Casual, comfortable clothes are the key when travelling in The Gambia. The local way of life is very laid back and relaxed.
During the day it's hot, so our advice is to pack lightweight, loose fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as linen, bamboo and cotton that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry.
Local dress is bright and colourful.
But do avoid blue or black clothing – the tsetse flies are drawn to these colours, and their bite can give you African Sleeping Sickness.
Mosquitoes are most active around late afternoon and through the evening. We strongly recommend you take a good insect/mosquito repellent with you. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers will also help.
Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunglasses and a sunhat.
It would be wise to bring along a versatile travel jacket. We like the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has excellent storage (specifically tailored for traveling), can convert into vest during warmer months and includes RFID security features.
Shoes to pack for Gambia
Take lightweight comfy shoes or sandals for exploring – we love Hotter shoes for total comfort along with style.
Or try the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range – using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
Clothing tips for women
Our advice would be to keep swimwear to the beach and pool, and cover up with a kaftan or sarong when walking around public areas.
A skirt or loose-fitting trousers are good in the heat and will protect you from the sun.
A few well-chosen pieces of costume jewellery will transform any outfit.
And a pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up an outfit, cover you for modesty or shield you from the sun.
Clothing tips for men
Although dress is not formal, in the evenings most hotels and restaurants require men to wear shirts and long trousers.
If you're looking for versatile and stylish beachwear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts, polos and swimwear.
Pack for the weather
The Gambia enjoys virtually non-stop sunshine and high daytime temperatures which vary little throughout the year.
Sea beezes make it feel a little cooler on the coast, but inland can be sweltering during the hottest months.
The wet season covers the months of July to October, with spectacluar heavy rainstorms occuring (heaviest in August and September). These are largely short and at night, but a light raincoat or travel umbrella would be a good idea. The humidity is also very high at these times so light breathable fabrics will be best.
In the dry season from November to June there is almost no rainfall.
In January, February, March and April the evenings and early mornings can be cooler, so a light jacket, fleece or pashmina would be a useful item to pack.
We love the Weather+ app – it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too – a nice way to remember your trip 🙂 Download for iPad/iPhone or Android
A lightweight day sack will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials.
If you plan to travel with carry-on luggage only, a soft-sided rucksack is more practical than a hard suitcase. Using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees – use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Try out the craft markets and local market stalls to pick up woodcarvings, beaded jewellery or batik wall hangings.