Crossing the Border from Senegal to The Gambia
I'm a year late. I'm going to spare you guys the long intro, but the world has changed a lot since I last wrote a travel blog post. But I was thinking, how about I just finish out all of those blog posts I forgot to write?
So let's do this one. How I got from Senegal to the Gambia.
When I was originally planning my trip, I noticed there wasn't a ton of information about the Gambian visa on the internet. I had to consult a Facebook travel group that specializes in African travel.
Disclaimer! As always- please visit the Gambian Embassy for your respective country for the most up-to-date information on visas. This is my personal experience as an American receiving a visa at the land border.
Where is the Gambia?
The country of Gambia is surrounded by Senegal making it an ideal place for a visit if you already plan on visiting Senegal.
How do you get to the Gambia?
There are two options to get to The Gambia from Senegal. The more expensive option is to fly from Dakar airport into Banjul airport in The Gambia. Flights can range from $150-400 dollars, and most flights are operated on Air Senegal. The flight is only 40 minutes. From my understanding, Americans are unable to receive a visa on arrival if they are flying into the Banjul airport.
If you're looking for a less expensive option, you can take a shared bus or car (similar to a trotro) called a sept-blas from Dakar to Banjul for very cheap. That journey is about 7-8 hours. We opted to hire a private driver. I believe we paid around USD 75 for the three of us to travel to the Gambian border. Americans can receive a visa on arrival at the Gambian land border. I'll talk more about it below.
The journey from Dakar to the Gambian border by private car was about 5-6 hours. After
border control, you will take a shared taxi or bus to the ferry terminal in Barra. The Ferry to Banjul is very cheap and then a 30-minute ferry to the Gambian capital of Banjul. More information on the Ferry is here.
Once you're off the Ferry, you'll be in Banjul! You can take a taxi, or arrange with your accommodation for a taxi to take you to your accommodation.
It's a long journey, but well worth the adventure!
Who can travel visa free The Gambia?
Citizens from the EU, UK, Canada, Australia, and these countries do NOT need a visa to travel to The Gambia. Congrats :).
Do Americans need a visa for The Gambia?
Sorry, Americans. We DO need a visa to travel to The Gambia.
Can I get my Gambian visa at the land border?
YES! After a lot of research, I figured out that it was indeed an option. We paid about $60 USD for our visa stamp. We exchanged our CFA (Senegalese currency) into dalasi (Gambian currency) while at the border. The visa granted us 3 months in the Gambia, although we only stayed for 4 days!
Can I get my Gambian visa upon arrival at the Banjul Airport?
No, but maybe. If you're flying into The Gambia, I highly recommend you receive your Gambian visa before arrival. Americans can find more information on applying for their Gambian visa here.
It's been contested whether they will give you a visa at the airport. But to avoid confusion, disruption, or paying insane fees I think if you fly you should secure your visa beforehand.
Do I need a COVID Test?
According to the embassy, you will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test when you arrive. This test must be taken no earlier than 96 hours before arrival. Instructions are unclear whether you need a COVID-19 PCR test at the land border. My advice- be smart and do it anyways.
Okay, there we have it. Expect some more blog posts on my travels coming out very soon. And as always, if you need me I'm a short message, email, or Instagram DM away!