the Gambia Western Africa

Facts about The Gambia...

The Gambia (officially the Republic of The Gambia), commonly known as Gambia, is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, and has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The size of this beautiful country is about 11,000 km2 with an estimated population of 1,700,000.

Gambians are known for their excel- lent music, as well as their dancing.

On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serrekunda. The Gambia shares historical roots with many other west African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the establishment of a colony on the Gambia river, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, The Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.
As an agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US $ 1.25 a day. (Sources: Wikipedia and Lonely Planet)

culture Music, dancing, wrestling
Gambians are known for their excellent music, as well as their dancing. Although Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, its culture is the product of very diverse influences. The River Gambia has played a vital part in the nation's destiny and is known locally simply as "The River." Without natural barriers, Gambia has become home to most of the ethnic groups that are present throughout western Africa, especially those in Senegal. Europeans also figure prominently in the nation's history because the River Gambia is navigable deep into the continent, a geographic feature that made this area one of the most profitable sites for the slave trade from the 15th through the 17th centuries. Most Gambians live with their family in compounds (up to 30 people): mud huts, or cement for the more rich, with roofs of cane or plates. The majority is Muslim (90%, 10% Christians), but the religion isn't as strict like in other Muslim countries.

Traditional wrestling matches regularly take place, the heaving markets of Banjul and Serekunda & the Atlantic Coast have you soaking up the atmosphere, the djembee is often played and the striking performances of kora-strumming griots can be experienced during weddings, baptisms or public concerts. Rice, chicken and fish (with peanut sauce of peanut soup) can be found regular on dinner tables.

nature Gambia nature reserves in general
There’s more to Africa’s smallest country than sun and surf. Stunning nature reserves, such as Kiang West National Park and River Gambia National Park (also known as Baboon Island).

Bird-lovers will easily be seduced by this compact country. On a tour upriver, the cries of over 300 species will follow you as your pirogue (traditional canoe) charts a leisurely course through mangrove-lined wetlands and the island of Georgetown. Even if your ornithological skills don’t go beyond identifying an inner-city pigeon, you’ll be tempted to wield binoculars here, and can rely on an excellent network of trained guides to help you tell a pelican from a flamingo.

The north bank of the river Gambia looks dry and somewhat like a desert. The south bank is more tropical with palms, cotton bushes, fruit trees and bamboo. The coast consists of nice beaches with palms, wooded low hills and tropical forest behind it. In the country, peanuts are cultivated on a large scale. The earth contains iron oxide (which gives the soil it's orange-red colour), excellent for growing peanuts.

the river The River Gambia, a big attraction
This great West African River rises in the Futa Jallon highlands nearly a thousand river miles away in the Republic of Guinea and is a big attraction. It crosses Eastern Senegal before entering Gambian territory some 300 miles (480 km) inland. In The Gambia, The River is the dominating features and provides both a useful means of transportation and irrigation as well as a rich ground for fishing, boating and sailing. The River Gambia is several miles wide at its mouth near Cape St. Mary and has a bar with a depth of 27 feet (8,1 m). It narrows to three miles (4,8 km) at Banjul where the ferry to Barra operates. Ocean-going vessels up to about 3,000 gross registered (241 km) to Kuntaur. The River is also navigable to steamers for 140 miles (225 km) farther upstream.

For the first 80 Miles (129 km) inland from Banjul, The River Gambia is fringed with mangrove-covered banks, which give way to red ironstone cliffs crowned with a tangle of green vegetation. Farther up River, the ironstone cliffs give way to banks of waving grass and parklands. The whole River and the numerous creeks (locally known as 'Bolons') which join it, are fascinating to the bird lover and the student of nature: Hippopotami, Crocodiles and Dog-faced baboons are often seen.

geography Geographics of the Gambia
The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. The country is less than 48 km wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,300 km2. Approximately 1,300 km2 of the Gambia's area is covered by water.

It is almost an enclave of Senegal, with all of the 740 km border zones touching Senegal. The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. In comparative terms the Gambia has a total area which is slightly less than that of the island of Jamaica. The western side of the country borders the North Atlantic Ocean with 80 km of coastline.
Gambia has an estimated population of 1,700,000.

districts Five divisions
The Gambia is divided into five divisions and one city. The divisions are further subdivided into 37 districts. Of these, Kombo Saint Mary (which shares Brikama as a capital with the Western division) may have been administratively merged with the greater Banjul area.
The city and divisions are:

  • Lower River (Mansa Konko)
  • Central River (Janjanbureh)
  • North Bank (Kerewan)
  • Upper River (Basse)
  • Western (Brikama)
  • Banjul (East Banjul, Banjul, Central Banjul, Bakau, West Banjul Serrekunda)
  • The national capital, Banjul, is classified as a city

climate Subtropical with a dry and rainy season
The Gambia is generally recognized as having perhaps the most agreeable climate in West Africa. The weather is subtropical with distinct dry (7 Months) and Rainy seasons. There is a dry wind called the Harmattan which blows during the dry season. The Harmattan Sahara winds give the Gambia a uniquely pleasant winter, completely rainless and blessed with daily sunshine. From November to May, the temperature varies between 70 F (21 C) and 80 F (27 C) and the relative humidity stays between 30% and 60%. Summer temperatures range between 80 F (27 C) and 90 F (32 C) and the relative humidity is high.

The rains begin in June and continue to October, conceding with the warmer weather. Inland, the cool season is shorter, and by the day high temperatures are encountered between March and June. Generally, there is considerable cooling off in the evening. Rainfall in most parts of the country does not exceed 40 inches (1,016 mm) and sunny periods occur on most days even in the rainy season.

Bird watching in the Gambia - James Island The Lamin Lodge and coast Lots of things to see Visiting school and seeing hippo, monkey Cows and monkeys Gambia has nice hotels and beaches The Gambia has a rich culture and history
lioness in the Gambia