Gambia, located in West Africa, is the smallest country on the African mainland. The west coast has a narrow border with the Atlantic Ocean, while the country is spread across both the banks of the River Gambia, its namesake.
Gambia was once a Portuguese colony, and much of the architecture here reveals Portuguese influence. The people here were also once victims of slave trading. The earliest history of the region can be traced back to the ninth and tenth centuries through the writings of Arab travelers.
The country is home to the Mandinka ethnic group, along with the Fula, Jahanka, Bambara, Wolof, and many others. Several ethnic languages are spoken here as well, some of which are considered endangered. A visit to this country will give you an insight into African ethnic life. Make sure you purchase
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
before leaving for your trip to Gambia to cover yourself in case of any unexpected accidents, illnesses, or injuries.
Things to Do for Travelers in Gambia
Gambia has several attractions of interest for you to explore.
- Watching crocodiles at Kachikally: If you want to watch crocodiles in their natural habitat, then head to the Kachikally Crocodile Pool. You will find them basking in the sunlight. You can also see them, along with several other birds and animals, at the Abuko Nature Reserve.
- Relaxing by the Beach: While Gambia has a very narrow coastline, people here have made the most of it. The beaches are unspoiled and pristine. You can walk along the shore and then come back to relax at the beachfront hotels. Swimming in the warm waters is sure to rejuvenate you, and sunbathing here is a blissful experience.
- Exploring Banjul: Banjul, the capital of Gambia, has some very interesting landmarks. Arch 22 is simple and stunning, and you will have a great time exploring the Albert Market as you shop for knickknacks and trinkets. Banjul has a beach, too, where you can enjoy boating. The beach resorts serve delectable and authentic African seafood. You can then head for the crafts market at Bacau.
- Birdwatching along Gambia River: Both the banks of the Gambia River have a thriving ecosystem, and they are a birdwatcher’s paradise. Many renowned ornithologists visit Gambia each year for this experience. These exotic birds are hardly sighted anywhere else, and some of them are endangered. You can also spot many rare orchids blooming if they are in season.
- Take a Cooking Class: Yes, if you love to try out new cuisines and would love to try your hand at African food, this is where you should do it. Some of the luxury resorts and eco-lodges hold regular cooking classes. There are also private instructors and trainers, as well. This can be a revelation for those who have little knowledge about African cuisine.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Gambia
While Gambia is one of the safest African countries to travel to, there are still some risks you should watch out for.
- Internet Fraud: Like in many other African countries, internet fraud is common in Gambia. It is just a way of making money for unscrupulous people. Just make sure you do not give away your card or bank details, no matter how reliable the person might appear.
- Bumsters: Yes, bumsters are a perpetual problem in Gambia. They are young men who approach unsuspecting strangers and act as the epitome of charm. They mostly target young women. The reason can be something as trivial as trying to get a free meal or even offering marriage to get out of the country with the U.S. or European citizen. Just be polite and firmly decline any unsolicited help from anyone.
- Petty Street Crimes: Street crimes are not common in the daytime, especially in urban areas, but you cannot be too careful. Try to avoid secluded roads, and guard your wallets in busy marketplaces because pickpockets have a way of getting them. Do not leave your belongings unattended while you are on the beach and you decide to go for a swim.
- Malaria: Gambia records a high number of cases of malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses each year. Other tropical diseases like tetanus, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and yellow fever are also common. Try to avoid roadside shacks for your food and drinks, as not all of them are made from treated water, increasing the chances of waterborne diseases.
- Dehydration: As an African country, Gambia can get very hot, and you could suffer from dehydration if you end up sunbathing for too long. Always carry sunscreen and drink a lot of fluids. Walking the streets at noon when the sun is highest can be exhausting.
Gambia Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Medical insurance can pay for the cost of treatment should you fall sick or if you are injured during your stay in Gambia.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Gambia?
You are not legally required to buy travel medical insurance before arriving in Gambia, but you can be covered in case certain unforeseen medical expenses come up.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Gambia?
Gambia is undoubtedly an amazing country, but freak accidents and injuries can happen at any time. You could be infected with one of the tropical illnesses, or you could unwittingly suffer dehydration in the intense African heat. Gambia travel medical insurance can cover the cost of treatment should things worsen and you need hospitalization.
Gambia Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Gambia trip cancellation insurance is meant to provide coverage against sudden cancellations for your pre-paid bookings so that you do not end up paying for a cancelled trip.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Gambia?
Trip cancellation insurance in Gambia can ensure that you do not have to bear the expenses from your pocket if the service providers cancel your arrangements. The insurance provider can cover the costs in case your flights or any other bookings are cancelled. You could also get insurance coverage if you cancel the trip due to some unexpected issues. Make sure your insurance includes this condition.
Trip cancellation insurance benefits can help reimburse you for any prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you have to cancel your trip for a reason covered in your policy’s certificate wording. Be sure to read the fine print for an understanding of what reasons would (and wouldn’t) be covered.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Gambia?
Gambia trip cancellation insurance can cover the following:
- Loss of baggage
- Flight cancellation
- Gambia River cruise cancellation
- Trip cancellation
- Hotel booking cancellation
- Car rental cancellations
Before You Travel to Gabon - Do This
- Make sure you are carrying adequate mosquito repellant sprays, or get them as soon as you land. This is the best way to protect yourself against mosquitoes and avoid malaria if you are not immunized.
- Get immunized for tropical diseases like typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, and cholera.
- Book your travel guides in advance so that you do not have to search for one after you have landed. This can help you avoid falling prey to the bumsters.
- Do not travel alone at secluded roads, and hire only from licensed rental companies. Like in other African countries, unregistered drivers roam the streets in Gambia as well, and it is never safe travelling with them.
- Gambia is a beautiful African country, and if you get travel insurance before coming here, you will enjoy your vacation with more peace of mind. Just enter some basic travel information, compare a vast variety of plans side by side, and pick the one with coverage that best matches your budget, itinerary, and destination.