The Gambia is a country located in West Africa and at the same time, it is the smallest country on the continent of Africa.
It has a short North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west and is surrounded by Senegal so that it is almost an enclave.
The country occupies the navigable length of the Gambia River valley and the hills surrounding it.
Apart from adding the “The” to its own name (it is short for The Republic of Gambia), they also call themselves “The Smiling Coast of Africa”, alluding to their cultural diversity, developed tourism and safety for visitors.
And to be fair, for an African country, The Gambia is mainly safe to travel to and your trip should be trouble-free.
Warnings & Dangers in Gambia
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Gambia is, for the most part, a safe country to visit. However it does have a rather high crime rate, though it's mainly ridden with petty street crime. You should be vigilant and take all possible precaution measures in order to minimize the risk of getting stolen from.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation in Gambia is not particularly reliable but you can always use a shared taxi if there's extra room. Always negotiate every ride before entering the vehicle. Watch out in public transport as it is likely there are thieves roaming around.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There is an extreme threat of petty crime. Pickpockets are an everyday occurrence, so you should be extremely careful when handling your valuables and never carry your money in a purse or a pocket. Never carry all your money in the same place, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Be wary of young men called "bumsters", since they will offer anything they can in order to get some money from you.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
During the year's rainy season (June to October), there has been severe flooding and some winstorms.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Muggings, armed robberies and other types of assault, are on the increase in Gambia, but still not a major threat. Be extremely careful when handling money and around ATMs. These are often the target for muggings and robberies. Always get a taxi to and from bars at night, never walk the streets after dark. African cities in general are not safe for tourists at night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There haven't been any terrorist attacks recently in Gambia, but they shouldn't be ruled out. Stay away from large gatherings and avoid possible protests. Always follow the instructions of security personnel.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
The risk of getting scammed is extreme in Gambia. There is a number of scams performed on tourists, such as getting your passport stolen at the airport by people posing as airport officials, or getting scammed by a bumster - who may trick you into thinking they want to help you, when their only goal is getting some of your money.Another scam exists in which marijuana is offered to tourists only to find police waiting to extort money from you as a bribe.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Gambia is relatively safe for solo women travelers. Just use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid wearing purses and do not walk alone or ride in taxis at night.
So... How Safe Is Gambia Really?
Generally speaking, traveling throughout the country Gambia is trouble-free.
However, like anywhere else, travelers should use their common sense, apply the basic precaution measures, and be vigilant of any potential threats to their safety and security.
You are unlikely to encounter violent crime incidents, and the most common threats in The Gambia are a petty street crime such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft.
It is most commonly performed in crowded market areas, public transport, taxis, and isolated beaches.
Unfortunately, tourists are increasingly being targeted by thieves so never leave your luggage or valuables in plain sight.
However, the most irritating issue for tourists in The Gambia are the so-called ‘Bumsters’.
These are young men who rely on scamming tourists instead of finding a real job, so this is basically their profession.
They approach tourists offering help: either romantic, tourist, or social, they will offer basically anything they can do to get some money.
Bumsters often target women, using romance with them, because they are hoping to either gain some money from them or to depart The Gambia through marrying someone from the west.
Keep in mind that LGBT activities are illegal in the Gambia, so watch out for people on the street telling the authorities where your hotel is.
How Does Gambia Compare?
- Visas - For visits lasting less than a month, you don’t need a visa to enter The Gambia. British nationals are given a 28 day stamp in their passports upon arrival. It is possible, however, to get further 28-day extensions from the Immigration Office. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Gambian dalasi is the official currency in Gambia. Be extremely careful when handling and carrying money or near ATMs.
- Weather - The Gambia has a subtropical climate with very distinct dry and rainy seasons. From November to mid-May there is constant dry weather, with temperatures reaching as low as 16 °C, while from June to October it's mostly rainy season.
- Airports - Banjul International Airport, sometimes also known as Yundum International is the international airport of Banjul, capital of the Gambia, constructed during World War II.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Gambia, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Gambia Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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27 Reviews on Gambia
I love Gambia. I’m 40y/o American female. I find ppl to be nice and it’s easy to get around. It’s true re: bumsters. They pledge their allegiance in love or other things to try to reel u in, but once u can see that it’s super easy to dismiss them. I have made some great friendships with Gambians.
