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Gambia Driving Guide

Gambia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-26 · 9 mins

Gambia is the paradise for everyone who wants to escape the cold of winter and feel the breeze of the winter sun. A place in Western Africa and situated on the Atlantic coast. From its beautiful beaches, majestic rivers to its wildlife, this country sure has a lot to offer! You can simply relax and have time for yourself on the beaches, or you can go be adventurous by exploring its wildlife. Whatever your mood is, the Gambia will always have something to serve you.

And because of that, a lot of tourists would also want to experience driving in the Gambia. Just make sure to have your driving license ready for Gambia. Having the opportunity to go wherever and whenever you want around the country is truly an experience you wouldn’t want to miss especially if you want to capture more nature images while driving in the Gambia.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling to a certain country, especially for the first time, can be both thrilling and daunting at the same time. People want to drive outside their homeland, but fear would always get in the way for them to experience the road trip of a lifetime. Therefore, this article will be providing you the knowledge you need when driving in the Gambia.

From its road rules to the destinations, we will also share the history and everything about Gambia. This is for you to know what to expect and what attractions would be the best destinations during your trip there, whether it would be solo, with a partner, with friends, or with your family. Traditions, culture, history, nature, and foods are just some of the things that make this country a go-to destination for travelers like you all over the world.

General Information

Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and is also one of the densely populated countries there. This country follows the Gambia river, which makes its overall shape of land look unusual. A cause that attracted the European Empires during the 19th century.

Due to its location, the people’s main livelihood in the country are farming, fishing, and tourism. Learn more about the country’s general information by reading further.

Geographic Location

It is the smallest country in Africa, it has an unusual shape because this country area follows the Gambia river, making it have an elongated shape. The shape and size of this country was decided by Great Britain and France, the countries that gained control over Gambia in the past.

The country is also almost enclaved with Senegal around it except in the area facing the Atlantic Ocean where the Gambia River is connected. Gambia also has a beautiful coast that is perfect for anyone wanting to relax while listening to the sound of the waves. Its capital, Banjul, is also situated in the area where the Gambia River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

Languages Spoken

Due to the British Empire’s colonization of this country in the past, the English language became the official language in Gambia. Traveling there won’t be a hassle because the English language is used for the main instruction and education purposes in the country but the most commonly used language is Mandingo which is a West Atlantic Language also primarily used in Senegal.

There are also languages spoken in the country like Pulaar, Wolof, Soninke, Jola, Serer, Manjak and some religious members of the Muslim uses Arabic.

Land Area

As mentioned above, Gambia is the smallest country in Africa. It has a total area of 11,295 km² where its land covers the area of 10,000 km², and the rest covers the area of water which is 1,295 km². This country is 15 to 30 miles wide, and it extends up to 300 miles along the coastline up until the ends of the country, on the borderline of Senegal. Gambia is surrounded by Senegal on North, East, and South and has 80 km of the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline on the West.

The Gambia is usually plain with the river flowing in its center. It also includes three terrestrial ecoregions, the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, West Sudanian savanna, and Guinean mangroves. No wonder a lot of bird species live in The Gambia.

Climate in The Gambia

The climate in The Gambia is almost the same as the climate in Senegal. It has dry and wet seasons. Wet seasons usually come during the months of June to October, and dry seasons come in the months of November to May.

Dry season in this country is highly influenced by the dry northeasterly winds called Hamattan from the Sahara. Temperatures in the cool, dry season are usually around 70oF (21oC) and 80oF (27oC). Thus, allowing the tourists to escape the cold winter in their country and enjoy the winter sun this country can offer.

History

Before the British Empires colonized The Gambia, Arab traders were the first ones to settle in the country. During the 10th Century, they established several communities and started exporting trades like gold, ivory, and yes, they even started exporting local people as slaves. By the 14th century, the Gambia became part of the Mali Empire.

During the mid 15th century, the Portuguese found the Gambia by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and also started trading there. The Portuguese sold the Gambia River to the British Empire, and by 1888, The Gambia became a separate colony. The French and British empires established the boundaries of the country, and in the later years, slavery was finally abolished.

Government

The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom on February 18, 1965. It later became a multiparty liberal democracy where the head of the state and government is headed by the President and is elected by the people to rule for five years.

The president assigns the vice president and cabinet members. The Legislative power is held by the country’s National Assembly, which involves 53 members that will serve for five years. Most of the members are elected by the people of The Gambia, while the president appoints the other five members.

