Gambia is a small country located in the western parts of Africa. It is entirely situated into the valley of the River Gambia. The country has a growing economy. It relies heavily on the tourism and the production of peanuts. The population lives mainly around the coasts of the Atlantic. Gambia is a really small country. In some places are sufficient only 30 minutes to cross by car the all territory of the country from north to south.
Geography. Gambia is located entirely in the valley of the homonymous river Gambia. Occupies an area of 11,300 square kilometers, making it the smallest country in this part of the continent.
It is located at coordinates 13° north latitude and between 13 and 16° west longitude. Gambia is surrounded by Senegal in the north, south and east, with the exception of the western part of the country which has an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.
The coastline of the country is slightly indented. Because of the fact that the country is located into the river valley, the relief is mainly flat and there are no mountains.
Climate. Gambia falls wholly within the subequatorial climate zone. The weather is warm, even hot throughout the year. There are two seasons – dry (winter) and rainy (summer).
The dry season lasts from October to June. The dry season is two – three degrees warmer in comparison with the rainy season, but the temperatures here are generally constant throughout the year, ranging from 30 to 32 – 33°C.
During the rainiest month of the year – August – the rainfall can reach to the record 450 mm, which equals to the annual rainfall in many countries of the temperate latitudes.
However, during the dry season, often for months does not fall even one drop of rain.
Nature. The nature of Gambia is a beautiful and exotic, especially for visitors, coming from the northern countries. The first thing that make an impression to the visitors is that the animal and plant species are exotic to the foreigners, because they are so typical of the African continent.
The soil colours ranges mostly in the shades of red, orange and deep yellow. Most of the territory is occupied by savannah and rare subequatorial forests.
With the removing from the Atlantic coast the vegetation becomes more scarce and increasingly dependent from the moisture, which donated the Gambia River.
The beautiful nature of Gambia is protected in 7 national parks, which represent around 3.5 percent of the country.
The savannahs of Gambia are a habitat of lions, antelopes, as well as rare species such as leopard. In the Gambia River live hippopotamus, crocodile and others.
Economy. Gambia has a growing economy. The situation of the country is far from that of other African countries where the hunger and poverty prevail.
Gambia was able to provide its population a decent standard of living. The main part of the country’s revenues come from tourism development.
Tourists are attracted mainly by the country’s capital Banjul, a major tourist center. Here is concentrated the bulk of tourist facilities (hotels, restaurants, villas).
Besides the capital, the other that attracts foreign visitors are the national parks with their exotic nature and amazing wildlife. Besides tourism industry, the agriculture also occupies an important place.
Gambia is a large producer of peanuts from a global level. This is one of the most important export crop of the country. Besides peanuts, Gambia grown also sorghum and millet.
Population and settlements. Gambian population is around 1.5 million inhabitants. The majority is concentrated in the urban agglomeration of the Atlantic coast.
Banjul (the capital), Baku, Serekunda, Sukuta and so on are located so close to each other around the mouth of the River Gambia that sometimes you really lost idea of when leave one city and when enter into another.
The agglomeration around the mouth of the River Gambia is estimated at around 300,000 inhabitants, i.e approximately one fifth of the total population.
The best time to travel to Gambia is with certainly the dry season from October to the first half of June. You have to prepare a strong sunscreen and light clothing.
Note that although the daily average temperatures are about 32 – 33°C, often the temperatures can reach and exceed 40°C.
More information: Official language – English; Currency – Gambian dalasi; Official religion – Islam.