Exploring The Gambia on a Budget: Top 10 Affordable Activities

It is not always necessary to break the bank to enjoy your holiday. It is of course nice to spread a little happiness financially so to speak while engaging with local culture, however, when you think about the level of poverty in the country then finding things to do on a budget should be easy. Let´s take a look at some holiday pastimes that won´t break the bank and will make you and the people you meet, smile!

Spending local, changes lives!

1. Engage in a Cultural Exchange with the Locals

Gambia on a budget

Nothing beats the rich, authentic experience of connecting with local Gambians. Engage in conversations, learn a few phrases in Mandinka (source Wikipedia), and you might just be invited for a traditional meal or village tour for free or a modest gift.

2. Sanyang Beach for Serenity

Gambia on a budget

Escape to the beautiful Sanyang Beach. It’s a peaceful alternative to the more popular tourist beaches, offering perfect relaxation spots by the sea without costing a dime. It´s available any day you choose but we like to walk there each Sunday. It´s an easy walk and takes around 2 hours. Once there, a lovely fish lunch awaits and also some local wrestling at Rainbow Beach Bar.

3. Volunteer for a Day

Budget activities in Gambia

Find a local charity or community project where you can volunteer. This is a wonderful way to give back and can also be a fulfilling way to spend a day at no cost. There are many local charities and many ways you can help. Take part in one of our Saturday beach clean-ups or spend a day helping a local school. Of course, you can always choose to donate something also if you wish.

4. Street Food Delights

Streetfood in Gambia

Take advantage of the Gambia’s street food scene for cheap, delicious meals. From ‘afra’ (BBQ) stands to local bakeries, you can dine on a budget and savour authentic Gambian flavours. This can be done without the need for transport. Gunjur village is a short 30-minute walk away and you will find street food in the market, close to the mosque.

5. Cycle Around Town

Budget travel on a pushbike

Rent a bicycle for £4 a day and explore the surroundings at your pace. It’s economical, environmentally friendly, and gives you a great sense of freedom. Gambia is flat so cycling between villages and along the coastal roads is easy. Not so easy in the soft sand off the beaten track but think of how fit you will be!

6. Visit the Local Markets

Bustling food market in Janjanburreh

Stroll through local markets like Serrekunda and Brikama. They offer vibrant atmospheres and provide insight into daily Gambian life. Here, you can buy affordable souvenirs and try local snacks. Again, the local Gelli Gelli sets out for Brikama regularly and gets you there in around 40 minutes and costs just a couple of £´s. Once there you can sample the street food for lunch and enjoy the hustle & bustle of market life.

7. Nature Walks in the Community Forests

Lamin walk n talk - Gambia

Find a community forest, like the Brufut Woods Community Project or Tungbung which is right next door to us, with paths you can walk for free. It’s a terrific way to delve into The Gambia’s natural beauty without spending anything. You will see birds and if you are lucky you may see deer, monkeys and maybe a monitor lizard!

8. Cultural Performances

Gambian drumming workshops

Look out for free cultural performances or drumming circles, which frequently happen in tourist areas. These are great ways to immerse yourself in the local culture and entertainment. Also, you can receive personal drumming tuition for less than £5 for approximately 2 hours of lessons, more if your hands are not too sore.

9. Photography Tour

Budget activities

Armed with a camera or a smartphone, set off on a self-guided tour capturing the beauty of the country. The Gambia offers stunning landscapes and vibrant street scenes that won’t cost a penny to admire. With smartphones having such great cameras these days, why not just head out and see what photographic delights come your way? Remember, if you want a snapshot of a local going about his or her day, ask their permission first.

By incorporating these budget-friendly ideas, you can enjoy The Gambia to its fullest without stretching your finances. Remember to respect local customs and regulations, particularly when engaging with wildlife or during cultural exchanges. Enjoy the warmth of The Gambia without the worry of a hefty price tag.

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