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What to pack when travelling to The Gambia?

My Magazine 2022/10
5 min
A travel packing checklist always comes in handy, especially when travelling for the first time to a new destination. We prepared a list of items you might find useful when enjoying your stay in The Gambia. Apart from sun and mosquito protection, which seem logical choices, we listed a few things that might not come to your mind instantly.

Flip flops or sandals

This is a must-have and number one choice of footwear, which is so popular, they sell it in many local stores as one of the essential products, next to bread, butter and milk. With the subtropical climate and very even terrain, most activities can be done wearing them. If you decide to hike or do activities in the natural environment, make sure you bring with you the proper footwear. 

 

Mosquito repellent and Mosquito Bite Relief Products

Especially in the morning and evening, mosquitoes will try to ruin your mood. You will eliminate half the worries with mosquito repellents for tropical areas in the form of a spray or electrical plug-in repellent.

If you suffer some bites, we recommend bringing mosquito bite relief products to ease the pain.

 

 

Sun protection

Sun cream or spray with high factor is recommended as the sun is powerful, especially at midday.

 

Hat, cap or other protective headwear

To avoid sunburns and reduce the chances of dehydration, dizziness, headache and other dangers of prolonged sun exposure, we recommend you pack a protective headwear of your choice. Of course, you can always buy it at a gift shop, craft market or local store.

 

Lightweight clothes

Long, lightweight clothes are suitable for protection from the sun, protection from mosquitos, and easier handling of the heat but also as a sign of respect to the prevailing religion in the country – Islam.

 

Aftersun lotion / Aloe Vera

However, a must-have in your travel bag should be aftersun lotion, sunburn relief product or aloe vera if you get sunburned.

 

 

Powerbank

Especially if you decide to travel to remote areas, we recommend you to take a power bank with you as power cuts are quite often and backup power is not always available everywhere.

 

Beach towel

If you will not stay in high-end accommodation, a beach towel is something you should pack as it would almost be a crime not to spend a day or two close to the seaside.

 

Body lotion

Especially in the dry season, from November to February, your skin can get dehydrated very quickly, and you might want to use a body lotion even if this is not part of your standard routine.

 

Sunglasses

Another great protection from the sun is sunglasses, which you can also buy in The Gambia, yet UV protection on those is usually not the best.

 

 

Binoculars

If you are a passionate birdwatcher and animal lover, don't forget your binoculars when you go on an exploration spotting for the most colourful birds and shy animals of the inland Gambia.

 

Food specific for your country

Some food products specific to your country might not be available in The Gambia as import options are sometimes limited. If you like a particular spice, a specific type of coffee, chocolate spread, cheese or paté, pack a few of those too.

 

Electronic cigarettes

The offer of tobacco products is limited, and it is not easy to get electronic cigarettes, vapes and other trending electronic smoking gadgets. If classic brands of strong cigarettes are not an option, make sure you pack a sufficient amount of your favourite tobacco products.

 

 

Medicines

Although pharmacies are almost at every corner, you might not be able to find the medicine for every purpose, especially not the brand you might be used to. Especially if you have prescription medicine or have an allergy, don't forget to pack all required drugs together with the prescription and original package.

 

Rehydration powder

The change in environment and cuisine can cause diarrhoea which is quite common, especially with travellers from another continent. Make sure you come equipped with rehydration powders and anti-diarrhoeal medicines.

 

Cleansing wipes

Especially when exploring remote areas or crowded places like markets, cleansing wipes are always a good idea to bring with you.

 

 

Small bags for disposal

You will hardly find a trash bin in The Gambia, especially outside tourism-concentrated areas. As a responsible traveller, we suggest you always have small trash bags to collect the trash and dispose of it later at the place of your stay after returning from a day full of activities.

 

Big wallet

As you change your currency into Gambian Dalasis, you will realise that the biggest banknote is 200 dalasis, which can easily make your wallet feel overpacked. We recommend you bring a bigger wallet and keep some small change in your pocket or in a separate small bag.

 

Long sleeves

Although daily temperatures are always high, the night temperatures, especially during the dry season, can be a bit chilly. The feeling can be even more intense if you are close to the sea or river. We recommend you pack at least one long sleeve piece of clothing, just in case.

 

Swimming suits

Many accommodation places have a swimming pool. Also, 80km of the beach is ready for you to enjoy. Swimming suits are a must.

 

Hand fan or a battery-powered fan

It might get scorching, and you might be at a place where AC is unavailable. A fan of any sort is a perfect thing to pack. Even better to buy a local one made out of palm leaves or a colourful one at any craft market and support the local business.

 

Adapter for the socket

Most sockets are made for 3-pin plugs, but it is not a rule. So just to be safe, bring with you an adapter or inquire at the place of your stay if the sockets in your room are universal. You can also use a Gambian hack where you can plug 2-pin into a 3-pin socket with a wooden stick or similar utility to release a lock on the top hole of the socket.

 

Toilet paper

Especially if you decide to explore outside your accommodation place, you might face problems with toilet paper not being available. You might want to bring a few roles with you.

 

Extra phone for Gambian SIM card (or dual SIM phone)

If you want to stay connected even when outside exploring, you might want to bring an additional phone or use a dual SIM phone to purchase a local SIM number and buy credit for data transfer.

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