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About The Gambia
The Republic of The Gambia is located in West Africa, equidistant from the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer - latitude 13°27'N and longitude 16°34'W. It is the smallest and westernmost country of Africa (which is why Lufthansa chose it in 1934 as base for its inaugural trans-Atlantic flights). It is nearly surrounded by its neighbour Senegal. The river stretches east to the Barrakunda Falls, rising in the Guinea plateau of Futa Jallon. The Gambia is the closest to Europe of the English-speaking Commonwealth countries. In 1973 the island capital Banjul was renamed Bathurst. The total population of the country is 2.2 million est. (October 2018).

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The country gained its independence from Britain in 1965 and is its first and last West African colony. Following the 1970 referendum the country went on to become a republic inside the Commonwealth; the Prime Minister, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, became the president until 1994.

Teetering climatically on the edge of the arid Sahel zone, the climate of The Gambia is sub-tropical with two distinct seasons of rain and dry. The wet season, which starts around mid-June, is locally known as 'Nawet' and is characterised by heavy downpours, vegetative greening, humidity and more mosquitoes. The rains normally continue until mid to end of October.

The best time to visit The Gambia on holiday is from early November to mid-April; most tourist flights arrive in December and January. The majority of visitors stay in various beachfront hotels, while a significant number also stay in the 'Kombo' area's lodges and guest houses along a 10.5 kilometre band of accommodations dotted along the Atlantic coastline resorts. The resort of Kololi is at the epicentre of the tourism industry.

The business environment is quite open and foreign investment opportunities exist in various priority sectors of the economy such as seafood processing, tourism, food & drinks processing, energy, financial services, manufacturing, agriculture and others. There is not much in the way of mineral wealth except for large deposits of iron ore on the cliffs overhanging the river and salt dried from shallows and tributaries (Bolongs). There are also small deposits of zircon, ilmenite, rutile and other minerals. The main cash crop is groundnuts, introduced into the Senegambia region from Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

Of the various ethnic groups in the country the Mandinka are the single largest group followed by the Fulani, Wolof, Jola, Serahule and others. The nation's social, cultural and political landscape is characterised by its long periods of relative peace, stability and a minimum of inter-tribal friction compared to some sub-Saharan African nations.


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