13 Fun Facts About Gambia Revealing the Hidden Secrets


Wrapped by Senegal from three sides and the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa.

Inhabiting along the banks of the Gambia River, the Republic of The Gambia has dense tropical forests with diverse wildlife. You will be amazed by the exotic biodiversity of The Gambia, like bottlenose dolphins, spitting cobras, bush pigs, and warthogs.

Do you want to know what’s more to this country? Stay hooked for these fun facts about the smiling coast of Africa. 

1. Kachikally Crocodile Pool Has Mystical Powers!

The Kachikally Crocodile pool in Bakau is a famous tourist attraction. But what is so sacred about this place?

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Crocodile pool in Gambia. Source: Wikipedia

The pool houses Nile crocodiles, considered a symbol of strength and sanctity by the Gambians. It is believed by the locals that women who are unable to conceive dip in the pool and pray.

While your tour this spot, your guide can help if you want to get too close to these reptiles. 

2. The West African Country Houses Nine Ethnic Groups

The Gambia is a narrow strip of land along the river Gambia that is inhabited by 9 ethnic groups speaking varied languages. But do not worry when you are here in the Gambia, as English is the official language apart from Mandinka and Wolof, the most widely spoken native languages. 

3. Gambians Sustain On Agriculture

Agriculture is the main occupation of the Gambians, with approximately 80% of the workforce in the fields. They are mostly into subsistence agriculture due to adverse climatic conditions.

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The country’s major cash crop is groundnuts, their main export. It is also an important ingredient in their national dish Domoda- a rich peanut stew with chicken, meat, and tomatoes. 

4. The Stone Circles Of Senegambia Is An Ancient World Heritage Site

The Senegambian stone circles are a UNESCO World Heritage site shared between Senegal and The Gambia. It has a remarkable concentration of over 1000 monuments in a stretch of 100 km.

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Senegambian stone circles. Source: Wikipedia

The archaeologists suggest a prosperous society from the excavated remains from over 1500 years ago. 

5. The Gambia Has Treat For The Birdwatchers

The Gambia, which is populated along the banks of river Gambia, has more than 500 species of birds, and you can treat your eyes with their splendid colors. You can discover exotic bird species, from Pied Kingfisher to Red-billed Firefinch, in the mangrove swamps and floodplains of the country. 

6. The Best Selling Novel “Roots” Has Its Root In Gambia

Have you seen the American miniseries “Roots” based on the best-selling novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family”?

Authored by Alex Haley, the story revolved around the slave trade in the 18th century. The plot reflects the history of a boy sold as an enslaved person in North America and the life of his descendants till Haley. 

7. Abuko Nature Reserve- The Closest Tropical Forest To Europe

Tourists flock to Abuko National Park to experience the diverse and impressive flora and fauna the country boasts.

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Abuko Nature Reserve, Gambia. Source: Wikipedia

This natural conservation area is the first wildlife park in the Gambia that inhabits antelopes, snakes, crocodiles, hedgehogs, and monkeys. The place attracts explorers from around the world to experience the African wildlife in their natural habitat. 

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8. The Gambia Has An Interesting Voting System

Children play with marbles, and adults elect their leader with them. Yes, that’s the case in the Gambia.

No EVMs or ballot box voting systems exist, but the citizens drop a marble in the hole where their leader is mentioned. Interesting way to poll that also enables illiterates to cast a vote, isn’t it? 

9. The Gambia Is A Liberal Muslim Country

Islam is followed by more than 90% of the population in the Gambia, but it is less restricted than in other Muslim countries.

Alcohol which is banned in most Islamic nations, is allowed in the Gambia. Moreover, they brew their beer named Julbrew in the capital city of Banjul. 

10. Kunta Kinteh Island Has Slave Trade Stories To Tell

The Kunta Kinteh Island, enriched with history, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known as James Island in the erstwhile.

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The remaining part of Fort James on James Island, The Gambia Source: Wikipedia

It served as the center point of the slave trade centuries ago, from where they sold slaves of Africa and were transported to Europe or America. The site has ruins from that era depicting the story of inhumanity and cruelty. 

11. You Call It “The Gambia” And Not Gambia

You would have noticed by now that everywhere I am calling this nation in West Africa Gambia with an article “The.” Do you want to know the fuss about the country’s official name?

The Portuguese explorer named the country after the river Gambia, but another independent nation emerged with a similar moniker after centuries. Then Northern Rhodesia was called later called Zambia.

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To distinguish between the two siblings, Gambia was renamed The Gambia. 

12. The Lost Chimpanzees Are Conserved On The Baboon Island

Started with 9 orphaned primates, The Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project was founded by the wildlife department officer and his daughter. They rescued the apes from traffickers and provided a natural habitat in the wild to thrive upon.

Today Baboon Island has about one hundred chimpanzees and other wildlife creatures like, hippos, crocodiles, red columbus monkeys, and baboons that can be toured by boat. 

13. Gambians Were Led By A Tyrant Ruler For More Than Two Decades

Yahya Jammeh was the former president of Gambia who dictated the nation from 1994. Jammeh was popular for all the wrong reasons during his rule. He ordered unlawful punishments, torture, and execution for anyone speaking against him. After being defeated by Adama Barrow, he went into exile. 


Since discovering how much fun and learning are to be had traveling, Alex has made it a point to tour his home country and continent while still in his heydays. His ultimate desire is to travel farther afield to see the wonders of Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. When he isn’t traveling, he takes his time to write about various places to share his experiences with other global citizens.

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