The Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a total land space of 10,367sq.km. It is surrounded on three sides by Senegal and on the fourth side by the Atlantic Ocean. The country is home to over 1.8 million people from eight ethnic groups, and became an independent nation in 1965 after 400 years of British rule.
The Gambia today is well-known as a birdwatchers’ paradise with over 550 bird species, and is an exciting destination to visit with various activities from capturing the culture and traditions of “The Smiling Coast”, to soaking up the sunny rays along the sandy beach.
Land and Resources: The Gambia extends for about 320km (about 300 miles) inland from the Atlantic Ocean on both sides of the lower Gambia River. It is only about 50 km (about 30 miles) wide at its widest point. The river is lined with mangrove swamps.
Climate: The Gambia has a subtropical climate with hot and cool seasons. During the cool season, from November to May, the harmattan, a hot and dry wind, blows from the Sahara. Temperatures range from 16ºC (60ºF) in winter to 43ºC (110ºF) in summer. The rainy season lasts from June to October. The average annual rainfall is about 1,020 mm (about 40 in).
Natural Resources: The main natural resource is the people of The Gambia. Of course, the river itself is also very important as it is one of Africa’s best navigable waterways.
Population: The population of The Gambia is 1.8 million, making it one of the least populous countries of Africa. A wide variety of ethnic groups live side by side in The Gambia while preserving individual languages and traditions. About three quarters of the people live in small rural villages.
The population comprises of the Mandingo, the largest ethnic group (representing about 42 percent of the country’s inhabitants); the Fulani (about 18 percent), who are more present in the eastern part of the country; the Wolof (about 16 percent), who live mainly in Banjul and the western region; the Jola (about 10 percent), who live in the western region and the Serahuli (about 9 percent), and the small Aku community, partly descended from liberated slaves. About three quarters of the people of The Gambia live in small, rural villages.
Religion and Language: About 90 percent of the people of The Gambia are Muslim; 9 percent Christian; and 1 percent follow traditional religions. English is the official language, but each ethnic group has its own language.
Main Resort Areas In The Gambia