English is the official language in Gambia. English is taught in schools and there are several tribal languages in use.

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You can exchange your money for the Dalasi, the country’s official currency, which is broken down into 100 bututs. Dalasi can be difficult to exchange for outside of Gambia, so wait until you get to the exchange bureau at the airport. You can also change money at banks in the capital and at some hotels and tourist resorts. Few places accept credit cards, so bring cash and traveler’s checks. Know the currency rate before you exchange money with street moneychangers, who might con you and might give you the best rate. ATMs are found only in the main areas and can be unreliable.  

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Gambia’s international country code is 220. To call another country, dial 00 followed by the appropriate country code. Banjul and the major tourist restores have Internet cafes.

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Hotels and restaurants usually add a 10 percent service charge. You can tip more if you feel the service warrants it. It’s customary to add a small tip for services.

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Tourists rarely encounter crime in Gambia. Be smart and don’t carry large sums of money or display valuables. Police and security officers patrol the popular beaches, but take care in the more isolated areas.

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There are no required vaccinations for entry into Gambia, but you should consult with your doctor about recommended vaccines like typhoid, yellow fever, meningitis, polio and hepatitis A. Malaria prevention is advised, especially between June and November, when the risk is highest. Bring mosquito repellent and sunscreen and carry treatment for dehydration, insect bites, cuts, stomach upsets, as they can be difficult to find. Food poisoning is a frequent complaint for tourists. Drink only bottled water and make sure meat and vegetables are properly cooked. Don’t eat unpeeled fruit and vegetables.

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The electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz and uses square three-pinned plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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