Serekunda

the Gambia
Serekunda Itinerary

Gambia's secret capital

Duration: 3-4 days

Stay: Rooftop Boutique Hotel  

Serekunda is home to about 400.000 people, and it seems to burst at all seams. Serekunda is Gambia’s biggest city and has long become the economic hub. It’s not exactly pretty or relaxing, but it’s definitely worth a visit to get a glimpse into a busy, authentic Gambian city. Serekunda is also home to Gambia’s biggest market. Serekunda offered us an authentic glimpse into urban West African culture and life. It is easy to reach by bus from the Kombo St. Mary area and is predestined for a day trip.

Serekunda has evolved and consists of 9 villages that became one over time. It is not a typical tourist destination and has minimal touristic infrastructure. The city is very functional and far from pretty, but we found it easier to interact with locals and welcomed a change after our lazy days in Kololi.

Shop at Gambia's biggest market

Gambia’s biggest market forms the heart of Serrekunda. Countless stands surround the Serekunda market building itself, and it’s almost a challenge to find your way through the busy maze. In and outside the market building, you’ll find anything from food, clothes, groceries, household goods, electronics, and everything in between. The market is bustling during the week.
After pushing yourself through the narrow alleys full of people, carts, and goods, you’ll reach the heart of the maze – the Serekunda market building. The market itself is another maze of small alleys. It’s loud, the stands are overflowing, and the smell is intense. But after our days by the beach, the authenticity of the place felt lovely.

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Granada, Nicaragua: market

Tour the batik factory in Serekunda

It’s pretty unimposing, and many people don’t know about it. But Serekunda is also home to a traditional batik factory that still supplies many local shops. A visit is sometimes part of a tour, but you can easily visit the factory yourself and watch the tie-die, design, and waxing process. You’ll find the factory called Ms. Musu Kebba Drammeh’s workshop in Dippa Kunda, off Mosque Road. By the way: it’s an excellent place to shop for some souvenirs.

Watch a wrestling match

Wrestling is the national sport in the Senegambia region. So, if you are around on a Saturday or Sunday, don’t miss out! Typically djembe drummers accompany the contestants and create an intense atmosphere. You can observe the spectacle at Serrekunda West Mini Stadium

wrestling

Practical travel tips for Serekunda

When is the best time to visit Serekunda?

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The best time to travel to The Gambia is during the dry season, which runs from November to June. This is when the weather is most pleasant, and there is less risk of contracting malaria.

How to get to Serekunda?

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Getting to Serekunda is relatively easy. It is Gambia’s busiest city, and minivans from across the country reach the town.

Serekunda's market

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In case you are planning on shopping: haggling is vital! We visited the market with our local friends and observed that the prices for tourists are sometimes 20 times higher than the local ones.

Is Serekunda safe for travelers?

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We have always felt very safe and didn't experience any issues.

Can I drink tap water in the Gambia?

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Bring your water filter or self-cleaning bottle! The Gambia's tap water is not safe to drink. The water does not go through the same purification process as in the EU, and diarrhea can occur in people who have not yet built up immunity to bacteria or other impurities in the water.

What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

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Trash: Plastic pollution is incredible! Bring collapsable food containers, cutlery, and your water filter or UV bottle!

Sex tourism: Sex tourism is a force in the Gambia and is incredibly challenging to witness.

Sunscreen: Protect The Gambia's waters and wear reef-safe sunscreen.

tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

Packing List West Africa

When packing for a trip to The Gambia, remember that the weather is hot and humid year-round. However, the Gambia is also a predominantly Muslim country, so it’s essential to dress accordingly when away from beaches.

Check out our packing list to prepare for all West Africa has to offer. You’ll find anything from clothing to travel gadgets and eco-friendly toiletries.

 

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