Tourism

The tourism in the Gambia started when 300 Swedish decided to go to the country to run away from the cold winter of Europe, this is where they first experience the warmth of winter sun that Gambia can provide, due to that, a lot of Europeans also discovered what the country has to offer and from 300 tourists that year, it grew up to 25,000 tourist the next year.

The Gambia offers tourists a lot of attractions and destinations. From its coast to the rivers up to its wildlife. This country also has a lot of beautiful hotels where you and your friends or family can stay along the beach and see the country’s beauty. These make the Gambia a magnet to the tourists who wants to experience its charm.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Driving is another way to enjoy the country of Gambia where you can have the freedom to go wherever and whenever you want. But the question is, are there any requirements needed before you can start driving in Gambia now? Each country has its own set of rules regarding this, and in this section, we will be tackling about everything you need to know regarding International Driver’s Permit used for driving in the Gambia.

Is a Local Driver's License Valid in The Gambia?

A driving licence in Gambia is one of the requirements needed before you can start driving around the country. Your driving license will be your proof that you can and able to drive a vehicle. But, what if you are a tourist and don’t have a driving licence in Gambia? Can you use your local driving license in Gambia? The answer is actually yes!

Your local driving license can be used in Gambia if, and only if, it is written in English language. If you are planning to use your local driving license in Gambia, but it is not written in the English language, an international driving license must be obtained.

How Do I Get An International Driving Permit In The Gambia?

International Driver’s Permit or IDP serves as the translation of your local driving license to a different language so you can drive to the Gambia without having any problems from the authorities in understanding you. An international driving permit can be applied anywhere you are in the world.

You can simply go to this website page and provide your driver details like your name, contact number, address, and zip code used for driving in Gambia. You may also send us a message through our email for your international driving license update for your driving in Gambia.

Is An International Driver’s Permit Required In The Gambia?

Although the official language used in the Gambia is English, not all locals can understand and speak the language, and they still mainly use Mandingo and other Atlantic languages.

It will be very helpful for you and the authorities to have an international driver’s permit to avoid misunderstandings during your conversations or whenever they ask you some questions while driving in Gambia. This will lead you to have hassle-free driving in the country.

How Long Is An International Driver’s Permit Valid In The Gambia?

An international driver’s permit to be used for driving in the Gambia is valid for three months. If you exceeded those three months and are still planning to drive around the Gambia for more months, you already have to apply for a driving license in Gambia.

If you’re new to driving and want to apply for a driving licence in the Gambia, you can start by enrolling in driving lessons in Gambia. There is a list of driving schools in the Gambia where you can learn how to drive.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

No. The International Driver’s Permit or IDP will never replace your native driver’s license. Your international driver’s permit will only serve as the translation of your native driving license so that when you travel in the Gambia, the local people and authorities will not have a hard time understanding you and to avoid any misunderstanding that this can cause.

Remember to bring your IDP anywhere you drive so that you’ll have something to show whenever some authorities will check you, especially when driving through a checkpoint.

Renting a Car in The Gambia

With the beaches that this country has that charms the tourist into staying there, driving along the coastline is an experience that a lot of people wouldn’t want to miss while staying in the country of the Gambia. But, what if you don’t own a car in the Gambia? Don’t worry! Gambia also has local car rental companies that can help you solve that problem of yours!

Car Rental Companies

Several car rental companies are available ready to serve you during your vacation in the Gambia. Whether you’ll be driving solo, with a partner, friends, or family, renting a car would probably be one of the best choices to make in the Gambia, and for that, rent-a-car companies are ready to provide you the best cars that can fit your need.

Local car rental companies in the Gambia also vary in location. Most of their pick-up points are in Banjul, which is the City of the Gambia. Almost all car rental companies offer the same vehicles. Companies like Afriqcars Motors can provide you with Renault Duster for 4 to 5 persons up to Toyota Hiace for up to 14 to 15 persons. The cars that they can offer will vary on the specifications you provided.

Documents Required

In order to rent a car in the country of Gambia, an international driver’s permit must be acquired first or a local driver’s license, just make sure that it is written in the English language, if not, you’ll have to apply for an international driver’s permit. Applying for an international driver’s permit is already made easy for you! Visit our website for your international driving permit in Gambia updates and inquiries.

You will also be required to present a valid id or passport along with those mentioned above, and make sure that you already have a driving experience not less than three years.

Vehicle Types

There are many types of vehicles you can rent in Gambia provided by the car rental companies. The car that will be provided to you will always depend on your specifications, like the number of people that will be traveling with you and the cost you are willing to spend for driving in Gambia.

Car Rental Cost

The cost for driving in Gambia with a rental car will depend on the type of car, season of the country (whether it’s dry or wet season), the number of days you’ll be renting it, and other inclusions like insurance.

