Gambia Travel Information

Last modified: September 26, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

For visits of less than a month, you don’t need to get a visa before you travel. British nationals are given a 28 day stamp in their passports on arrival. You can get further 28-day extensions from the Immigration Office in Banjul or the Tourist Police Stations in the Tourism Development Area.

If you’re planning to enter The Gambia for a period longer than 3 months, check entry requirements with the Gambian High Commission in London.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Airport Development and Security Fee

A compulsory Airport Development Fee must be paid on exiting the country. The fee is 20 euros, or equivalent in local currency. Visa credit card is accepted, but no others. Passengers in transit and infants under 2 years old are exempt. Check with your travel company whether this fee has been included in your air ticket.

A compulsory Airport Security Fee must be paid upon entering and exiting the country. The fee is 20 dollars, or equivalent in euros, sterling or local currency. This will be collected via marked kiosks in Banjul International Airport. Visa credit card is accepted. Children below 2 years of age and passengers in transit are exempt.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Safety and security

Political situation

In January 2017, The Gambia experienced a peaceful handover of power to President Adama Barrow and his coalition government.

There were a series of political protests in The Gambia in December 2019 and January 2020, primarily in the Kombo districts. You should avoid large gatherings and protests in public areas, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Attacks on tourists are increasing, particularly the theft of passports and other valuables from hotel rooms. Don’t take valuables or large sums of money to the beach, or display them in public. Take particular care when visiting isolated beaches and markets.

Both male and female visitors should be particularly cautious of young men locally known as ‘bumsters’ who approach tourists, particularly on beaches, offering help or to act as local guides. Be polite but firm in refusing unwanted help or attempts at conversation. Visitors should also be wary of offers, usually from ‘bumsters’, to take them on tours into Senegal. It is unlikely that the correct immigration procedures, which might include getting a visa for Senegal, will be followed. This could result in detention by immigration authorities.

Don’t leave valuables in unattended vehicles. Take particular care in unlit areas or in places away from the Tourist Development Area.

Corruption is endemic at all levels.

Local travel

Travel in The Gambia is reasonably safe as long as you take sensible precautions to safeguard your personal possessions.

There are a number of checkpoints operating in and around the capital Banjul. Expect your vehicle to be searched if you’re stopped by security forces.

Road travel

You can drive using a UK driving licence for up to 3 months upon your first entry into the Gambia. After 3 months you can apply for a Gambian driving licence using your UK driving licence as proof of driving competence. You should apply to the Gambia Police Force Licensing Department. The documents required for the application include proof of residency in the Gambia, your valid UK driving licence and a copy of your passport.

If you’re a diplomat then you can channel your application through the Gambia Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they will advise you on what you need to provide to facilitate this process. They will process your application on your behalf. The same procedure is also applicable for International Non-Governmental Organizations, United Nations Agencies, and other diplomatic missions in the Gambia.

Driving standards are bad and roads severely potholed. Driving after dark carries added hazards because of poor road and vehicle lighting. In the event of an accident, emergency medical facilities are very limited. Security checkpoints are common on all major routes in The Gambia. They are not always well sign-posted and you should take care when approaching them.

Rainfall occurs in The Gambia between June-October. Heavy rainfall can create localised flooding. Take care if you’re going up-country or travelling on non-paved roads during this period.

Some local taxis are not roadworthy.

River travel

Take care when using the ferry between Banjul and Barra. It can be very crowded and safety measures are not up to European standards. When using the ferry get out of your vehicle quickly after parking to avoid becoming trapped inside for the duration of the journey. Don’t use the ferry after dark.

Pirogues (wooden dug-out canoes) operate in The Gambia. These can be overloaded and safety measures are not up to European standards. They are not recommended for long journeys and you should make sure they have life jackets.

Click here to see : Safety and security

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