We had to hire a car to see this country – and to escape the threats of violence along with demands for money from a man who targeted us and appeared every time we left the hotel.  This hotel, where the package tour company sent us, was plagued by many of these rather aggressive “bumsters” as they call them…  We asked the company rep to change hotels, but with no joy.  Although she did arrange a part-time police presence for a couple of days outside the entrance.

Some of the European “ladies”, of a certain age would hang out in the bar up the road with young local men.  They danced together.  We did not hang around to see what happened next.  It was a bit of a sleezy place.

We had been warned on the tourist bus from the airport to “take it easy” with the locals, but one young girl in the bar told us she had hooked up with a local guide.  He had shown her around, even taken her to his village to meet his family.  He was somehow different from the others she told us.  Her instinct told her so.  She just felt it.  We met her on the bus back to the airport.  He had just disappeared the previous day.  So had her phone and cash.

The guide asked everyone to fill out a survey to win a free tour back to the Gambia.  “Who wants to win?” he cried.  At least three “NOT ME”s were heard from somewhere on the bus.  The problems are caused by the incredible poverty gap between the tourists and the local population and despite the tourist bucks, the money mostly ends up back in the hands of western companies and the hotels they own.  Meanwhile it is one of the poorest countries in Africa for the vast majority of Gambians.

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4 thoughts on “Gambia”

  1. I was there in 1992, thought it was fabulous we were told not to leave the hotel but a young bloke who sold grapefruit juice down the beach (Ebrahm) took us out a few days and we saw a different world. He did warn us about a bloke called Cultural (yeah I know) who sold hashish apparently he supplied it in a packet of Piccadilly then the police arrived shortly after, arrested you, locked you up, took away your passport then for £300 you could have it back and go free. As you say majority of it is driven by poverty. Great post my friend 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Charlie. Thing is if you go to a new country and can’t leave the hotel, then it defeats the object for me. That was our mistake – wanting to step out of the hotel unchaperoned. Nice of the police to give the hash back though. But rather expensive at £300. Did they give your passport back too?


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