Note that insurance is an important part of renting a car because it will lessen the financial liability you’ll have if ever something happens like an accident or damage to the car you rented. This will ensure that you’ll still be able to pay up for the damage or loss you encountered no matter what happens.

Remember that the cost of rent-a-car in Gambia will always depend on your specifications. So, here are some of the cars that you can rent and the cost of each rent per day:

  • Renault Duster - USD 70.00 per day
  • Toyota Venza - USD 80.00 per day
  • Toyota Rav4 - USD 80.00 per day
  • Mitsubishi Pajero - USD 85.00 per day
  • Toyota Prado - USD 120.00 per day
  • Toyota Fortuner - USD 125.00
  • Range Rover Evoque - USD 120.00 per day
  • Volvo XC90 - USD 160 per day
  • Toyota Hiace - USD 180.00 per day

Age Requirements

Age requirement is also strict when renting a car for driving in the Gambia. Aside from having a local license from your country and an international driver’s permit that serves as the translation of your local license to the language of Gambia, you also must be 23 years old or above and have been driving for at least three years.

This is required to ensure that the driver will be responsible and already knows the laws of the road to avoid causing damage to the rented car and accidents that may cause worse things.

Car Insurance Cost

As stated above, Car insurance is an essential part when renting a car in the Gambia, especially when you are going to drive outside the city or coastal areas. If you think that car insurance might be expensive, don’t worry! Car insurance is usually included in the packages in renting a car already.

Hence, you just have to ask the car rental company about it and make sure that it is included in the packages. This is to ensure that your finances will be protected no matter what happens to the car you are renting because it will be on your responsibility.

Car Insurance Policy

Having car insurance ensures peace of mind for the driver and the car rental company that provided the rented car. It will also save you from a lot of hassles if something bad happened. Thus, knowing the different insurance included in your package is also a must. Your rented vehicle must be covered with comprehensive insurance that lessens your financial liability if ever any damage or loss happened in the rented car.

It is important because you wouldn’t know what will happen during your road trip in Gambia, so it is better to have these than to regret not including these in your rented car.

Long term Car Rental

It can also be possible to rent a car for the long term if you are planning to drive for more than three months in the Gambia. But for this, you’ll be required to have a Gambian driving license already because your international driver’s permit and your local driver’s license will only be valid in the Gambia for up to 3 months.

More than that, you’ll have to apply for a Gambian license already. So make sure to know all these before renting a car in Gambia for a long-term use.

Banjul Gambia Photo by Kurt Cotoaga

Road Rules in The Gambia

Each country has its own set of rules when it comes to its roads. It is one of the things that you should always consider and know before hitting the Gambia roads for you not to get confused and be ready for any circumstances. Driving is a responsibility not just to yourself but also to the surrounding people.

So, here are the road rules that you should know before driving in Gambia.

Important Regulations

No matter what country you are in or wherever you are driving in a particular country, obeying the different road rules is a responsibility. You should be aware of it no matter what to avoid any inconveniences like getting fines, having injuries, accidents, or, worse, death. Written below are the road rules in The Gambia that you need to pay attention to.

Always Bring Your Driver’s License With You

Driving licence in Gambia or in any country is a proof that you are given the authority to drive (whether you took driving lessons in the Gambia or in your country) because you are tested already and responsible enough to hit off the roads in your country.

That’s why wherever you are in the Gambia, you have to bring it with you for some authorities will be checking you from time to time, and if you are not ready or was not able to present a license, you have violated a law and a fine will be given to you.

For tourists like you, make sure to have an international driver’s permit with you at all times. Applying is already made simple for you, just go to our website and provide your details like name, contact number, address, and zip code for your driving in Gambia. Just wait for your IDP to be released, and we will take care of the rest!

Don’t Use Mobile Phones While Driving

Cellphones are very much popular nowadays, people can live without phones, but it is an essential part of our daily lives today. When to use or not to use your mobile phones is part of your responsibility as a driver, especially when you are in the middle of the road—using your mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited in the Gambia. It is one of the major causes of accidents and shows reckless driving.

Being responsible for the use of it will help you avoid any accidents this may cause. In some cases where you will be needing to use your mobile phone while driving because of an emergency, simply stop your car and bring it on the side of the road for your safety.

Be Always Ready to Show your Insurance and other Documents

As mentioned above, police stops or checkpoints will be frequent in Gambia. You must be ready to show not just your driving licence in Gambia or your international driving permit, but also other documents like car insurance and car registration documents. Frequent checks are made to ensure that all drivers are following the road rules to avoid inconveniences for you and other drivers that you are sharing the road with.

