Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together a list of travel advice which will help answer common questions often asked by our customers before travelling to The Gambia. 

If you have any other questions that are not covered in this section, please do not hesitate to contact our reservations team on 01489 866999 or email your question to us »

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Q: When will I receive my tickets?

We are now sending out travel documents via email and these can be expected around two weeks prior to your travel date. Your flight timings will be those shown in your travel documents email, please check them carefully as soon as you receive them as the airline may have changed these since the time of booking.

To help you prepare for your holiday, please refer to our digital Gambia guidebook for package holidays or to our digital travel advice booklet for flight only.

 

Q: What is the currency in The Gambia and how can I pay?

The Gambia's currency is the dalasi, with £1 sterling currently buying around 70-75 dalasis (as at April 2023) in local exchange bureaux. Rates in hotels vary. As with all currencies, the dalasi rate to the pound can fluctuate. Dalasis are available in the UK but you will get a better exchange rate in The Gambia. Currency can easily be obtained at the airport, most hotels, banks or bureaux de change and there are a few ATMs where cash can be obtained from a VISA card. The largest note that is available is a D200 and the smallest is D5 - 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 accept credit cards, it is not wise to rely on them. Debit cards are still more restricted; Visa Electron and Maestro 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 are no longer accepted but sterling cash can be changed without a problem. The Bank of England withdrew legal tender status of the old style paper £20 and £50 notes on 30th September 2022; most banks or hotels in The Gambia no longer accept these notes.  They will accept the new style notes.   

The new currency cards are not yet known about in detail and if used may attract a charge.

Q: Do you need vaccinations to visit The Gambia?

Although vaccination 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 GPs 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 you are travelling to Gambia from the EU you are not required to show a 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 nine months of age travelling from The Gambia into Senegal or vice versa, travelling from Senegal into The Gambia.

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 and the Department of Health leaflet (Ref T7.1) “Health Advice to Travellers” is available free from your GP, travel agent or online.

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 at least until the date of arrival back in the UK. 

To travel on a one way flight you must be a Gambian national, have proof of return or onward travel or have a visa / residency permit. Please check with the Gambia 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 020 7229 8066.

Q. Will a representative visit my hotel?

In The Gambia we have a large resort team year-round who visit the hotels every day except Sunday to help guests make the most of their holiday. Our reps do not currently visit any of our Unique Collection properties, Leo's Beach Hotel or White Horse Residence, as these all offer their own personal service. If numbers are low in a particular property we may arrange visits by appointment, your representative's phone number will be provided and they will make contact with you at the start of your stay.

In Senegal, the hotels look after our guests and telephone numbers will be provided in case we can assist in any way.

Q: What happens if I test positive for Covid-19 in resort?

If you test positive in your destination before you’re due to return home to the UK, you’ll need to inform your representative,  your insurance company and your hotel as soon as possible. You’ll then need to follow the specific guidance given to you by your insurance company, which may include the need to self-isolate in a medical facility or your hotel room and our resort team will be on hand to assist you.

 

Q: I need extra baggage allowance, can you arrange that?

Our standard baggage allowance for package holidays is 20kg per person year round on our own charter flights.

It is not generally possible to purchase additional luggage (although we occasionally have special luggage promotions) and we cannot guarantee that unallocated excess baggage will be accepted.

During our winter season, we have a limited amount of excess baggage which we can allocate for registered charities only, please contact our Admin Team on 01489 866901 for more information and availability. This is allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Generally speaking excess baggage will be charged at £15 per kilo in each direction at the airport, however this is subject to change depending on the airline and excess baggage is not guaranteed to be checked in.

If upgrading to Star Class on Titan Airways flights from Gatwick, you will benefit from an allowance of 30kg and if upgrading to Star Plus, an allowance of 40kg.

Infants under the age of two years old at the time of travel will receive a complimentary 10kg hold baggage allowance. In addition a collapsible pushchair and car seat will be carried free of charge. Travel cots will be weighed as part of the infant allowance. Infants must be under two years of age on both sectors of the journey.

Q: Are the hotel gradings the same as European destinations?

As a developing country, hotels, service levels and gradings in The Gambia cannot be compared to those in European destinations, although there is some excellent quality accommodation on offer. We continue to use our own grading system, which is represented with a hibiscus flower and based on the views of our customers and our own 30 years of experience. Properties within our Unique Collection do not have a grading attributed to them. We consider these to have unique features and so are hard to classify despite offering quality accommodation.

