Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 9 August 2022, 15:47 NZST
  • Still current at: 6 December 2022

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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in The Gambia due to the potential for crime and civil unrest (level 2 of 4).

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The Gambia

Political Situation
In January 2017, The Gambia experienced a peaceful transition of power to President Adama Barrow and his coalition government. The political situation has stabilised further, but there is a heightened security presence in the capital, Banjul and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) troops remain in the country.

Civil Unrest
New Zealanders in The Gambia are advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Monitor developments through the media and follow any instructions issued by local authorities.

Local Travel
Avoid the southern border with the Casamance region of Senegal, as separatist rebels operate in this area.

There are a number of security checkpoints in and around the capital Banjul – police roadblocks are common. Expect your vehicle to be searched if stopped by security forces and you may be asked to show identity documentation and vehicle registration.

Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs in The Gambia and is common on isolated beaches, from hotel rooms, on ferries and in markets. Avoid walking alone at night as tourists have been mugged, particularly on beaches.

We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. As victims of robbery are often targeted due to their perceived wealth, it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery. Drive with doors locked and windows up.

Be aware of young men (“bumsters”) who approach tourists, particularly on beaches, who might offer help as a tour guide, sell you things, or use romance to get money from you. Be polite but firm in declining any offers and take care not to offend.

General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in The Gambia, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to The Gambia should consider.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious, social and cultural traditions in The Gambia to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

Photography of government offices, airports, military establishments or embassies, could result in detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.

New Zealanders travelling or living in The Gambia should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in the The Gambia are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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