Fire and rescue services
Exercise a high degree of caution in The Gambia overall due to the threat of violent crime.
Other levels apply in some areas.
Exercise a high degree of caution in The Gambia overall due to the threat of violent crime.
Other levels apply in some areas.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Political protests in The Gambia, have become more frequent in recent years.
Protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To reduce your risk during periods of unrest:
Overland travel to the southern Casamance region of Senegal is dangerous. Reconsider your need to travel to this area. Travellers should use main roads and avoid travelling at night.
The security situation is unpredictable, and there is a risk of attack by armed bandits and separatist rebels. Undeclared landmines are present on the Senegalese side of the border. See travel advice for Senegal for more information.
Theft can occur anywhere, including at your hotel room or vehicle.
Tourists have been mugged at night while walking alone on beaches.
Be aware of young men known as 'bumsters'. They approach tourists, particularly on beaches.
They might offer to:
Bumsters often use romance to get money or other help from you. They may also try to leave the country through marriage to a foreigner.
Politely decline offers, advances or attempts at conversation from bumsters. Take care not to offend.
To prevent crime:
Internet scams come in many forms, including romance, friendship, business and job offers. These scams often originate in West African countries.
In other cases, foreigners are lured to Africa to meet their prospective friend or marriage partner. Once in Africa, they may become victims of kidnapping, assault, robbery or extortion.
Scam victims often lose money.
To protect yourself from scams:
If you suspect a scam, get legal advice.
Don't travel to The Gambia to get your money back or to get revenge. You could be in danger.
If you're travelling to The Gambia , your family and friends may receive bogus phone calls and emails from The Gambia. Scammers may claim that you're in legal, financial or medical trouble and that you need money.
To protect your family and friends from scammers:
If friends and family can't contact you directly, they should contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre.
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
An attack could happen anywhere, at any time. This includes places visited by foreigners.
To reduce your risk of being involved in an attack:
The rainy season is from June to October. Flooding may occur. Floodwaters may block roads.
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance for the whole time you'll be away.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
Yellow fever is widespread in The Gambia (World Health Organisation). Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel.
Malaria is also common (World Health Organisation).
Other mosquito-borne diseases also occur, including dengue (World Health Organisation). To protect yourself:
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
The HIV/AIDS infection rate is high (World Health Organisation).
Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to the virus.
Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are common, including these listed by the World Health Organization:
Serious outbreaks can occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Medical facilities in The Gambia are limited.
Most doctors and hospitals will ask for up-front cash payment for medical care.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries.
Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Some prescription or over-the-counter drugs are illegal in The Gambia. This includes skin-bleaching creams and other medication available in Australia.
It's illegal to import, use or possess medication containing:
Other restrictions may apply. Check with the High Commission of the Republic of The Gambia before you travel.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in The Gambia. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
The Gambia often blocks consular access to foreigners in detention.
If you're arrested, ask police or prison officials to contact the Australian High Commission in Abuja, or the Canadian Embassy in Dakar. Do this as soon as possible. See Local contacts
Penalties for drug offences are severe. The Gambian authorities will take strong action against anyone importing, exporting or found in possession of drugs. Don't accept packages on behalf of anyone without knowing their contents. They can include lengthy jail terms. Westerners have been jailed for up to 10 years for carrying small amounts of cannabis.
The death penalty can apply for:
The Gambia resumed executions in 2012. In February 2018, President Barrow announced a moratorium on the death penalty.
Corporal punishment applies for some crimes such as:
It's illegal to take photos of military facilities, or to take photos in and around airports.
Some prescription or over-the-counter drugs are illegal in The Gambia. Penalties can be severe, including heavy fines or jail terms. See Health.
Same-sex relationships are illegal. Penalties include jail terms from five years to life.
There has been an increase in discrimination in The Gambia, including by government officials.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
The Gambia recognises dual nationality.
However, if you're a dual national travelling on your other passport and you're arrested, Australian consular officials may not be able to help you.
Always travel on your Australian passport.
The Gambia is a mostly Islamic country. Standards of dress and behaviour, especially in interior areas of the country, are conservative. Wear loose clothes that cover your shoulders and knees. Take care not to offend.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan is observed in The Gambia. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking may be illegal in public during the day. If you're not fasting, avoid these activities around people who are. Seek local advice to avoid offence.
Explore our Ramadan page to learn more, including dates for Ramadan.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
You may need a visa to enter The Gambia.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice.
Contact the High Commission of the Republic of The Gambia for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Commercial flights to and from The Gambia are limited. The land border with Senegal is open. Contact High Commission of The Gambia for the latest details.
A compulsory Security Airport Fee must be paid upon entering and exiting The Gambia. The fee is US$20, or equivalent in euros, pound sterling or local currency. The fee can be paid via marked kiosks in Banjul International Airport. Children below 2 years of age and transit passengers are exempt.
If you're driving across the border into The Gambia in a private vehicle, you may be asked to pay a vehicle registration fee.
You need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter The Gambia. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever (Department of Health and Aged Care)
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
The local currency is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD).
Good options for currency exchange include:
The Gambia is a cash-based economy.
Credit cards aren't accepted by many hotels, restaurants or retail outlets. Major hotels generally accept them, but sometimes telecommunication issues can make payments difficult.
There are a limited range of ATMs that accept foreign cards. Contact your bank to check if your cards will work in The Gambia.
Make sure you have enough cash to meet your needs.
To drive in The Gambia, you'll need both:
You must get your IDP before you leave Australia.
Driving is very dangerous in The Gambia.
Driving hazards include:
It's more dangerous at night and outside urban areas.
The rainy season is from June to October. Heavy rain can cause:
Outside urban areas, four-wheel drives are necessary during the rainy season as roads may be in poor condition.
Police roadblocks are common. Police may ask for your ID, vehicle registration and ownership papers.
If you travel by road:
Make sure your travel insurance covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Use registered taxis and limousines. It's best to arrange them through your hotel.
Public transport is limited and mainly consists of yellow taxis.
Safety and maintenance standards are unreliable.
Travel on river boats including ferries and pirogues (canoes) may be dangerous. They can be overloaded and lack lifesaving equipment.
To reduce your risks:
If appropriate safety equipment isn't provided, use another operator or a different form of transport.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check The Gambia's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Emergency services may not have:
Other resources may be limited.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in The Gambia.
Limited consular services are also available from the:
The British High Commission can't issue Australian passports.
Contact the High Commission to find out about services or make an appointment.
48 Atlantic Road
Phone: (+220) 4495 133
Fax: (+220) 4496 134
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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