Whilst we closely monitor quality in all our featured properties, we also operate our own awards scheme to recognise those hotels offering consistently high levels of quality and service to our customers.

 

Q: What is my hand luggage entitlement?

On our winter flights the hand luggage allowance is 6kg with Titan Airways and TUI Airways. During the summer the allowance is 5kg with Enter Air.

Dimensions differ from airline to airline but should be no larger than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm.

Please ensure that your hand luggage does not contain any sharp objects. Some airlines only allow 1 piece of hand baggage per passenger, including ladies handbags and laptops.

Q: I represent a charity, can I have excess baggage?

If you are travelling as part of a charity we will do our very best to accommodate your extra luggage requirements.

We have a limited allowance per flight for charity excess on our Gatwick flights, this is subject to availability and only given to registered charities. To receive a maximum of 5kg per person charity luggage, you will be required to supply a registered charity number.

  • Due to the high number of charity requests we receive this is on a first come first serve basis.
  • Airline restrictions mean our charity allowance is limited per flight, once it is allocated we cannot exceed this allowance.

Please contact Administration on 01489 866901 or at admin@gambia.co.uk for availability.

An alternative option would be to freight goods, which is also less expensive. This can be done through ‘Redcoat Travel’ on 01293 522440.

Q: What are the beaches like?

The Gambia is renowned for its uncrowded, sandy beaches and there are beautiful, wide stretches of sand in most resorts. The coastline around the resort area of Kololi suffers from ongoing erosion from the strong Atlantic currents; although a replenishment project is planned and it remains a popular resort with holiday-makers. There are wide sandy beaches at Kotu, Bijilo, Banjul and Cape Point. Read more about the beaches in The Gambia here.

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. We also offer holidays to the Fathala Wildlife Reserve, which is located just across the border in neighbouring Senegal. Here you can stay in luxurious air-conditioned safari tents and go on game drives to see lions, zebra, giraffes, rhinos, antelopes and many more.

Q: Can I book an excursion?

We offer an extensive program of excursions and tours from private 4WD tours to relaxing boat trips on the river through our agent Discovery Tours, which can be booked in The Gambia. See a full list of excursions. Payment can be in dalasi or  sterling. We also accept Visa with a surcharge of 5% - this can be subject to change without notice. Unfortunately we are currently unable to accept MasterCard credit or debit cards for excursions.

The easiest way to find out more and to book is by attending the welcome meeting with your representative, although a couple of excursions such as Ida's Home Cooking Experience and Malick Suso's Birdwatching can also be pre-booked in the UK to avoid disappointment.

Some of the smaller, more remote, unique properties, which do not have a representatives visit, offer their own excursion programme on request.

Q: Does The Gambia have watersports?

The surf can be high with strong undercurrents on the coast of The Gambia, so some activities may not be advisable. As a general rule, The Gambia does not offer paragliding, waterskiing or watersports activities. 

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: 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: How easy is it to get around in The Gambia?

Most main roads in the greater Banjul area are now tarmac but away from the tourist areas and pff the main roads they can be little more than dirt tracks. Traffic and direction signs are still limited, however the road quality has improved over the past several years.

There is no rail service but you will find green tourist 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. It is often difficult to find a tourist taxi outside of the tourist areas so it is advisable to pre-book your return journey.

Yellow taxis are generally used by the local community and can be shared or private. Prices are negotiable and they are generally cheaper than the tourist taxis however they are not allowed to go into the resort areas so you may have to walk to your hotel from the drop off point.

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 remember that they drive on the right-hand side of the road in The Gambia and sometimes with little driving etiquette, so always be extra careful on the highways!

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.

There is a high level of religious tolerance in The Gambia and crime against tourists is low so venturing outside the hotels is safe.

You will experience 'bumsters' who have chosen to make their living outside the hotels and on the beach selling excursions, handicrafts or offering to show tourists around the local area. Some can be persistent to the point of being a nuisance although The Gambia Tourist Board has successfully reduced the number of bumsters in recent years.

You will experience less hassle in Senegal although in both countries we would advise you to exercise caution and not show off valuables publicly as in any foreign country.

Nightclubs outside of resort areas are not recommended. Please speak to your representative first.

Q: How do I go about changing my booking?

