Budget for Travel to The Gambia

It doesn’t cost a lot to travel The Gambia, however lots of people spend heaps here.  The truth is most people who come to The Gambia stay at beachside hotels which generally run about $60-100 a night.  Me however, I stayed at decent guesthouses and a small hotel in Banjul.  Thus, my costs were much lower.  Also, you can spend a fortune on food if you eat only along the tourist strip in Sene-Gambia where a pizza will cost you around $15.  There are grocery stores, but don’t expect them to help you save money, the costs are higher than at home.  The local markets have dirt cheap produce and if you’re really pinching pennies, that’s the place to go.

Gambia

  • Food: $23/Day; I was definitely eating too much at expat restaurants in the Gambia.  You can save money by eating street meals and at local chop bars.  If you don’t want fancy pizzas you could probably eat on $10 a day.
  • Accommodation: $12/Day; I got good deals on rooms in The Gambia, but I definitely went for the cheapest options.
  • Transport: $5/Day; The price is higher because of a ferry ride and far too many private cabs when a shared would have sufficed.
  • Activities: $4/Day: in a week I visited two forest parks and a crocodile pond.
  • Misc: $2/Day: I had to get a malaria test, and some medicine to treat a serious fever.
  • Total: $44/Day: I could have gone much lower had I found more self-control in the food department.  I think you could travel Gambia for as little as $30 a day.  If you want some backpacker luxury you’re looking at about $50-55 a day.

Random costs

  • Entrance to a nature park: $3-5
  • 1 Liter of gasoline: $1.10
  • 1 month supply of malaria tablets: $5

Money Logistics

  • Local currency: The local currency in The Gambia is called the Dalasi.  It’s not a really hard currency, and you’ll have trouble trading it anywhere outside Gambia or Senegal.  You can also get by fairly well if you just use CFA, but people will kill you on the exchange rate.
  • Banks and ATMs: You’ll only find banks with ATMs in Banjul and the Sene-Gambia area.  They only accept visa cards.  You can find Western Union everywhere including the small towns.
  • Traveller’s Cheques: A waste of time anywhere in Africa.  Don’t bother bringing them.  You’ll spend more time and money getting them changed than they are worth.

Back to The Gambia travel guides


1 Comment

  1. Having lived and worked in Gambia for 17 years I can say with authority I have never seen a pizza priced at $15, however, I can empathize with being on a budget in Gambia. For a third world country, it can be quite expensive to eat out. One way to eat cheaply is to eat with the locals at their homes, for the cost of buying the raw ingredients you can have an excellent home cooked meal at a fraction of the normal cafe prices and of course, the family gets a free meal also.

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