Banks Bargaining Bureau De Change Exchange Rates
Gambian currency is the Dalasi
= 100 Bututs.
Banknotes come in denominations of D5,
10, 25, 50 and 100.
Coins come in units of 25, 50 and a 1 Dalasi coins. The
smallest unit is no longer in circulation.
speaking you get a better deal when you change cash into the local
money than you would get with using travellers cheques at a bank or
exchange bureau. However, if you are
staying for a longer period it is more advisable to keep use the
cheques for reasons of security, as they can normally be replaced
within 24 hours from the time you report the loss
or theft. Hold a copy of the original receipt and note down
their serial numbers. This is because a few banks will not honour your
cheques without your
The most popular travellers cheques used in
Gambia are Thomas Cook (ABTA & IATA
American Express (Amex)
who have a widespread network and efficient replacement system in
place. To minimise the chances of monetary loss do keep them in the
resort's in-room safes or at the reception desk's safety deposit box.
Euro-Cheques are also accepted but must be paid into
an account. You can also cash a cheque from your personal account
originating from the UK when accompanied with a proof of identity
which is nearly always your passport.
Credit Cards Acceptability:
Gambia most of the major credit cards are accepted in many
of the hotels and lodges. Some of the larger well
established restaurants will also take them. Do contact your hotel
whether they will accept them before travelling.
The majority of banks accept
credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard & American Express. Charges
for foreign exchange vary from each institution so it's worth shopping
around. However, if you are changing a large amount they are prepared
to improve their rates on-the-spot for you.
ATM Cash Machines:
Some cards can be used to withdraw money from most of the major
banks which have ATM cash
machines. Standard Chartered cash points
will accept your Visa card at any of its local dispensing machines. You sometimes have to make
many withdrawals as the
amount dispensed per withdrawal is often limited to a set maximum
amount (often D2,000). Debit cards can sometimes be
used however, you should note that fees are charged per transaction so
it my prove quite costly if you need to make multiple withdrawals.
If an ATM machine happens to have run out of cash after closing hours
do try another branch & if it is the weekend roaming staff do often re-fill
them a couple of times during the day, & sometimes in the early evenings. And finally, you may come across
an "out-of-order message". This may not be the case. Be patient as it
could be up and running a few minutes later!
Black Market Rates:
are advised to give a wide berth from local money changers
who operate in the so called Parallel Market. Many locals
used to change bills on the black market particularly at
Serrekunda's Westfield Junction to get a better rate than
they would have at the officially recognised exchange
Foreign Exchange Services:
are many foreign exchange services particularly around the Kololi
area. They are often faster and can often give you the best
rates than you can get from a bank. Do be wary of signs that say zero
commission as what you should look out for are the rates they have on
offer offer. These are normally posted outside on the street on small
signboards. For large amounts be prepared to haggle hard to get
yourself the best deal and if they refuse to budge from their
advertised rates then be prepared to move on to the next firm.
An finally in order to avoid being short-changed don't assume you have
been given the correct amount. Remember to count the bills given to
you in front of the clerk and its also a good idea to also carry along
a pocket calculator.
Food Costs At Restaurants:
Your bill can
vary wildly depending on where you eat. Basic cooked local food on a
plate can be as little as £1.50 with fish and chips starting at around
If you are on a really tight budget and have a strong stomach
you could try the local takeaways which are located to the east of the
resorts where you can get what is in Gambia called a "plaate"
which is basically the "dish of the day" for about .50 pence.
(average per person)
Budget: £10 or less
Top- range £51-£80
Deluxe class £81+
Note that the charges above do vary according to the season with
lower prices being charged between May to September when demand for
beds is much lower. The other factor to consider is he fluctuating
exchange rate which can lead to an increase or decrease in the cost of
boarding. However, the price level of a bed is usually set at the
start of the season in mid-October and usually remains valid until April
of the following year.
Cost of Daily Goods:
(Average 2013 street
Beer (300ml): D30
Bottle of soft drink D15
Bottle of soft drink D20 (incl. deposit)
- Senfurr: D7
Petrol - litre D44
Diesel - litre D44
When you are
staying in the major hotels it is
expected that you are going to give a tip. This is an important source
of income for the front desk / line staff in hotels and it has been
estimated by the hoteliers that staff get about an equal amount of
their monthly salaries from tips! Room service personnel also expect
tips, but it is wiser to give them a small gratuity regularly, than
waiting till your departure.
Waiters & Waitresses:-
can tip around 5% of the total bill as a tip. When you consider that
your restaurant meal may come to say £10 and that their daily wage is
around £1.25. It is common to see tip boxes in many of the resort
hotels as some staff do not get the chance to directly interact with
tourist like waiters and reception staff.
When you go on an excursion it is normal to give a
gratuity at the end of your tour of about D40 per person to be shared
out by the guides. For longer trips running into a couple of days a
tip of D100 should suffice.
Never tip a driver unless of course they have gone out of their
way to give you extra services like carry your luggage to your room or
get you out of a problem then you can give them a moderate amount of
money as a gift.
Whenever you receive
change, locally called "wechit", most likely than not it will be in a
fairly tatty condition. One way to avoid this is to carry small change
with you to minimise getting the ragged ones.
Later the Gambia is expected to adopt a new common currency
called the ECO in line with the other
West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries within the monetary union.
If you are travelling to Dakar you may require CFA (pronounced
"seffaa") Francs which is sometimes in use particularly in the
portside shops in the capital, Banjul &