Your guide to being an expatriate in Gambia

Caffeinate Your Gambia Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Located in West Africa, Gambia is a country steeped in history and charm. Known for its stunning beaches, lively markets, and captivating landscapes, Gambia offers a unique and captivating experience for expats seeking a new adventure. With a rich cultural heritage and a commitment to preserving traditional values, Gambia is the perfect destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in a distinctive culture.


Expat destinations in Gambia

Demographics of Gambia:

Ethnic groups

Mandinka 34.8%, Fula (Fulani, Fulbe) 18.2%, Wolof 16.4%, Jola 5.3%, Serahule 3.9%, Bambara 2.6%, Mandinka (Bambara) 2.2%, Manjago 1%, Bissau-Guinean (Mel, Mèle) 0.7%, Khassonke 0.5%, Malinke (Bandiagara) 0.4%


Wolof 47%, Fula (Fulfulde) 24.8%, Mandinka (Mandinka, Mandingo) 15.5%, Jola-Fonyi 3.2%, Jola-Barra (Barra Ngayan) 2.7%, Serer (Sereer) 1.3%, Bissau-Guinean (Mel, Mèle) 0.7%, Manjago (Mawn) 0.6%, Kassone (Kassonke) 0.5%, Malinke (Bandiagara) 0.4%, Bambara (Bambara) 0.4%, Soninke (Sonye) 0.1%, Sereer (Sereer) 0.1%

Religion Overview

Gambia is predominantly Muslim, with nearly 98% of the population identifying as such. However, there are religious minorities, including Christians (1%) and indigenous beliefs (1%).

Major Religions


Gambia has a tropical climate with high humidity, mild temperatures, and rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season spans from June to November, while the dry season runs from December to May. Temperature ranges from 21°C to 30°C (70°F to 86°F). During the dry season, sandstorms (harmattan) are common.

Economy Overview

Gambia's economy is primarily agriculture-based, with fisheries and tourism also significant contributing factors to the GDP. The Gambia River provides a vital means of transportation and commerce, while agriculture, fisheries, and trade remain the main sectors of employment. The country is seeking to diversify its economy to include industries such as manufacturing and service sectors to help reduce its dependence on agriculture.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Fisheries
  • Tourism
  • Manufacturing (small-scale)
  • Construction
  • Trade
  • Transport
  • Real estate
  • Health and social assistance
  • Finance and insurance
  • Community, social, and personal services

Major Companies

  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources
  • Gamtel
  • The Gambia Ports Authority
  • Gambia National Air Service
  • The Gambia Tourism Board
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • First International Bank
  • AfriBank Gambia Limited
  • Scotland National Building Society (SNBS Gambia)

Culture and Language Overview

Gambia's rich cultural heritage is a vibrant reflection of the country's diverse ethnic groups. Music, dance, and storytelling are integral components of traditional Gambian culture, while sports such as soccer and wrestling feature prominently in the national culture. The Wolof language is the most widely spoken Gambian dialect, while English is also an official language. The country boasts a vibrant creative scene, with artists producing music, literature, and visual arts that are both contemporary and deeply rooted in Gambian traditions.

Cultural Highlights

  • Kankurang (Wolof) and Kusung (Serer) masked dances
  • Njau (Mandinka) tradition of storytelling and masonry feats
  • Mbalax (Wolof) music genre
  • Tiche Busek (Mandinka) and Kabu Kabu (Jola) combative traditional wrestling
  • National Day of Culture, Arts and Tourism (February 24) celebrations

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Gambia's geography is characterized by picturesque landscapes, stunning beaches, and a broad river flowing through the length of the country. The largest city and the capital, Banjul, is located on an island in the Gambia River estuary, while the country's geographic proximity to the north coast of the continent makes it a gateway to West Africa. Banjul, Serekunda, and Brikama are the main population centers, while the Kachikally Crocodile Pond and Tanji Bird Sanctuary offer glimpses into the country's rich wildlife heritage.

Notable Landmarks

  • Banjul (formerly Bathurst): the capital of Gambia, located on St. Mary’s Island in the Gambia River delta
  • Serekunda: a sprawling city with a growing population, located near the Atlantic Ocean
  • Brikama: the third-largest city in Gambia and the country’s religious and cultural hub
  • Kachikally Crocodile Pond: a crocodile sanctuary in Bakau, a suburb of Banjul in the Gambia River delta
  • Tanji Bird Sanctuary: an area of wetlands from the Rufisque National Park in the Foni Kansala region bordering Senegal and The Gambia, home to numerous migratory bird species

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
  • Republic Day (April 22)
  • Eid al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast)
  • Independence Day (April 24)
  • Armed Forces Day (July 22)
  • National Day of Culture, Arts, and Tourism (February 24)
  • Homage Day (November 20)

Political Stability

Gambia has a presidential republic form of government, with the president serving as both the head of state and the head of government. Since gaining independence in 1965, the country has undergone a series of transitions, including periods of both stability and instability. The most recent political crisis occurred in 2017, when former President Yahya Jammeh refused to concede defeat in elections. The country's political landscape is still evolving, and expats should monitor political developments carefully.

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