Driving For More Than 3 Months

If you are planning to drive for more than three months in Gambia, applying for a Gambian local driver’s license is already a must. Whether you are renting a car or already buying a car for your driving in Gambia, you should have this requirement already or else, you will be violating a traffic law.

If you are new to driving and don’t have the knowledge about it yet, you can take lessons in driving schools in the Gambia. There are lists of driving schools in the Gambia where you can learn how to drive appropriately and according to their traffic laws.

Minimum Age

Gambian residents who want to acquire a driver’s license must be at least 18 years old and above. Driving at an adult age means that you already have the capacity to be responsible for how you drive your car on the road. For foreigners who want to see the beauty of Gambia or take videos and images while driving in Gambia must be at least 23 years of age and is already driving for not less than three years.

You Must Wear Your Seatbelts At All Times

Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory while driving on the roads of Gambia. Not wearing a seatbelt has been one of the major causes of accidents leading to bodily injuries, or worse, death.

To avoid these circumstances, The Gambia government released a law, the Motor Traffic Amendment Act, that everyone, including passengers, most especially those that are sitting at the front of the vehicle, should be wearing a seatbelt. Violating this can get you a fine.

Never Drink And Drive

A lot of countries have a rule that you should not drink and drive or at least have a blood alcohol content that is lower than the minimum prescribed amount. But, in Gambia, you must never drink and drive because the maximum blood alcohol content in this country is 0.0%.

It is clear that this law should never be violated because it will only show that you are being reckless as a driver. Fines are serious in this matter, and it could also lead to imprisonment.

Regarding Motorcycle Driving

Even if you are driving a motorcycle, road rules must still be applied, including drunk driving, proper age for driving, driving with a license, and of course, wearing helmets at all times. Wearing a helmet is compulsory for motorcycle drivers and passengers, you should not drive or ride a motorcycle without wearing these if you don’t want to get a fine or have your license confiscated by the authorities.

There are no age limit restrictions for child passengers to ride a motorcycle, but a helmet should be worn all the time while riding a motorcycle.

Penalties for Disobedience of the Law

Rules are made and implemented for a reason. That’s why it must be and always be respected. Penalties in Gambia for violating its road rules depend on what kind of rule you disregarded. Serious offenses can give you a fine of D1500, confiscate your driving license, and can even get you imprisoned for many months to years.

These are just some of the penalties that could be given to you if you violated Gambia’s road rules, so make sure to keep in mind and be aware of everything whenever you drive in the country.

General Standards of Driving

Knowing the general standards of driving in the country you are planning to drive will save you from a lot of hassles you might encounter in the country. These are the norms of how the local people drive and what kind of cars they use there.

In Gambia, automatic and manual cars are available, although there will be some pros and cons, but the kind of car you’ll use will depend on your level of knowledge about it. Make sure that the car you’ll be using if you will be driving outside the city is ready to face off-road conditions because some roads may be challenging for you compared to the roads in the city.

Speed Limits

Gambia also has its own set of rules when it comes to speed limits. Each place has different ones, so always be aware of the road signs you’ll see to make sure that you won’t be driving more than the speed limit on that certain area.

The speed limit for the major highways in the Gambia is 70 km/h (43 mph), 50 km/h (31 mph) in developed areas, and 25 km/h (15 mph) in residential areas, including school zones and roads that are near hospitals.

Driving Directions

Vehicles in The Gambia drives on the right hand side of the road. This is another thing to keep in mind, especially if you are from a country that drives on the left side of the road. Be aware always of entering roundabouts and intersections. Some of the local drivers in Gambia might be aggressive in driving, so you also have to be careful around them.

You should always keep your eyes on the road and always open the way for those who are coming in. This way, possible accidents can be avoided.

Traffic Road Signs

Keeping your eyes on the road is always a useful tip when driving in Gambia, especially since some of the traffic signs might not be noticeable. Although you’ll be seeing important traffic road signs clearly, some road signs, especially if you are on the rural side of the country, might be hand-made and are hard to notice.

Just like in any countries, Gambia also has different categories of road signs: information signs, regulatory signs, warning signs, and guide signs. Always be aware of these and follow these signs wherever you are in the country.

Right of Way

Some of the drivers in Gambia are aggressive when it comes to hitting the road, so to avoid having or heating up in an argument with them, be the better driver. Give way for them, especially on roundabouts and intersections. Slow down on populated areas and on entering roundabouts and intersections. Look carefully if it’s free to go before entering to avoid having accidents.

