Foreign travel advice

Gambia

Summary

Thomas Cook is planning final six repatriation flights from The Gambia on Friday 20 January. Any flight-only customers that have not yet been in contact to arrange their flight back to the UK should call Thomas Cook on +44 161 774 2966 as soon as possible for details of their allocated flight.

Passengers due to fly should arrive at Banjul International Airport at least four hours prior to departure.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to the city of Banjul. This is the area on Banjul Island around State House, a potential flashpoint in the event of a military intervention. This is well away from the tourist areas.

The FCO also advise against all but essential travel to The Gambia as a whole (including Banjul airport) due to ongoing political uncertainty and potential military intervention following the Presidential elections on 1 December 2016. If you’re currently in The Gambia you should leave by commercial means if you have no essential need to remain. Contact your airline or travel company for more information about departure options.

The incumbent President, Yahya Jammeh, continues to contest the election results at the Supreme Court, while the President elect, Mr. Adama Barrow, has left the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has stated it may intervene, including possible military action, if President Jammeh doesn’t step down on the scheduled handover date of 18/19 January 2017.

This has led to intransigence on the part of the sitting government, resulting in reports that it has started to take restrictive measures, including shutting down opposition radio stations and making politically motivated arrests. The potential for military intervention and civil disturbance is high and could result in Banjul International Airport being closed at short notice.

You should follow events closely, take extra care, keep in regular contact with your tour operator and airline and continue to monitor travel advice and social media updates in case tensions rise as the current political deadlock continues. Avoid large crowds and avoid discussing politically sensitive topics in public. Read more about how to be prepared in case of a possible crisis

There is an underlying threat from terrorism. You should be vigilant after recent attacks in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso, especially in places visited by foreigners. See Terrorism

It hasn’t always been possible for the British Embassy to gain early access to detained British nationals in The Gambia. If you’re living in The Gambia, you should contact the British Embassy who will be able to advise on how to contact consular staff in the event of an emergency.

Some foreign nationals have been detained by the police in relation to homosexuality and there has been a recent increase in inflammatory homophobic rhetoric across the country. See Local laws and Customs

There are a number of checkpoints operating in and around the capital. Expect your vehicle to be searched if you’re stopped by security forces.

Most visits to The Gambia are trouble-free although independent travellers are at increased risk due to the lack of local support in an emergency. If you’re travelling independently, make sure next of kin in the UK have details of your itinerary and keep in regular touch. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The Gambia has provision in law for the implementation of the death penalty for a number of crimes including arson, murder and treason. See Local laws and Customs

Take care when swimming in the sea. Tides, waves and under currents can all be very strong.