(Searches and filters our Q&A list below).
Q: What is Advance Passenger information (API)?
As a result of UK Government legislation, we are required to collect Advance Passenger (passport) Information from all customers (including infants) travelling to and from the UK by air. If we do not receive this information, tickets cannot be processed.
What information is needed per passenger?
- Full name, as per your passport including any middle names.
- Your date of birth.
- The travel document 'type' eg: passport.
- Your nationality.
- Passport Country of Issue.
- Passport number and expiry date.
When is the information required by?
- Either at the time of booking or at least 7 days before travel in order for your tickets to be processed in time. Failure to do so will prevent tickets from being issued. Any API details received within 7 days of departure will result in a Ticket on Departure being arranged, for which you may be charged.
How can I provide this information?
- Please visit our API page on our website where you can input the information. Alternatively you can call Administration on 0845 330 2044. We advise that you do not email this information due to data protection reasons.
What if I book late?
- Our website will not confirm a booking within 7 days of travel, unless you input your API details, so please have them to hand.
- Ticket on Departure information will not be provided until we have your API details.
Q: Are my Premium Class/Extra Legroom seat numbers guaranteed?
Although seats are pre-bookable and we endeavour to provide requested seat numbers depending on availability, they may be subject to change by the airline at short notice such as an unexpected change in aircraft or medical reason.
Q: Do you need inoculations to visit The Gambia?
Although inoculations are not compulsory for entry, we strongly suggest you consult your doctor before booking who will recommend certain medication, including anti-malarial tablets as a precaution. Children and pregnant women may require special vaccination procedures.
Some GP’s may suggest that you will need to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate at immigration and will be refused entry if you don’t show it. If travelling to Gambia from the EU you are not required to show your certificate as proof. You will not be refused entry to The Gambia if you haven’t had the inoculation on this basis alone. However, as stated we do strongly suggest you consult your doctor, obtaining professional advice before booking. Under International Health Regulations, a certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required from travellers over 9 months of age travelling from The Gambia to Senegal or vice versa.
We have joined forces with the Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor so you can now purchase your malaria tablets on line and have them delivered direct to your door. Any commission we receive from sales will be donated to our School Development Fund. Please click the following link to access the service: Lloyds Pharmacy - Online Doctor
For up-to-date advice visit the World Health Organisation at www.who.int/ith and the Department of Health leaflet (Ref T7.1) “Health Advice to Travellers” is available free from your GP, travel agent or can be downloaded at www.dh.gov.uk
Q: Do I need a visa to visit The Gambia?
For British passport holders, visas are not required for entry into The Gambia. You must be travelling on a full 10 year British passport, valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of arrival back in the UK.
One way travel to The Gambia is not permitted for British passport holders without the correct documentation. Please check with the Gambian High Commission for more details.
Other passport holders should contact the Gambia High Commission for visa requirements.
The telephone number for the Gambia High Commission in London is 0207 937 6316.
Q: Can I upgrade my return flight in The Gambia?
Yes, although this will be subject to availability. Please check with your hotel representative or with our Resort Office.
If you wish to book the Banjul lounge you can check availability with our UK Sales Team at the time of booking or with our Resort Office whilst in The Gambia. The cost would be £15 per person and depends on whether Premium Class is full on the day of travel.
Q: Where can I pay by card?
Although some restaurants and hotels in The Gambia do accept credit cards, it is not wise to rely on them. Debit cards are still more restricted; Solo, Visa Electron and Switch cards are not accepted. You should always check that your card will be accepted and whether there is any surcharge. ATM machines in The Gambia are still not overly reliable. Sterling or travellers cheques can be exchanged at hotels, local banks, exchange bureaux and Euros are now widely accepted.
Q: How do I go about changing my booking?
Any amendment will be subject to availability, amendment charges (excludes flexible ticket holders), plus any difference in costs. Further details should be obtain from our Administration department on 0845 330 2044 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Amendments within 7 days of travel are not always possible.