Laws on Overtaking

As much as the law doesn’t want drivers to tolerate the behavior of overtaking, many drivers still do this, especially in Gambia. If you really must do this, make sure to ask yourself if you really need to do that, even if it’s a risky thing to do. Make sure the road is clear ahead of the car you are overtaking, and there are no cars behind you that are also planning to overtake you.

Directly overtaking stopped vehicles is also not advisable because there may be some reason behind why they stopped. It could be a person is crossing the street or there’s a pedestrian lane in front where people are waiting to cross.

Driving Etiquette in The Gambia

Seeing and experiencing the beauty of The Gambia through driving is a great way to explore the country. But, we must also admit that there are a lot of things that might happen while you are on the road, and being in a new country with no knowledge about what to in such situations is terrifying. To avoid having this kind of circumstances, we will provide you the driving etiquette when driving in the Gambia.

Car Breakdown

Car breakdowns can happen anywhere and anytime, especially if your car is not always maintained well. If this happens to you while driving on the roads of the Gambia, be responsible enough to let other drivers know that you are having an emergency, turn on your hazard lights for the other drivers to be aware of the current situation.

Move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid causing traffic to the incoming vehicles. If this is not possible, make sure to put your red warning triangle so that incoming vehicles will be warned.

Call the police or traffic emergency hotline 117, the national police and emergency number, to ask for road assistance. Give your full name, contact number, and exact location to the authorities and wait for help to arrive.

Police Stops

You’ll be experiencing frequent police stops in the Gambia, especially in the city area and tourist attraction areas. This ensures that all drivers follow the road rules properly and are not violating any law on driving in Gambia now. If a police stopped you while driving in the road, roll down your car window enough for you and the police officer to hear each other.

Some of the police officers might ask for gifts but still, be respectful in conversing with them, you can just talk your way out of it and understand that some of the officers in the Gambia are not really paid enough. If you have not violated any traffic law and you are already done talking with the officer, thank him/her for the service and move on towards your destination.

If you’ve violated some of the traffic rules in the country, be honest to admit it and pay for the consequences of the actions you made. This ensures a peaceful way of getting things in order without doing any violent actions. Do note that it is completely illegal to take police videos while driving in Gambia.

Asking Directions

Whether you are using the available online maps for driving in Gambia on the internet or using a physical map for driving in Gambia towards your destination, there are still times when asking for a local person in Gambia help in directions is needed.

Local people in this country would also love to help another person in need, just ask them nicely and properly about the things you want to ask. Remember to be respectful and explain it well because not all Gambians can speak English fluently. These are some of the words that may help you with talking to the local people of Gambia:

  • Farewell - Be Bennen Yon (Wolof) - Foo Watido (Mandinka)
  • Good morning - Naka subasi (Wolof) - Esama (Mandinka)
  • Good afternoon - Naka bechek bi (Wolof) - Etinyang (Mandinka)
  • Good evening - Naka ngon si (Wolof) - Ewulara (Mandinka)
  • Where are you going? - Foi Dem? (Wolof) - Eka ta minto le? (Mandinka)
  • Where do you come from? - Fan nga jogey (Wolof) - Ebata minto le (Mandinka)
  • I come from Banjul - Mangey jogey Banjul (Wolof) - Nboto Banjul le (Mandinka)
  • I am going to the beach - Mangey dem si beach bi (Wolof)
  • Bon voyage / Have a good journey - Yônu jàam (Wolof)
  • Do you understand? - Dégg nga? (Wolof)
  • I understand - Dégg naa (Wolof)
  • I don't understand - Dégguma (Wolof)
  • I don't know - Xamu mako (Wolof)
  • Please speak more slowly - Ndax mën nga wax ndànk su la neexee? (Wolof)
  • Please say that again - Ndax mën nga ko waxaat su la neexee? (Wolof)
  • Please write it down - Ndax mën nga ko bind su la neexee? (Wolof)
  • Do you speak English? - Ndax dégg nga angale? (Wolof)
  • Excuse me - Baal ma! (Wolof)
  • Thank you - Jai-rruh-jef (Wolof)
  • Call the police! - Wooyal ma alkaati! (Wolof)
  • Help! - Wóoy! (Wolof)

Checkpoints

As mentioned above, expect that you’ll be experiencing checkpoints from time to time, especially on the city area and tourist attraction sites. You don’t have to feel nervous while approaching a checkpoint. It is usually done to ensure that no drivers are disobeying the laws and to make sure that you are permitted to drive in the country.

