Situated in Africa, The Gambia is highlighted as a wildlife haven where locals and tourists alike have the privilege to get close to nature and its inhabitants. Africa landscapes and laid-back luxury can be expected in the country, as well as historical stations that were used during the slaving period. The community of Gambia already offers a wide variety of package tours for guests, whether they want to laze around in star- studded Eco resorts or dare the lush forests and wetlands of adventure. The network of guides in the area is excellent so you won’t have trouble exploring the nooks and cranny of the smallest country in Africa.
Important and Interesting Facts about Gambia
- It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.
- The country is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation’s namesake, which flows through the country’s centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Gambia has a tropical climate. There is a hot and rainy season, normally from June until November, but from then until May there are cooler temperatures with less precipitation.
- The Gambia’s beaches invite visitors to laze and linger on package tours, but there’s more than sun and surf. Fishing villages are nature reserves are within easy reach of the clamorous Atlantic resorts, ecolodges and small wildlife parks dot the inland, and it’s a bird lovers’
- The Gambia has no important mineral or other natural resources and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood.
- The main crop that is cultivated in this country is peanuts. Even though the country exports peanuts, it still has to depend on foreign aid to help sustain itself.
- Jufureh, Juffureh or Juffure is a town in Gambia that is popular with tourists, lying 30 km inland on the north bank of the River Gambia in the North Bank Division. It is said to be where Alex Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family is set. It is home to a museum and lies near James Island. A family claiming to be the descendants of Kunta Kinte still resides here.
- The Kachikally crocodile pool is located in the heart of Bakau about 10 miles (16 km) from the capital Banjul. It is one of three sacred crocodile pools used as sites for fertility rituals.The others are Folonko in Kombo South and Berending on the north bank.
- Janjanbureh or Jangjangbureh is a town, founded in 1832, on Janjanbureh Island in the River Gambia in eastern Gambia. It was formerly known as Georgetown and was the second largest in the country. It is now the capital of the Central River Division and is best known as home to Gambia’s main prison. The Wassu stone circles lie 22 km northwest of Lamin Koto, on the north bank across from Janjanbureh. It is one of Gambia’s more popular touri.
- Tourists enjoy sunbathing on pristine white beaches whilst bird watchers are attracted by 569 species of birds.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Gambia
- An odd feature of the tourism industry is “gigolos”, young Gambian men who have relationships with female tourists, many in their later years. On the tourist “strip”, romances between local men in their 20s and British women in their 50s or 60s are common sight. Diplomats even report seeing gigolos promenading with elderly women on mobility scooters.
- Baboon Islands is a rehabilition centre for chimpanzees, and humans are forbidden to visit!
- President Yahya Jammeh has declared that he would like to make The Gambia rich by exporting oil. However, they are still to locate any oil in the country.
- There is a belief that boys just circumcised are most vulnerable to attack by evil spirits and witches.
- The Gambia is a Muslim country but a very liberal one. Not only is alcohol widely available, they even brew their own beer, the popular and ubiquitous Julbrew. This is a light pilsner style lager, very quaffable on a warm evening.
- Money exchange is very easy at your own hotel reception.Notes are very dirty so its wise to have something like cleaning tissues with you.
- Drinking while eating is considered disrespectful towards elder people.
- The name ‘Lamin’ is very common for men in the Gambia. It’s like ‘Joe’ in America. He said if you ever need service in a restaurant, hotel or bar, just shout ‘Lamin!’ and someone will come.
- No matter how much the children beg for money, it is best not to give it to them, it only makes things even more unequal, as you can not give to all 30 swarming around you! It is best to give to organisations, such as schools or churches, or provide the children with pens and paper, this helps everyone in the long run.
- The Gambians trust you when you say “I’ll pass by later and buy something” or “I’ll come back tomorrow”.Don’t use this as an alternative to saying no, they’d rather you told the truth and that way they won’t waste their time waiting for you.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Gambia
- The earliest known settlers in Gambia are believed to the people of the Jola or Diola tribe. Today they form only about 10% of the population of Gambia.
- The Portuguese captains Luiz de Cadamosto and Antoniotti Usodimare were the first Europeans to reach Gambia in 1455.
- First mentioned by Carthaginian travellers in 470BC, Gambia was the site of the first British settlement established to trade slaves in 1661.
- The Gambia was a part of the British Empire and gained its independence only in 1965.
- Most of the population of Gambia is a mix of people belonging to the people from various tribes like Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Wolof, and Serahuli.
- The predominant religion followed in The Gambia is Islam (followed by 90% of the population). The remaining population is a mixture of people believing in Christianity and in indigenous beliefs.
- In early January the moslim in The Gambia celebrate the “TOBASKI”. To celebrate Tobaski, every household that can afford it, buys a sheep and kills it, giving one third to relatives, one third to those who cannot aford to buy their own and keeping a third for themselves.
- While urban migration, development projects, and modernization are bringing more and more Gambians into contact with Western habits and values, the traditional emphasis on the extended family, as well as indigenous forms of dress and celebration, remain integral to parts of everyday life. Over 80 percent of Gambians live in rural villages, although increasing numbers of young people come to the capital, Banjul, in search of work and education which has further led to the greater cultural and blood mixing of people.
- Although Gambia is very liberal in its moslim culture – locals do appreciate it when you go wandering about in the villages and up country that you dress appropriate. Nothing special – no mini skirts, cover the shoulders and no bellies sticking out for the women and for the men just make sure you wear a t-shirt. That’s all and that is not too much to ask for and it shows your respect for the local culture.
- Whereas in the western world you don’t take time to greet people – in Gambia you do take the time and you do not only ask about how the person you are meeting is but you also ask about his/her family.