If you are already out in The Gambia and wish to amend your booking, please contact our Resort Office in The Gambia on 4461104 or 4460317 for price and availability. To extend a flight only ticket in Resort it would be a minimum of £160 and you are only able to extend for a maximum of two weeks. For package holidays the cost would be £160 for the flight extension plus any difference in accommodation costs. You cannot change from a package holiday to a flight only booking.
Q: What is my hand luggage entitlement?
This is 5 kilos. Dimensions differ from airline to airline but should be no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Please ensure that you only carry one piece of hand luggage and that it does not contain any sharp objects. Most airlines will only allow one piece of hand baggage per passenger, which includes ladies handbags and laptops.
Q: Are transfers included?
Transfers are included if you have booked a package holiday with us, unless you have booked a budget package holiday where transfers can be added for £15pp. Private transfers can also be arranged from £35 one way. Please note we do not provide transfer vouchers in your ticket pack for standard transfers, however it will be displayed on your invoice confirmation.
The average transfer takes around 30 minutes depending on the drop off and collection point. The longest transfer is still under an hour.
Q: I represent a charity, can I have excess baggage?
Charity excess is only given to ‘registered’ charities on our Monarch flights and you will be required to supply a registered charity number.
- Due to the high number of charity requests it is done on a first come first serve basis.
- Airline restrictions mean our charity allowance is limited per flight.
- We are not able to give excess if you are travelling on a Thomas Cook flight.
An alternative option would be to freight goods, which is also less expensive. This can be done through ‘Redcoat Travel’ on 01293 522440. Please contact Administration on 0845 330 2044 or at email@example.com for excess availability.
Q: I need extra baggage allowance, can you arrange that?
Our standard baggage allowance for holidaymakers is 20kg per person year round, unless you have booked a budget holiday in which case it is 15kg. If upgrading to Premium Class (winter only - subject to availability from London Gatwick) you would benefit from a 30 kilo allowance. For flight only customers, if travelling on a Flexible Ticket the standard allowance is 30kg. All other passengers travelling with Monarch Airlines in Winter will receive 25kg and in Summer 20kgs for packages and 30 kilos for flight only travel, exclusively with The Gambia Experience. We also have a limited amount of excess baggage which we can allocate but this is for registered charities only, and we cannot guarantee that unallocated excess baggage will be accepted. Generally speaking the cost of excess is £15 per extra kilo in each direction, however this is subject to change depending on the airline and excess baggage is not guaranteed to be checked in.
Infants travelling with Monarch and who are under the age of 2 years old at the time of travel, will receive 10 kg of hold baggage. Pushchairs, prams and car seats will continue to be carried free of charge. Travel cots will be weighed as part of the 10 kg allowance. Infants must be under 2 years on both the Oubound and Inbound sector.
Q: Who do I tell about special requests?
If you have any special requests for your holiday accommodation or flights, please ensure they are requested at the time of booking as procedures for flight requests vary from airline to airline and they require as much notice as possible. We shall be pleased to pass on your request to the airline or hotel, however we cannot guarantee that they will be met.
Q: When will I receive my tickets?
These can be expected 2 weeks prior to your date of travel and will include our guide which we hope you will find useful. For security reasons, tickets can only be posted to the billing address.
If you have originated from Banjul and amend your ticket in the UK, the ticket will be available to collect at the airport on the day of travel. Tickets for UK passengers who have booked close to the departure date, will also be issued at the airport on the day of travel, so you will need to allow sufficient time for collection. Unless you are advised otherwise, please collect your tickets from the Ace Handling representative who will be near the check in desk indicated beside your flight number on the departure screens. For passengers travelling from LGW, the Ace Handling Desk is located in zone G at the South terminal.
Q: What is the currency in The Gambia and how can I pay?