When approaching a checkpoint, slow down your speed and roll down your windows a little to hear what the officers are trying to say. Follow the officer’s instruction if it applies to you and your way, this will be for your own safety.

Remember, do not give your personal belongings or documents to unauthorized persons, be mindful at all times and be respectful when speaking to the people in charge. Do note that it is completely illegal to take police videos while driving in Gambia.

Other Tips

Some officers on your way to your destination might ask you for some gifts but don’t worry, just be friendly and respectful to them. Be honest about them and talk your way out of it. Understand that some of these officers are underpaid, and it is just the way of their life in West Africa.

What to Do During Accidents and Emergencies

What’s more frightening and nerve-wracking than having accidents and emergencies on the road? Experiencing it in a foreign country! These two could be the scariest thing that could happen to someone in the middle of the road, whether it is intentional or not. No matter how safely we drive, accidents could happen at any time.

If you got involved in an accident in The Gambia, call the national police hotline directly, dial 117 for emergency and give them your name, exact location, number of vehicles involved, and number of people injured in the accident.

Turn on your hazard warning signals and ask for help from someone if there are people who got injured. Be prepared to do medical first aid if you can or let someone who knows how to do a first aid do the job.

Wait for the authorities to arrive and help you with the accident or emergency.

Driving Conditions in The Gambia

To fully enjoy your driving in the Gambia, you must also know in advance the different road conditions in different seasons to avoid causing inconveniences during your trip. This is also to ensure that you know what to expect on the roads of Gambia.

Accident Statistics

Road traffic accidents are one of the problems drivers can face while driving on the roads. It is usually caused by reckless driving or disobeying the implemented traffic laws, and any country you plan to visit definitely has this problem.

According to the accident statistics of Gambia, the country ranked 4th worldwide as the country with the highest death rate caused by road traffic accidents. These are mainly caused by cars and motorcycles, and surprisingly, accidents happen on paved poor roads, and only a few of the accidents happen on unpaved ones.

Although only a few accidents occur in Banjul, the city of the Gambia, most accidents also involve motorcycles and bicycles. This just shows that drivers are careful when they are on the unpaved roads and somehow let themselves go when they drive on the paved ones. Knowing this can help you anticipate and cautious when driving in such areas.

Common Vehicles

Roads outside the city of the Gambia, especially those that follow the river of Gambia, are unpaved ones and are still underdeveloped. For that reason, most of the vehicles in the country should be able to adapt to that. Commonly used and bought cars in Gambia for having passengers more than 12 people are Hiace van and Hiace Commuter, they are probably used for group trips.

Family cars or cars used for personal use are usually Toyota Noah, Honda Freed, Toyota Estima, and Honda Odyssey. You’ll also see numerous taxis in Gambia, the yellow ones, which are much cheaper but not available in the tourist areas, and the green ones. You’ll also see bush taxis or gelli-gellis, which are similar to vans and minibusses.

Toll Roads

Toll Roads in Gambia are not very common, and there is only one toll road in the country, which is the Senegambia Bridge. Senegambia Bridge is a gift for all the local people of Gambia, especially traders. This bridge connects the southern and northern Gambia and can connect you to the remote province of Casamance from other parts of Senegal.

Crossing the Gambia River usually takes hours to days, and some are said to even wait for ten to twenty days before they can ride a ferry to cross the river. But this Bridge made it possible for all local people of Gambia to cross the river for only less than an hour.

Road Situations

Gambia has a total of 2,700 km of roads as of 2002, including 956 km of paved roads. Roads in the Gambia depends on the location you plan to drive. If you are planning to drive around the city and nearby areas, expect that you’ll be driving on a paved road and are usually good roads to drive in.

Meanwhile, some roads are not paved in rural areas and could get muddy, especially during the months of June to October, which are wet seasons. Although Banjul, the city of Gambia, has paved roads, most of them are still not well lit, especially at night, so it is important to turn your headlights on always.

Driving Culture

It is known that some drivers in the Gambia could be aggressive when it comes to driving on their roads, especially in the city. So, if you plan to drive around Gambia, make sure to anticipate this. Do not get shocked by how the local drivers of Gambia drive in their own country and drive safely as possible to avoid causing any accidents.

Other Tips

Now that you know everything about the Road of Gambia, it is safe to assume that you already understand how, when, and where you’ll be driving there. Take note also that before you start your journey in the country, make sure to check the status of your car and ensure that it will be safe for driving.

What To Do Before Hitting Gambia’s Roads?

Before hitting the roads of Gambia, make sure to check the situation of the car if it will be fit for driving with the current weather and road you’ll be driving towards your destination. Are the brakes working, or does it have enough gasoline for the trip? How about the wheels? Are the lights properly working? These are just some of the things needed to be checked to ensure safety in your journey to Gambia.

