The following points of information and advice have been compiled from various sources (previous visitors, former Volunteers, staff, etc.) for people planning to visit Peace Corps Volunteers in The Gambia. Visitors and Volunteers have learned that advance planning, communication between the Volunteer and visitor, and flexibility are very important aspects of a successful and satisfying trip. We hope that the suggestions and information below will be helpful. You may also wish to consult various travel books such as the Lonely Planet's Africa on a Shoestring and West Africa on a Shoestring. It is also advisable to plan your travel through a reputable agent to assist you in having all the information you need. The Peace Corps' staff, either in
1. Planning. Begin planning at least six months before departure since several things have to be done sequentially which can add up to several weeks/months. Keep in mind that communication takes a long time, so arranging the logistics through the mail will require a lot of lead time. Make sure that the timing of your visit is convenient for the Volunteer you are visiting. A Volunteer's primary obligation is to her/his job assignment, so be sure that your visit will not disrupt any work plans. We recommend visits at some point during the second year of the Volunteer’s service.
If you plan travel to other countries in the area:
Separate visas are required for almost any African country you may plan to visit in addition to The Gambia, except for intermediate stops where you will not leave the terminal. For The Gambia and most African countries, visas CANNOT be obtained upon entry and you may be unable to obtain visas for further stops during your stay in
4. Health. You must get, at minimum, a yellow fever immunization and have it logged in a World Health Organization (W.H.O.) medical card. For more information on what additional immunizations are required or recommended, contact your local health board or the Division of Immunization at the Centers for Disease Control in
While in The Gambia, precautions must be taken with food preparation and water treatment. Drink only bottled water, or water that has been filtered and chlorinated or boiled. (Bottled water is available for purchase throughout the country at reasonable prices.) Vegetables must also be soaked in iodine or chlorine if they are not being cooked.
Malaria is also present in all areas of The Gambia. It is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Please consult your doctor or other health care professional regarding the various anti-malarial drugs currently available.
There are health risks, and medical facilities in the
5. Money. The unit of currency in The Gambia is the dalasi. Currently the exchange rate is approximately 19 dalasi per US Dollar. Traveler’s checks are recommended. Some major hotels in
6. Baggage. Have all your suitcases locked. On most airlines, you are allowed two pieces of baggage (up to 80 lbs total; with a maximum weight allowance of 50 lbs for any one bag) per passenger for trips from the
7. Flight Check-In. Please arrive at the check-in counter at least two hours before take off. They start checking passengers in then and you cannot get a seat assignment until this check-in. The check-in process goes very slowly so please be prepared to wait. Large carry-on bags will likely be refused.
8. Arrival in
9. Accommodations. Your best source of information about where to stay is the Volunteer whom you are planning to visit.
10. Photos. Be advised that picture-taking is never allowed at an airport or any military installation.