@Monica how exactly do you “dismiss” them ? Calling police extracting a gun or a rifle ?
Subtropical? The Gambia is definitely tropical. That can be seen by the stable temperatures, being in their mid 20’s all year round, and the presence of coconut trees – these do not grow outside of the tropics.
Yes, Greece is subtropical. Gambia, being at the 13-th parallel, may actually be called subequatorial, but definitely not subtropical.
Gambia is a lovely place.
Gambia is lovely place to visit lots to see and do. Yes there are Bumsters but to say they just don’t want to work is not entiley true as work is not easy to find in the country and even trades people find it hard to make a living. So people see the tourist season easier to make money sometimes not that honestly so keep your wits about you.
Its fine. Extremely poor
Gambia is a easy place to navigate. Ive been all throughout the country. From Pirang to Sittunuku, Westfield to Tanji, never any problems. Yes, the airport is hectic but nobody will hurt you. Ive flown in from Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon. If you need anymore info email me at ddagencylvatgmail.
Whats up Dwight …your email isn’t working
You Should Go To Gambia It Is Safe
I WILL LOVE TO GO THERE, ONE DAY BUT ANYWAY HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO THERE….AM FROM CHICAGO IL
You’re welcome 🇬🇲
Gambia is safe but security crime and hazard theft is rare in Gambia.
The influx of Americans is making Gambia unsafe for white people
What are hotels like? Restaurants? Things to do?
The Gambia is a country filled with pickpockets and men trying to date middle aged tourists for nothing but visas had 3 people try and pickpocket me when I’m there. Funny enough when I started roaming with protection they seemed to stop. Go hear at your own risk
Very recently, your school embarked on a tour of one of the historical sites in the Gambia. Write about the journey, the site visited and state your observations
Getting dangerous Nov 21
Nov 2021 Kololi. just been assaulted and stabbed, in an attempted bag snatching. Police not interested in any investigation. Just wanting money. Ppl not willing to say,” just many foreigners”
This is the North Korea of Western Africa. I read about a massacre in Banjul. It seemed strict.
I really wanna visit….. how is the food there, and are they friendly to black Americans?
Very safe for black Americans, just don’t brag or show off about what you have , how much you earn back home in the states. Apply common sense and you will enjoy your trip. I’m emigrating there in June 2022 I’ve travelled to a number of west African countries Gambia by far is ver safe . Just be wise.
I’ve met someone online. We’ve been hitting it off. So far I really like him. The comments about men romancing women is alarming. He’s seems genuine, so far very consistent. Should I worry?
Yes you should worry, don’t get involved, no good will come of it
Hello, did you move to Gambia, I’m interested in knowing about the place!
One stop destination for birdwatching
Warm and humid weather all year long, not my cup of tea but I wanted to check this off my bucket list. Everyone recommended Gambia for birdwatching so I decided to try it out; amazing diversity and the people were so very helpful. You could be stopped by security forces at any time in order to inspect your IDs. We had no trouble there and we were quite a loud group.
I will visit in December. It will be my tenth time there over the past fourteen years. Of course we are all potential targets in many countries but experience teaches caution. If we get scammed then it makes us wary for next time. I don’t carry visible wads of cash and remember that you get wads of dalasi even if changing twenty pounds. I ask for smaller notes to avoid waiting for change that might not come. I also do not flaunt gold jewellery or costly phones not wise! Always ask the fare before getting in to a taxi and check to see if menu prices are in dalasi or euros! It’s common sense not to trust strangers upon first meeting them. Do not reveal your name and hotel! Do read up on common scams! If you invite a new friend to accompany you do insist he or she come alone or else you may be billed for the drinks of all present! If you are rich it won’t matter but I’m a single mum on a budget! My friend got bamboozled when the entire family of a friend turned up about twelve guests at Ali Babas awaiting food. She was embarrassed but had to explain she could not afford to pay for them before they had a chance to order! Speak up and explain before problems occur! Do not run up tabs in hotels but pay as you go. I know of even guests popping drinks on others tabs and many final bills being wrong as folk scramble for coaches not ideal!
Just came back, be careful, take this website advise. I got mugged for the first time after multiple visits here, it is definitely less safe than 10 years ago. I will never walk alone after dark.