The Gambia's currency is the Dalasi, with £1 Sterling buying around 50 Dalasi in March 2013 in exchange bureaus, in hotels rates vary from 46 to 48 Dalasi. As with all currencies, the Dalasi rate to the Pound can fluctuate. Dalasi is available in the UK but you will get a better exchange rate in The Gambia. Currency can easily be obtained at most hotels, banks or bureaux de change and there are a few ATM's where cash can be obtained from a VISA card. The largest note that is available is the 100D and the smallest is 5D - it is always worth trying to keep your smaller denominations as many stall traders will not have enough small notes for change if you pay with a larger note.
Although some restaurants and hotels in The Gambia do accept credit cards, it is not wise to rely on them. Debit cards are still more restricted; Solo, Visa Electron and Switch cards are not accepted. You should always check that your card will be accepted and whether there is any surcharge. At some hotels your bill will be converted into US dollars prior to it appearing as a sterling amount on your statement. This may result in some exchange rate surcharges.
Travellers Cheques and sterling cash can be changed without a problem. We advise that you don't take Amex Travellers Cheques in dollars as you will get a poor rate when exchanging them. The new currency cards are not yet known about in detail and if used may attract a charge.
Q: I am travelling on to Senegal, do I need the yellow fever inoculation?
We advise that you consult your doctor prior to booking as certain medications may be recommended. There are no compulsory vaccinations to visit Senegal and vaccinations would not be essential for a day excursion, however as always we would strongly suggest you take anti malaria tablets.
Q: Can I book an excursion?
We offer an extensive programme of excursions and tours through our agent West African Tours, which can be booked in The Gambia. Payment can be in Dalasi, Sterling or by Mastercard, the surcharge is 5%, however this can be subject to change. We are not able to accept visa credit cards for excursions.
Q: What form of payment do you accept in the UK?
Debit cards (no handling charge)
- Visa Electron (through our call centre)
Credit cards (will incur a 2% handling charge)
- American Express
Unfortunately we are not able to accept Solo cards.
Cheques made payable to The Gambia Experience and your holiday reference added to the reverse of the cheque along with your name and address.
- Account number: 06019129
- Sort code: 60-18-46
Please quote your booking reference number on all bank transfer transactions.
Q: What is the weather like?
Located midway between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, The Gambia enjoys virtually uninterrupted sunshine and high daytime temperatures with almost no rainfall from November to June. On the coast, The Gambia experiences only small fluctuations in temperature from winter to summer; however from July to October the humidity level is high as the tropical sun is interrupted by short but spectacular showers. Although the months of heaviest rainfall are August and September, we have found that it has not detracted from our clients' enjoyment of their holiday. Nevertheless, a lightweight rain mac or umbrella may prove useful in these months. Between January and April, evenings and early mornings can be cooler than people expect. For those planning to travel inland away from the coast and the benefit of the sea breezes, it is important to note that temperatures during the summer can reach 42°C.
To view a climate chart - Click here
Q: What medicines should I take with me?
We would advise that you take medicines to treat dehydration, small ailments, stomach upsets, insect bites and cuts, along with mosquito repellent and sun tan creams, as such items are expensive and not always available in The Gambia. A practice which should be avoided in any hot climate is drinking very cold drinks straight after coming out of the hot sun as this can cause stomach upsets. Bottled water can be bought in most hotels and supermarkets at a reasonable price. A Department of Health leaflet (Ref T7.1) "Health Advice to Travellers" is available from your GP, Travel Agent or can be downloaded from www.dh.gov.uk.
Q: What happens if there is a delay?
Occasionally, despite the best efforts of all concerned, flights are delayed for reasons beyond our personal control. If a long delay occurs, we will always do our best to provide a snack or meal when appropriate and in the case of an overnight delay, suitable accommodation. If we are made aware of a potential delay we will do our very best to advise you, again this is another reason why you must reconfirm your flight.
