The Gambia officially is the Republic of the Gambi, commonly known as Gambia, is a country in Western Africa. It is the smallest country on the African continental mainland and is bordered to the north, east and south by Senegal and has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Flowing through the centre of the country and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean is the Gambia River. Banjul is its capital. Gambia is an ideal place to escape the harsh winter months of Scandinavia where Europeans would enjoy not only sun, sand and Beaches but also experience the excitement of a real African holiday.
Capital : Banjul
Government : Republic under multiparty democratic rule
Location : Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 16 34 W
Area : 11,300 sq km
Population : 1,400,000
Nationality : Gambians
Ethnic groups : African 99% (Mandika 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%, non-African 1%
Time zone : GMT +0
Languages : English (official), Wolof, Fula, Mandingo
Religion : Muslim 90%, Christian 9%, Indigenous beliefs 1%
Currency : Dalasi (D)
Situated on the Atlantic coast in westernmost Africa and surrounded on three sides by Senegal, Gambia is twice the size of Delaware. The Gambia River flows for 200 mi (322 km) through Gambia on its way to the Atlantic. The country, the smallest on the continent, averages only 20 mi (32 km) in width.
While there are no surprises up Gambia’s sleeve in terms of temperatures, the heat is mildest along the coastline and the amount and duration of rainfall lessens as you head inland. November to March sees the least rain and most sun, with the mercury making a small climb during the day to peak consistently around 32° C (89 ° F).
Despite attempts at diversification, The Gambia's economy remains overwhelmingly dependent on the export of peanuts and their by products and the re-exporting of imported foreign goods to other African nations. About three quarters of the population is employed in agriculture. Rice, millet, sorghum, corn, and cassava are grown for subsistence, and cattle, sheep, and goats are raised. There is also a fishing industry. The main industrial activities centre on the processing of agricultural products and some light manufacturing.
Tourism, which suffered following the 1994 military takeover, rebounded in the late 1990s. Besides peanut products, dried and smoked fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, and hides and skins are exported; foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery, and transportation equipment are imported. India, Great Britain, China, and Senegal are the country's leading trading partners. The Gambia is one of the world's poorest nations and relies heavily on foreign aid.
The Gambia's population density of 92 people per square kilometres makes it the fourth most densely populated country in Africa. Eight different ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Mandinkas, traditionally farmers, the Fulani, traditionally herders, and the Wollof, mainly traders, live peacefully together in The Gambia. Though each group speaks its own language, English is commonly spoken and is the official language of the country .Not only is there no ethnic strife in The Gambia but there is increasing cultural interaction and intermarriage, making the country a West African melting pot. The population is predominantly Muslim with more than 90% following Islam.
ART AND CULTURE
The Gambia has a strong musical tradition, often associated with weddings, feast-days such as the end of Ramadan, or Christmas. Traditional instruments include the kora (lute), bala (xylophone), and the tama (hand-held drum). Though the majority of the population is Muslim, Christmas brings a celebration with large lanterns called fanals, often in the shape of boats or houses and intricately decorated. The fanals are paraded through the streets to singing and chanting.
The traditional kind of clothing for Gambian women and men tends to be long and free flowing clothes. For women they tend to wear clothes down to their feet as well as up to their wrists. This is
called a grandmuba which comes with an under garment called a malan which is a couple of metres of cloth which is wrapped around the waist as an underskirt. Such traditional apparel tends to come in a multitude of vivid colours, waxes and designs. The essential point is that such clothing should cover most parts of your body except for the hands and feet.
Ladies should cover their heads with a headdress called a musorr or Tiko. African women in the homes, doing chores or cooking, often wear a combination of Western and Africa styles, with tee-shirts or other blouse plus a wrapper. When out in public, women are more often seen in traditional garb (blouse and skirt from often brightly coloured fabric, plus head wraps) than in Western wear, though many businesswomen will wear Western-style dresses with an African flare.
As with men, young women and girls are seen in American-style clothing more often than the older ladies do. For special occasions, such as weddings or naming ceremonies, both men and women usually abandon the plain cotton and opt for African clothing made from beautifully coloured and embroidered fabric, sometimes interwoven with strands of glimmering threads.
Keeping in line with the Muslim faith many men tend to wear the Kaftan (pronounced Haftan) which is worn in a very similar way to the grandmuba. It is a full-dress, ankle-length, long-sleeve clothing which is also known as the fataro, jalabe or shabado. A variation of this is the 3 piece suit called nyeti abdu which comes with trousers called a chaya or the waramba. Such dress for men is very often embroidered in elaborate gold coloured thread on the chest area and sometimes the end of the sleeves and back area. This male attire is topped off with a skull cap which is also usually embroidered in elaborate designs along the rim.
African men are most often seen in Western-style clothing, especially the younger crowd, but there are some that always wear African style clothing of pants with matching, lengthy top, called a Haftan. Many males wear a Haftan or waramba (a more loose-fitting robe) on Fridays, dressing up for the customary visit to the mosque. One of the most notable things about men’s fashion is the colour of the clothing. While few American males would feel comfortable in magenta or baby violet, clothing for men is perfectly acceptable in any colour in The Gambia, pastels and all shades of pink not withstanding. Before such clothing can be worn it is usually waxed and beaten with wooden mallets to create a stiff shiny cloth.
