Money in Gambia

 

Gambian currency

The local currency is Gambian dalasis, normally written as D. One dalasi is made up of 100 bututs.

Most Gambian money you will handle comes in the form of banknotes, many of which will be dirty, crumpled and fragile. It’s part of the experience! Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 dalasis. When you buy Gambian dalasi, you will be given 100 and 200 dalasi notes; however, bear in mind that many transactions such as tips and small purchases will be for just a few dalasis, so be sure to keep smaller notes handy. Sellers will change the larger notes, but you will do them a favour by not asking them to.

Gambian coins come in denominations of 25 bututs, 50 bututs and 1 dalasi. It is rare as a visitor to receive coins because of their low value; most prices are set to the nearest 5 dalasi.

 

Gambian dalasi exchange rate

The Gambian exchange rate isn’t subject to wild fluctuations, but it is still wise to check before you change your foreign currency for Gambia dalasis. 

We recommend xe.com for the most up-to-date exchange rates; download the app (Apple/Android) to access the latest rates on the go, including when you don’t have an internet connection.

Gambian dalasis to pounds (GBP)
Gambian dalasi to euro (EUR)
Gambia currency to USD

ATMs

ATMs are available but may not always accept a foreign card. The ATM on the Senegambia strip in Kololi is convenient for many travellers and does accept foreign cards, including Mastercard; there is a limit to how much cash can be withdrawn in one transaction, but multiple transactions are possible in the same day. If you plan to use an ATM, be sure to tell your bank that you will be withdrawing cash in The Gambia to avoid difficulties.

ATMs should generally be used as a last resort, however. Far better to bring cash; if your home currency is USD, EUR or GBP, it is simpler to overestimate how much you will need and spend the remainder back home.

How to get your Gambia money

Gambian currency is hard to obtain outside the country; far better, then to take foreign currency with you and change it there.

US dollars, euros and British pounds can all be changed easily in The Gambia.

Exchange offices are available at the airport and at border crossings; consider changing around D2000 to cover initial expenses before obtaining the rest of your money at a cheaper location. Make sure you check the exchange rate before handing over your foreign currency, and check the amount you are given before you leave the exchange booth, especially at land borders. 

Away from the airport and borders, foreign exchange bureaux can be found in the major tourist areas including Kololi, Senegambia, Kotu, Bijilo and Fajara. Outside these areas facilities are less readily available, so plan accordingly if you will be heading away for several days. Money can also often be changed at Western Union branches located close to tourist hotels.

Credit and debit cards

The Gambian economy is cash-based, and paying with plastic is uncommon. You will normally be expected to pay in banknotes, even for large purchases such as accommodation.

Tipping in The Gambia

Wages in The Gambia are low, and visitor tips are an important source of income.

In restaurants, aim to tip around 10% of the bill. In hotels, D100 per room per night is reasonable; hotels often have a tip box in Reception, or hand the money to a senior staff member who will ensure it is distributed fairly.

Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped; however, tip a small amount to anyone doing you a favour, such as posing for photos, carrying baggage or letting your visit their home or business.

If taking a tour with a tour guide, a tip of a few dollars per day per person is appropriate.

Sending money to Gambia?

If you need to send money to Gambia, whether to pay a hotel deposit, book a tour or as an emergency source of funds, the most popular method is by money transfer. Western Union or Moneygram are the most common choices, and have offices all over the country – in built-up areas, you will trip over them every few hundred metres.

To send a money transfer to Gambia, you will need to set up an account. Visit