Please note that the choice of accommodation for flight delays is made by the airline and is not part of your original package holiday.
Q: How do I voice my feedback on my holiday?
To assist us to improve our service and ensure standards are maintained, we will be most grateful if you would take the time to complete our questionnaire in resort and return it to our resort staff prior to your departure. We will also donate £10 to the Gambia Experience Schools Project for every 100 questionnaires received. Your details will also be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a holiday to The Gambia by completing the questionnaire.
We are also a member of the consumer review site Feefo, which enables us to gather independent and honest reviews from our customers. We hope it will also allow future customers to decide whether to visit The Gambia as a holiday destination. You will receive an email within 21 days of your return and we would appreciate your participation.
Q: What about travel insurance?
Insurance is a must. We feel it is so important that we insist you either take our special travel insurance or arrange a policy yourself at the time of booking which must provide cover equal to our own standard policy.
If you have taken our insurance and have booked online or have received an email confirmation from us, the insurance policy will appear as a PDF link within your emailed invoice. If you receive a posted invoice, the insurance policy will be in the form of a booklet. In both cases your booking reference acts as the policy number and your invoice is the insurance certificate.
Q: What are the beaches like?
The coastline of The Gambia does suffer from erosion. The beaches were replenished at the end of 2003 and although some have since suffered again there are still wide sandy beaches at Kotu, Bijilo, Banjul and Cape Point.
Q: Are mosquitoes a major problem?
Mosquitoes are most active around late afternoon and through the evening. We strongly recommend the use of a good insect repellent to prevent being bitten, in conjunction with anti-malarial tablets as prescribed by your doctor.
Q: Is the Gambia safe? I've heard stories of hassling.
Gambians are friendly and hospitable people. Crime against tourists is low. Some Gambians have chosen to make their living outside the hotels and on the beach selling excursions, handicrafts and fruit or offering to show tourists around the local area. However, not all tourists appreciate the attention of these boys who can sometimes be persistent to the point of being a nuisance but not alarming or threatening. Nightclubs outside of resort areas are not recommended. Please speak to your representative first.
Q: Are there many restaurants in The Gambia?
A noticeable change over the last few years has been the increase in the number of restaurants offering quality dining for excellent value and The Gambia is gaining an international reputation with more quality chefs from around the world now living and working in the country.
There is a wide variety of restaurants in The Gambia ranging from casual beach bars to formal gourmet dining, serving a range of cuisine from Italian to Lebanese. Of particular note is the abundance of freshly caught seafood including lady fish, barracuda, snapper, butter fish, lobster and huge Atlantic prawns. Vegetarians are increasingly catered for; many hotels and restaurants will offer a vegetarian dish and some will accommodate with dishes made to order. Click here for our restaurant guide.
The dress code in most restaurants is casual, but in the evening gentlemen are usually required to wear long trousers.
Prices vary with a good 3 course evening meal in a top quality restaurant costing on average about £30 per person excluding drinks and service and a simple meal and beer can cost under £12 per person.
Depending on your hotel, some of the restaurants may be a taxi ride away but these can be pre-booked with waiting time until you are ready to return to your hotel.
Q: Is there any time difference between here and The Gambia?
The Gambia is on GMT, so there is no time difference. During British Summer Time, The Gambia is 1 hour behind us here in the UK.
With only 6 hours flying time from the UK and no jet lag you can be relaxing by the pool by late afternoon, sipping a cocktail and watching the sun set. In fact long weekends, flying out on a Friday and returning on the Tuesday are becoming more popular for a quick 4 day break relaxing in the sun.
Q: Do the hotels have WiFi access?
Increasingly the hotels do have WiFi access, usually in the reception area although some do have access in the rooms. There may be a charge locally for this access. Please check regarding individual hotels and be aware that telephone and internet connections in The Gambia can be erratic with often weak connections.
Q: Does The Gambia have watersports?
