by the English, stands still on the island and forms a silent witness of the terrible things that has found place there. In the village Juffureh, on the mainland at the jetties for the pirogues (canoes) towards James Island, a museum is build with objects, tales and paintings from the slavery time. Certainly a visit worth it!


16. Tendaba Camp
Tendaba Camp lies approximately at 6 hours drive from the Senegambia area. The jeep conducts you along small villages with small huts and rise fields where the woman work very hard. You will get a painful arm of swaying to the population, but this inconvenience fades if you see the smiling faces of the people. This safari is well to do, even if you’re not an experience traveler. The motto of the camp Tendaba is:

"One million mosquito's can not be wrong.....Tendaba Camp is fabulous!"

And indeed, the camp is marvelous but also terribly forgiven from mosquito’s (therefore don’t forget a product to protect you against these insects). The quarters in the camp are simple round huts (provided of klamboes and shower) in the typical African style and completely made of material from the bush. There are also a swimming pool and a ritchful bar where you can deliciously cool down after the dusty ride. The camp has aggregate electricity, but at night this is turned of, so takes along a pocket lamp on this safari. From Tendaba you can undertake several excursions: paddle towards the river delta by a canoe, make more intensive excursions by jeep in the bush. Bushpigs (a very hairy member of the pig family that lives in forest thickets) are served at night in the covered restaurant that looks out on the river. If you prefer something else to eat, there’s always the menu that offers a wide range of delicious food. Inside Tendaba Camp is also a garden with a few lazy crocodiles and large wooden sculptures. Spending the night in the camp gives you really the feeling staying in the African bush. Going more further towards Georgetown is also a complete adventure. If you travel for a day longer, you arrive in Bird Safari Park. Any question and more information concerning this trip of a few days, you can at our watchman Mussa.


17. Barra

With use of the ferry from Banjul to Barra, you can visit Fort Bullen. From Barra you can take a ride towards Senegal. A tip: make a trip towards Sakone (40 km) of Mbour (just a little further behind Kaolack).