Things To Do in The Gambia

Thanks to the country’s majestic beaches, wildlife, culture, and history, many tourists visit the Gambia. Some people even decide to stay and live in the country not just for a few months or years, but for a lifetime! Now, you may be thinking, what other things could you possibly do in The Gambia? In this section, we’ll talk about everything you can do in this country.

Drive as a Tourist in The Gambia

Having a road trip in a country where you’ll get to experience the pleasure of beaches and the adventure of nature at the same time is undoubtedly an escapade you wouldn’t want to miss! Driving as a tourist in The Gambia requires you to have both your local driver’s license and an international driver’s permit.

Your local driver’s license will serve as a proof that you passed the qualifications of being a responsible driver. Meanwhile, your international driver’s permit will serve as the translation of your local driver’s license to different languages so that local people in the Gambia won’t have a hard time understanding your driver’s information.

Work as a Driver in The Gambia

If you loved how drivers of the local people in Gambia ride their cars on the roads and would want to be one of them, that’s definitely possible! There are many driving jobs in Gambia that can serve as your opportunity to work there. But, for that to happen, you have to ensure that you apply for a working visa in Gambia.

Do note that there are three types of working visas: Type A is for international students and retired foreign citizens. Type B is for foreign nationals working in skilled employment, and type C is for skilled workers and small traders.

If you really want to look for driving jobs in Gambia, ensure your Type B or Type C working visa. Working as a driver would also require you to have a Gambian driver’s license. If you don’t know how to drive yet, you can learn through the driving schools in The Gambia.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you’ve found this country incredible and you want to stay and work there at the same time by sharing the thrilling adventures this country can provide, working as a travel guide would be perfect for you! Apply for the job on one of Gambia’s travel and tour companies and make sure to have a Type B or Type C working visa.

Apply for Residency

Applying for residency in Gambia if you already decided to stay in the country and finally settle there is achievable! You just have to stay in the country for three months. After 28 days upon entry, go to an immigration office, where you’ll pay D1,000 for each of the next two months. Remember that residency permits must be renewed every year in January along with other permits, licenses, and taxes in Gambia.

Other Things to Do

Aside from working as a driver and travel guide in Gambia, you can also do certain things during your stay there.

Can I Volunteer in Gambia?

There are also many various jobs you can do and apply to in The Gambia, it will always depend on what you want. One of the most noble things you can do during your stay there is to do volunteering. Many people in Gambia, especially those living outside the city, need help from other people. This includes education, medical and health care, and building maintenance.

You can tap many organizations regarding this, and they’ll surely love to have you onboard!

Apply For A Driver’s License in The Gambia

If you plan to stay there and be a resident in Gambia, or maybe you want to work in the country, having a Gambian driver’s license would be very helpful for you.

If you don’t have knowledge about driving yet, look for a driving school in Gambia. There are many driving schools in Gambia that can help you learn everything you need to know before driving in the country. Once you are ready, apply for a provisional or learner’s license where you can practice your driving skills and prepare yourself for the exams.

After passing the exams, you’ll get a certificate depending on the type of vehicle you drive. Then, you can get your Gambian driver’s license.

The Top Destinations in The Gambia

The Gambia has been the place where people in Europe want to escape the cold of winter. From its majestic wildlife with hundreds of species to its beaches where you can relax and break free from the hustle of the world, this place is truly a paradise for people who want to have a vacation.

This place surely is a go-to destination for people who want to explore both land and sea adventures! Plus, not to mention the great hotels you could stay in.

Banjul Gambia Photo by Kurt Cotoaga

Banjul

Banjul is the capital of The Gambia. It is also a place that is popular with tourists. This is the place where the Gambia River meets the Atlantic Ocean and where the airport is located. Along the neighborhood of Banjul, along Cape Point to Sanyang, you’ll see many beach hotels that can offer you the best view of the beach.