Schoolchildren wear uniforms to classes, whether they receive a private or public education—girls in dresses and boys in shirt and shorts, both with the name of their school featured on a breast pocket.
Gambia is a small country in West Africa with many offers to the visitors. Some of the popular Gambian cuisines you can always ask for are Benechin, Domoda, Super– kanja, Mbahal, chicken Yassa and many more. Please to talk to any of your travel guides and you will be given the real taste of the smiling coast. The Gambia has over the years expanded its scope on restaurants offering quality dining for excellent value and is gaining an international reputation with more 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.
The dress code in most restaurants is casual, but in the evening gentlemen is usually required to wear long trousers. Depending on your hotel, some of the restaurants may be a taxi ride away but these are reasonably priced and can be pre-booked with waiting time until you are ready to return to your hotel. Of particular note is the abundance of freshly caught seafood including ladyfish, barracuda, snapper, butterfish, 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.
Interestingly in the Gambia, there are many local dishes that many visitors do always like, they are very rich nutrition wise and are provided by the local vegetable producers that are known for their all
year round farming in the gardens. These vegetables are very fresh with high sense of storage facility by the catering service provider. The uniqueness attached to the Gambian Catering industry is in no doubt with the highly trained Gambian veteran cooks with great international recognition around the world, Gambia is a leading tourist destination with many reasons in the move to always maintained the edge over its key competitors in the sub region.
With the locally prepared food and beverages Gambia is second to non in terms of just meeting your expectations at all times. Whiles in the Gambia why not take your time to eat and as well as learn to cook these Gambian cuisines with less labor and very time friendly time.
The capital city is on the tip of a peninsula at the mouth of the River Gambia. The center of town is MacCarthy Square, a public park, with Albert Market to the east, and the deep water port with its wharves and jetties to the south. Because the city is locked on an island, the nearby towns of Bakau, Fajara and Serrakunde are rapidly expanding.
Visitors won't want to miss Albert Market with its colours, smells, music, fabrics and crafts. Popular souvenirs include batik, gold and silver filigree jewellery, wood carvings and leather goods. Tailors can quickly make clothes to order at reasonable prices. The National Museum of Gambia on Independence Drive houses wooden carvings, old maps and photos of the country. Arch 22, the city gate commemorating the Second Republic of the Gambia following the bloodless July 1994 coup, has a museum, cafe and great views of the area from the top. Day cruises through the mangrove creeks around Banjul are a popular excursion, with birds and monkeys to be spotted.
Visitors won't want to Miss Albert Market with its colours, smells, music, fabrics and crafts. Popular souvenirs include batik, gold and silver filigree jewellery, woodcarvings and leather goods. Tailors can quickly make clothes to order at reasonable prices. The National Museum of Gambia on Independence Drive houses wooden carvings, old maps and photos of the country. Arch 22, the city gate commemorating the Second Republic of the Gambia following the bloodless July 1994 coup, has a museum, cafe and great views of the area from the top. Day cruises through the mangrove creeks around Banjul are a popular excursion, with birds and monkeys to be spotted. Escaping the city, the visitor to The Gambia will discover the nearby Abuko Nature Reserve, only 15 miles from the city centre on the way to the airport. The reserve was established in 1977 to help protect and preserve The Gambia's flora and fauna for future generations. Open daily from 8-6, the reserve features diverse vegetation, 200 species of birds, monkeys, hyenas, antelope, hippos and crocodiles. Safaris can be arranged easily according to visitors' interests.
Juffureh, Forts Albreda and James, Tendaba Camp
The setting for Alex Haley's novel Roots, Juffureh is a traditional village, an easy trip from Banjul, and now a part of The Roots Homecoming Festival, an annual celebration of African heritage. This week-long festival features music, dance, workshops, excursions, and other activities designed to help visitors of African background discover their roots. At nearby Fort Albreda and Fort James, visitors can see many reminders of colonial history.
Tendaba Camp, 100 miles up-river from Banjul, was the country's first inland hotel, constructed to replicate an African village with traditional huts. The camp is a good starting point for daytrips by boat, for bird-watching, or to visit the West Kiang National Park.
Wassu Stone Circles
These circles are believed to be ancient burial mounds dating back 1200 years. Each circle consists of 10-24 massive stones dotting the landscape in the largest such concentration in West Africa. Theyare located on the northern side of the river, about 20 miles northwest of Georgetown.
River Gambia National Park (Baboon Island)
About 100 miles east of the Atlantic coast, the vegetation changes from swamps to thick forests, and many islands appear in the river. Five of these, the largest of which is Baboon Island, form a park known for its chimpanzee-rehabilitation project designed to reacclimatize chimps from labs and zoos to return to the wild.
Basset he Gambia's easternmost town, Basse is a lively settlement with trading houses from the turn of the century, shops, and a riverside market. For hikers and explorers, the town is a good starting point for trips to the interior.
For the next century, visitors to The Gambia can look forward to not just a blaze of greens and tropical flowering trees in the summer, an ornithologist's paradise, a country rich in history and ethnic diversity, but to the development of ecotourism, water sports and deep sea fishing. And all of this, of course, with a smile.
| Year || Amount |
| 2008 || 147, 000 |
OIC Tourism Directory