Video Source: Youtube
Flag Source: CIA World Factbook
Getting In and Around
Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past the date of your departure from Gambia. We recommend that you acquire a visitor’s visa prior to your departure for Gambia. As of July 2010, a five-year visa costs $100. If you do not get your visa prior to your arrival in Gambia, you will have your passport stamped at the airport with a one-, two-, or three-day pass, and you will be required to go to the Gambian Immigration Department to obtain your visa.
You must have a yellow fever vaccination card to enter Gambia. It is also a good idea to keep your airline ticket until you have successfully entered the country.
Gambia’s only airport, Banjul International Airport, is located 23 kilometers outside the country’s capital. A $10 tourist levy charged upon your arrival in Gambia; make sure you have U.S. dollars, British pounds, or euros to pay this fe
e. Car rentals and taxis are available at the airport.
The most common form of local transportation is shared vehicles called bush taxis. These are generally seven-passenger vehicles that operate with a set fare and travel both short and long distances. Make sure you ask about the fare before getting in, and be prepared for multiple stops, as the vehicle will be dropping off and picking up people along the way. There are also four-passenger taxis, usually painted yellow and green, which participate in a shared service for short distances. You can find these taxis parked along the road; they are available for individual hire as well.
The Gambia Tourism Authority licenses tourist taxis, whose sole purpose is to serve visitors to the country. You can find these green cars parked outside most tourist locations, such as resorts and hotels, and they have a published tariff system. Make sure the vehicle has the “tourist taxi” sign on the outside of the car, and check with the driver to ensure that you are being charged the set rate before you depart on your trip.
If you prefer, you may use one of the car rental companies in Gambia. You must have an International Driving Permit to rent any vehicle.
If you have a GSM-enabled phone, you will be able to use it in Gambia’s major cities. Cell phone reception can be spotty, though; your best bet is to buy a local SIM card and rely on that while you’re in the country.
Safety and Security
The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a great deal of information about safety and security in Gambia
. It can’t be repeated often enough: be sensible when you travel. Be alert and aware about your surroundings.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index
, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to South Africa or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.