This is the perfect place for anyone seeking for a peaceful vacation and just wants to hear the waves crashing to the shore.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Banjul International Airport, Head toward Airport Rd
  2. Turn right onto S Bank Rd/Brikama Hwy and continue to follow
  3. Take the 1st exit onto Box Bar Rd at the roundabout after 22.2 km
  4. Turn left after 450 m, then another left after 450m
  5. Turn right after 56 m, and you’ll reach Banjul

Things to Do

  1. Visit National Museum in The Gambia
    This museum will let you have a glimpse of how the old times in Gambia look like with their displays of their historical collections. Inside you’ll see different musical instruments, agricultural tools, documents, and ethnographic things that the ancient people in The Gambia used in the old times.
  2. Spy on the Animals at Abuko Nature Reserve
    This place was made to be a water reserve for the neighboring communities during the 20th century. Now, it is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the country. You will see different species in this place like porcupine, African palm civets, antelope, and almost 400 bird species that inhabited the area.
  3. View the City from the Top of Arch 22
    The Arch 22 was built in 1996 to celebrate the military coup on 22 July 1994. It is a popular place for tourists because you’ll see the panoramic view of the city on the top floor. There is also a cafe available on the upper floor and a small museum you can enjoy.
  4. Joseph’s Adult Education and Skills Centre
    This is a Portuguese building where women received skill trainings for over 20 years. Tourists can take a free tour in this place and buy items from the women that made them which they can take home as a souvenir.
Cape Point Photo by Jean-Baptiste D.

Cape Point and Sanyang

One of the reasons why people visit the country is because of the unspoiled beaches it offers. You can go to public beaches or stay at a private beach resort for a more luxurious vacation. Driving direction will depend on which beach resort you are heading. But most of the beautiful beaches in Gambia are along Cape Point to Sanyang.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Banjul International Airport, head onto S Bank Rd/Brikama Hwy.
  2. Turn right after 5 km, then head onto S Bank Rd.
  3. Slight left to stay on Old Cape Rd and turn right after 2.3 km.
  4. You’ll reach your destination, and you’ll also see a lot of various beach hotels along the way.
  5. Going to Sanyang from Banjul International Airport, head onto Airport Road and turn left onto S Bank Rd/Brikama Hwy.
  6. Turn right after 1.8 km, then turn left after 7 km
  7. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit, then turn right after 9.4 km.
  8. Turn left after 4.2 km, then turn right onto Sanyang Fishing Village Rd.

Things to Do:

  1. Bijilo Forest Park
    Bijilo Forest Park, also known as Monkey Park, is a small reserve where you’ll find primates and bird species. It is a perfect place if you want to escape the busy streets of the city and enjoy a moment being surrounded by green vegetation, trees, and grass. This place is only a few kilometers away from Cape Point.
  2. Enjoy a Luxury Vacation at the Beach
    You’ll never be disappointed by the beaches that you’ll see in Gambia. Gambia’s beaches face the Atlantic Ocean and what’s great is that you can expect peace and tranquility in Gambia’s beaches because it doesn’t get full of people even during high seasons.
  3. Delight Yourself in Delicious Fruits while Watching the Sunset
    Resorts and Hotels in Gambia can offer you the best foods during your stay there. There are also bars along the beaches where you can order any foods you want. And don’t miss the beautiful golden sunset that you can experience while walking in the white sand.
Gambia River by Dan Roizer

Gambia River

Another activity that is very famous to the tourists is sailing the Gambia River. This river is very significant to the country because this is where it all started and note that its unique shape is because it follows the river. During your sail in the River, you’ll see many things, including the local people of Gambia and how they live, especially those living beside the river.

However, there are several travel and tour companies that can help you in sailing the Gambia River. But, if you want to experience it the local way, you can take the ferry at the Banjul Ferry Terminal.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Banjul International Airport, Head toward Airport Rd.
  2. Turn right onto S Bank Rd/Brikama Hwy and continue to follow the road.
  3. Turn right onto Kankujereh Rd after 20.7 km.
  4. Continue onto Cherno Adama Bah St for 3.1 km.
  5. Turn left onto Liberation Ave after 450 m, and you’ll reach your destination.

Things To Do:

  1. Sail to the colonial island of Janjanbureh
    Janjanbureh, also known as Georgetown and MacCarthy Island, is an island in the middle of the Gambia River. During the 19th century, this place was a trading post for the European where they trade goods. This was also the place where slave trading happened. Nowadays, it has become a popular tourist attraction.
  2. Journey Through a River Cruise
    One of the many reasons why tourists love to sail the Gambia River is because you’ll see and learn a lot about the Gambia by sailing it. You’ll get to explore its waters, meet the local people and encounter its wildlife. Along with the cruise you’ll see many historical places and meet different animals like crocodiles, hippopotamus, and different bird species!
  3. Be Fascinated at Wassu Stone Circles
    Wassu Stone Circles are known to be burial sites for the king and chiefs of ancient times. It became a world heritage site in Gambia and is suggested to be dated between 750-1000 AD. These stone circles can be found along the Gambia river, and the reasons for making them circular with having almost a thousand of them are still unknown up till now.

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