Sailing to the Gambia


The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965; it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002. Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH, the leader of the coup, has been elected president in all subsequent elections.


Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 16 34 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 11,300 sq km


80 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: not specified
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)


Flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed location 53 m


The Gambia has no significant mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. Reexport trade normally constitutes a major segment of economic activity, but a 1999 government-imposed preshipment inspection plan, and instability of the Gambian dalasi (currency) have drawn some of the reexport trade away from The Gambia.

The government's 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts. Despite an announced program to begin privatizing key parastatals, no plans have been made public that would indicate that the government intends to follow through on its promises. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector.


Airports: 1 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
Roadways: total: 3,742 km


390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2004)

Merchant marine

Total: 4 ships (1000 GRT or over) 30,976 GRT/10,978 DWT
By type: passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1 (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals


Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Angola - Antarctica - Cameroon - Congo - Falkland Islands - Gambia - Ivory Coast - Mauritania - Namibia - Nigeria - St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha - Senegal - South Africa

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"