a flag on a flagpole
landscape photography of seashore
landscape photography of mountain

Is Gambia The Safe?

Gambia The is generally safe for tourists, though petty crime like bag snatching is common. Violent crime rates are low, but scams targeting foreigners occur. Political tensions can sometimes escalate into civil unrest. Malaria is a health risk, so antimalarials are advised. Respecting cultural norms, like modest dress, is important to avoid conflicts.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

Gambia is generally considered a safe travel destination, but visitors should exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. Here are some key points regarding safety in Gambia:

  • Petty Crime: Petty crimes like bag snatching, pickpocketing, and theft from vehicles occur, especially in urban areas and tourist hotspots. Remain vigilant and avoid displaying valuables.

  • Scams: Be cautious of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, fake tour guides, and bogus charity appeals.

  • Civil Unrest: While rare, political demonstrations and civil unrest can occur. Monitor local media and avoid large gatherings or protests.

  • Road Safety: Road conditions can be poor, and traffic accidents are common. Exercise caution when driving or using public transportation.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism is low, but attacks cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant in crowded areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • Disputes: Avoid confrontations or disputes, as they can escalate quickly. Seek assistance from local authorities or your embassy if needed.

  • Isolated Areas: Exercise caution when traveling to isolated or rural areas, as access to emergency services may be limited.

It's advisable to register with your embassy or consulate, purchase comprehensive travel insurance, and familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Gambia.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Gambia should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the country has made progress in improving healthcare, some challenges remain.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, and consider additional vaccines like yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies, depending on your travel plans.

  • Malaria: Malaria is a serious risk in Gambia. Antimalarial medication is strongly recommended, along with using insect repellent and mosquito nets.

  • Water and Food Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid undercooked meat, seafood, and unpasteurized dairy products to prevent waterborne and foodborne illnesses.

  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in urban areas like Banjul and Serekunda are generally adequate for basic care, but may lack advanced equipment and specialists. Comprehensive travel health insurance is advisable.

  • Air Pollution: Air pollution levels can be high in urban areas, potentially exacerbating respiratory conditions. Those with breathing difficulties should take precautions.

While taking reasonable precautions, most travelers can enjoy a safe and healthy trip to Gambia. Consult a travel health professional for personalized advice based on your specific needs and itinerary.

Natural Disasters

The Gambia is generally not prone to major natural disasters, but travelers should be aware of the following potential risks:

  • Flooding: The rainy season from June to October can bring heavy downpours and localized flooding, especially in urban areas with poor drainage systems. Avoid driving or walking through flooded areas.

  • Coastal Erosion: Rising sea levels and coastal erosion pose a threat to some beach areas, particularly along the Atlantic coast. Exercise caution when swimming or engaging in water activities.

  • Dust Storms: During the dry season from November to May, dust storms can occur, reducing visibility and causing respiratory issues for those with pre-existing conditions.

  • Heat Waves: The Gambia experiences hot and humid conditions throughout the year, with temperatures often exceeding 35°C (95°F). Stay hydrated, seek shade, and limit outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.

  • Wildfires: Although not common, wildfires can occur during the dry season, especially in rural areas with vegetation. Avoid open flames and follow local advisories.

While natural disasters are relatively infrequent in The Gambia, it's always advisable to monitor local weather conditions, follow official guidance, and have contingency plans in place during your travels.


Transportation in Gambia The can be challenging for travelers. While public transportation options like buses and taxis are available, their safety and reliability are often questionable. Road conditions are generally poor, with potholes and lack of proper signage posing risks. Driving can be hazardous due to reckless driving practices, lack of enforcement of traffic laws, and the presence of pedestrians, animals, and other obstacles on the roads.

  • Public Transportation: Buses and shared taxis (known as "gele-gele") are the primary modes of public transportation. However, these vehicles are often overcrowded and poorly maintained, increasing the risk of accidents.

  • Road Safety: Gambia The has a high rate of road accidents due to factors such as speeding, drunk driving, and disregard for traffic rules. Pedestrians and animals on the roads also pose a significant risk.

  • Self-Driving: While renting a car can provide more flexibility, self-driving can be risky due to the poor road conditions and the need to navigate unfamiliar areas. Hiring a local driver is recommended for those unfamiliar with the roads.

  • Taxis: While taxis are available, especially in urban areas, it's essential to negotiate the fare beforehand and ensure the driver is licensed and reputable. Unlicensed taxis may pose safety risks.

Travelers are advised to exercise caution when using any mode of transportation in Gambia The and to prioritize safety over convenience.

Cultural Norms

Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country, and it's essential for travelers to respect local customs and traditions. Here are some tips for cultural sensitivity:

  • Dress Modestly: Avoid revealing clothing, especially when visiting religious sites or rural areas. Cover your shoulders and knees.

  • Ramadan Etiquette: During the holy month of Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those fasting.

  • Greetings: Greet elders and those in authority with respect. A handshake is a common greeting, but wait for a woman to extend her hand first.

  • Photography: Ask for permission before taking photographs of individuals, especially in rural areas or at religious sites.

  • Public Displays of Affection: Avoid public displays of affection, as they are generally frowned upon.

  • Alcohol and Drugs: The use of alcohol and drugs is illegal in Gambia, except in designated tourist areas. Exercise caution and respect local laws.

  • Religious Observances: Be mindful of religious holidays and observances, and avoid disruptive behavior during these times.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Gambia are limited, especially outside the capital city of Banjul. While police and ambulance services are available, their response times can be slow and their capabilities may be limited. Private hospitals and clinics offer better medical care, but at a higher cost.

  • Medical Facilities: Public hospitals and clinics are understaffed and lack adequate resources. Private medical facilities, while more expensive, provide a higher standard of care.

  • Emergency Transportation: Ambulance services exist but may be unreliable, especially in rural areas. Many travelers opt for private transportation to medical facilities.

  • Tourist Police: A dedicated tourist police force operates in major tourist areas, but their resources are limited.

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical evacuation is highly recommended, as the quality of emergency services in Gambia may not meet international standards.

  • Embassies and Consulates: Travelers should register with their respective embassies or consulates upon arrival, as they can provide assistance in case of emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Gambia The safe for tourists?

Gambia is generally safe for tourists. However, petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing occur, so remain vigilant in crowded areas. Avoid isolated areas, especially after dark. Check travel advisories and register with your embassy.

Is Gambia The safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Gambia. Dress modestly, avoid going out alone at night, and be wary of unwanted attention. Harassment can occur, but following local customs can help minimize risks.

Is Gambia The safe for families?

Gambia is a family-friendly destination with a relaxed atmosphere. Children are welcomed, but be cautious with food and water to prevent illness. Ensure vaccinations are up-to-date and pack necessary medications.

Is Gambia The LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are illegal in Gambia, and the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Exercise caution and discretion to avoid potential legal issues or harassment.

Do you need a visa to go to Gambia The?

Most visitors require a visa to enter Gambia. Citizens of some countries can obtain a visa on arrival, while others must apply in advance. Check visa requirements based on your nationality and purpose of travel.

Can you drink tap water in Gambia The?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Gambia. Stick to bottled, filtered, or boiled water to avoid waterborne illnesses. Avoid ice cubes and raw foods washed with tap water.

What is the currency in Gambia The?

The official currency in Gambia is the Dalasi (GMD). Credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants, but cash is preferred for smaller transactions.

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play