As one of countries starting with G, the Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa and is completely surrounded by Senegal except for its coastal region. The Gambia River runs through the country, which is seen as the lifeblood of the country.
Several centuries before Christ, it is a Carthaginian Admiral who first records the navigation of the Gambia River. A few centuries later this would also be done by a Greek historian. The only signs of early habitation in the country are the stone circles of Senegambia. However, no one knows what the meaning behind this was or who put them here.
From the eleventh to the sixteenth century, the country has belonged to a few kingdoms and countries. First to the Kingdom of Ghana and later to the countries of Mali and Mauritania.
In the sixteenth century the Europeans came to the Gambia. The Portuguese were the first European country to establish a fortress here and start the slave trade. Later the Spaniards and the British followed. And less than a hundred years later, there were more than ten fortresses here, all intended for the slave trade. Millions of slaves from the African interior have been shipped from the Gambia to America. This continued until the slave trade was abolished in America in the early 1800s.
In the meantime, Gambia has changed hands several times. It was mainly a dime between the United Kingdom and France. The Treaty of Versailles finally establishes that Gambia belongs to the United Kingdom and neighboring Senegal to France.
After the breakup of the British Empire, the Gambia gains its independence in 1965 but is still part of the British Commonwealth.
The current political climate in The Gambia is very unstable. For example, the death penalty has been reintroduced and the head of government has called for the beheading of all homosexuals.
As a tourist, however, you will not get much of this since tourism is one of the largest sources of income here. However, if you delve a little more into the country, you will discover that the country also has a dark side.
The country’s biggest attraction is, of course, the Gambia River. This river determines the shape and face of the land. In addition, the river, together with tourism, is the country’s largest source of income.
The capital Banjul is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The old colonial character of the city has been well preserved. Near the city is the national airport that also serves as an emergency landing site for NASA. In the city is a large local market and the museum of archeology, ethnography and the colonial period.
The largest city in the country, Serekunda is only a half hour drive from the capital Banjul. Apart from a few colorful markets, there is not much to do here.
However, most tourists come to The Gambia for the beautiful Atlantic coast. Most hotels and resorts are located in this region. For those who want to see more of the country and its history, you can visit James Island. This island has played an important role in the slave trade from Central Africa.
The Gambia has a special flora and fauna that is protected in six national parks. The most famous of these is the Baboon Island National Park. More than 450 different bird species live here.
The Gambia has two inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List, one of which is partly located in neighboring Senegal.
In 2003, James Island and related areas was added to the list. This island was an important link in the slave trade from Central Africa. The Gambia River was the first and most important slave route to the central part of Africa.
In 2007 the stone circles of Senegambia were placed on the Unesco list. These stone circles consist of ten to twenty stones of at least two meters in a circle of four to six meters. In total, ninety-three of these circles can be found in the area between the Gambia River and the Saloum River in Senegal.
The Gambia has a tropical savanna climate with a dry period and a rainy period. The rainy season here starts in May and ends in November. During this period quite a lot of precipitation can fall. Most precipitation falls here in the coastal area on average 1400 millimeters on an annual basis. The average precipitation here is several hundred millimeters higher than in the more inland parts of the Gambia.
The daytime temperatures here are above thirty degrees Celsius all year round. In the rainy season this is accompanied by high humidity. This makes the winter months a lot more pleasant, which makes the country extremely suitable as a winter sun destination. The only drawback during this period is that the sea is a bit cooler with an average temperature of twenty-three degrees Celsius.
In spring, the so-called Harmattan wind can occur here, which blows dry hot air from the desert over the country. As a result, the temperature here can suddenly rise by five to ten degrees.
The Gambia is located in the westernmost part of mainland Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and has a maximum width of about fifty kilometers and is about two hundred and fifty kilometers long. The country is completely surrounded by neighboring Senegal. Because The Gambia also borders on the Atlantic Ocean, one does not speak of an Enclave here. The country of Gambia follows the course of the Gambia River. The delta of the Gambia River consists mainly of wetlands and mangroves. The highest point in the country is only forty meters above sea level.
Banjul is the main city of the Gambia and Serekunda is the largest city in the country. Other major places in Gambia are Janjanbureh, Basse Santa Su, Brikama and Kerewan
Het reisadvies voor Gambia luidt; waakzaamheid betrachten. Dit heeft hoofdzakelijk te maken met de conflicten die hier tussen de rebellen en het leger voorkomen. De Senegalese regio Casamance ten zuiden van Gambia wordt gezien als gevaarlijk en kan men het beste mijden.
Sinds enkele jaren is de doodstraf in Gambia terug ingevoerd en wordt deze ook met regelmaat uitgevoerd. De doodstraf wordt hier bijvoorbeeld gegeven voor moord, verraad, mensenhandel en brandstichting.
De wegen zijn hier van een bijzonder slechte kwaliteit. Hierdoor is autorijden in Gambia gevaarlijk. De plaatselijke politie in de steden en dorpen houdt met regelmaat auto’s aan. Dit naar eigen zeggen voor paspoort controle en dergelijke. In werkelijkheid is het ze vaak om steekpenningen te doen.
In the coastal areas there are quite a few bumsters these days. These are young men who offer themselves to single ladies for money in exchange for “love”.
To enter the Gambia, all you need is a Dutch passport that is valid for at least another six months and a return ticket. However, if you want to stay longer than twenty-eight days, you must apply for a visa at the embassy.
You must complete an entry visa on the plane. You may have to pay a departure tax when you leave the country.
|Phone (country code)||220|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||English, the different tribes all speak their own language. As a result, 30 different languages are spoken in The Gambia.|
|Time difference summer||in the Gambia it is 2 hours earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||in The Gambia it is 1 hour earlier than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||nee|