Any amendments will be subject to availability and will incur amendment charges (except flexible tickets) in addition to any difference in costs. Further details can be obtained from our Admin Team on 01489 866901 or via email at admin@gambia.co.uk.  Amendments within 14 days of travel are not always possible and cancellation changes will apply.

If you are already in The Gambia and wish to amend your booking, please contact our Resort Office on 4461104 or 4460317 for a price and availability.

To extend a flight only ticket by a maximum of two weeks in resort would be a minimum of £160, subject to availability.

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 once you have travelled.

Q: Is there any time difference between here and The Gambia?

The Gambia is on GMT, so there is no time difference during the winter.

During the summer, whilst the UK is on British Summer Time, The Gambia is 1 hour behind us.

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.

Q: Can I take photos or videos?

Please ask first as not everyone likes to be photographed and you may be asked for payment in return. Uniformed personnel such as the police, military and government organisations generally will not accept photos being taken.

Q: What is The Gambia's smoking policy?

The Gambia has a smoking ban in public places including enclosed restaurants, bars and reception areas; in addition hotels now only allow smoking on the balcony or terrace of your room. Banjul Airport is also non-smoking, however there is an outdoor bar area near the departure lounge.

Q: What is Advance Passenger information (API)?

All airlines are required to collect Advance Passenger Information from all customers (including infants) travelling to and from the UK by air in advance of issuing tickets.

What information is needed per passenger?

  • Full name, as per your passport including any middle names.
  • Your date of birth.
  • The travel document 'type' e.g. passport.
  • Your nationality.
  • Passport Country of Issue.
  • Passport number, issue date and expiry date.

When is the information required by?

  • If we require this before issuing your tickets, this will be requested 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 may result in additional charges if a Ticket on Departure or Special Delivery is required to issue your tickets.

How can I provide this information?

  • You can enter these securely online under Manage My Booking or call our Admin Team with your passport details.

 

Q: Are my seat numbers guaranteed?

Although seats are pre-bookable and we will endeavour to provide the allocated seat numbers depending on availability, they may be subject to change at short notice. This can happen if there is an unexpected change in aircraft or for medical reasons or to accommodate larger groups or families with children.

Single travellers allocated in seats leaving a single empty seat beside them are likely to be re-allocated closer to departure.

Q: Can I book upgraded/leg room seats for my return flight in The Gambia?

Yes, although this will of course be subject to availability. Please check with your hotel representative or with our Resort Office.

If you wish to book the air-conditioned Banjul Airport 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 is from £20 per person.

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: Are transfers included?

Transfers are included in our package holidays

Private transfers can also be arranged from £40 one way. Please note we do not provide transfer vouchers in your ticket pack for standard transfers, however it will be displayed on your confirmation invoice. 

Q: Will I find Wi-Fi in my hotel?

A growing number of hotels do now have Wi-Fi access either in public areas or rooms, and some have internet cafes. There may be a charge locally for this. Please check regarding individual hotels and be aware that telephone and internet connections in The Gambia can be erratic with often weak connections.

 

 

Q: Is there a problem with electricity?

Unfortunately, The Gambia does have problems with the mains electric supply, however, most hotels have their own backup 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 affect the efficiency of air-conditioning and the supply of hot water during periods of high demand.

Due to strong fluctuations in current and weather conditions, facilities can be affected and on occasion, repairs can take time, due to the sourcing and delivery of spare parts, which are not available locally in The Gambia.

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?

Bank transfers

  • Account name: Serenity Holidays
  • Account number: 06019129
  • Sort code: 60-18-46

Please quote your G******* booking reference number on all bank transfer transactions

Credit and Debit cards (no handling charge, unless a business credit card is used when a 1.6% charge will apply)

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Visa Electron
  • Delta

Unfortunately, we are not able to accept Solo or American Express cards

Cheques

Please make payable to The Gambia Experience and add your holiday reference to the reverse of the cheque along with your name and address.

Q: Are there car rental options for tourists?

Car and motorbike rentals are available in The Gambia, however, it is not recommended. Car hire can be very expensive and it is worth noting driving etiquette in The Gambia is very different to the UK. Should you hire a vehicle, always take extra care when driving on highways, and remember that the roads are a very different environment to UK roads.

Q. Do I need a visa to visit Senegal?

Visa are not required for British passport holders for entry into Senegal. Passports must be valid for six months from date of entry.

Other passport holders should contact the Embassy of Senegal for entry and visa requirements.

The telephone number for Senegal Embassy in London is 020 7938 4048.