Surf can be high with strong undercurrents on the coast of The Gambia, so some activities may not be advisable. The Gambia does not offer paragliding or waterskiing activities and we would recommend you seek further advice from your local representative or our resort office on the forecast and on what sports are available.
The Gambia is not suitable for diving as The Atlantic Ocean does not give The Gambia crystal clear waters and there may be strong undercurrents in places.
Q: Can I stay on an ‘All-inclusive’ board basis in The Gambia?
Generally speaking many hotels situated in the busier resorts of The Gambia offer a 'Bed & Breakfast' board basis, due to the affordability of meals and drinks, plus the accessibility of restaurants in the hotels and surrounding areas. At The Gambia Experience, we encourage clients to support the local economy as part of our commitment to Sustainable Tourism where possible, although January 2010 saw the introduction of an 'All-inclusive' option at the Sheraton Gambia Hotel. Buffet style dining is available with the added benefit of choosing from the à la carte menus at an additional cost, varying your meal options.
Q: What type of clothing should I wear?
Generally take clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting, preferably cotton; we also recommend a hat as protection against the strong midday sun. Although dress is not formal, in the evenings most hotels and restaurants require gentlemen to wear shirts and long trousers. A jumper may come in handy for early morning excursions, although for most other tours we would recommend shorts and T shirts.
Q: Is there poverty?
The standard of living in The Gambia is obviously much lower than ours as it is a developing country, so poverty and begging are common. Having said this, most Gambians are extremely hospitable and it is not uncommon for locals to invite tourists to their homes. If you wish to visit a compound, a bag of rice would be an ideal gift, the cost being approximately £20.
Q: What about insects?
These are an unpleasant fact of life, especially in hot climates. The hotels we feature take what steps they can but total eradication is not possible.
Q: Can I go on safari?
The Gambia has no migrating wildebeest, giraffes or any of the large animals commonly associated with Africa. However without leaving your hotel you can see a breathtaking variety of bird life, in addition to monkeys and lizards. Baboons and crocodiles can be seen nearby and then far up the river, hippos.
Q: How easy is it to get around in The Gambia?
It must be stressed that good road surfaces are only on the main highways, traffic and direction signs are still limited outside the greater Banjul area, however the road quality on the main highways has improved over the past several years. There is no rail service but you will find taxis readily available outside your hotel.
Taxis can be hired for a specific journey or for a half or full day, in both cases it is best to agree the price in advance; there should be a price board together with a taxi supervisor to help. The taxi waiting time is charged at approximately £2.00 per hour, but often the first couple of waiting hours are free. Bush taxis are available which are often very crowded but offer a very economical way of travelling and a way of absorbing part of the local flavour.
Car and motorbike hire is available for the more independent, although can be rather expensive and definitely not recommended. Please contact our Resort Office for details. Another method of transport gaining popularity is the bicycle, which allows you to explore the area around the hotel at a leisurely pace, but be sure to remember that they drive on the right-hand side of the road and at times with little driving etiquette!
Q: What language do they speak in The Gambia?
English is the official language and language of instruction in most schools (The Gambia is a former British Colony). However, various tribal languages are used by the Gambians to converse between themselves.
Q: Can I take photos or videos?
Please ask first as not everyone likes to be photographed, particularly uniformed personnel such as the police, military and government organisations.
Q: What is The Gambia's smoking policy?
The Gambia has introduced a smoking ban in public places which includes enclosed restaurants, bars, hotel receptions and some rooms. Banjul airport is also non-smoking, however there is an outdoor bar area near the departure lounge.
Q: Is there a problem with electricity?
Unfortunately The Gambia does have problems with main electric supply, however most hotels have their own back up generator, although when used for long periods they do need to have a cooling period after a certain number of running hours. Any disruption in supply can effect the efficiency of air-conditioning and supply of hot water during periods of high demand.
Due to fluctuations in current and weather conditions, facilities can be affected and on occasion, repairs can take time.