Culture in Gambia

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Craft markets are popular in many towns and cities in The Gambia, including Banjul, Serekunda, and Bakau. These markets offer a wide variety of handmade goods, such as wood carvings, batik textiles, silver jewelry, and leather products. Visitors can find unique souvenirs and gifts to take back home, and the markets are also a great place to experience the local culture and interact with the vendors. The prices of the goods in the markets are generally negotiable, so visitors are advised to bargain for the best deals. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and belongings while in the markets, as they can be crowded and busy.

Wood carvings are popular items to purchase in The Gambia. You can find a variety of items, including masks, figurines, furniture, and household decorations, all made of wood. Many of the carvings are handmade and reflect traditional Gambian art and culture.

Gambian shopping can be a unique and enjoyable experience for visitors. In addition to the craft markets mentioned earlier, there are also many local shops and boutiques that sell clothing, accessories, and household items. Some popular items to look out for include brightly colored fabrics, woven baskets, hand-carved wooden masks and figurines, and locally made jewelry.

The Serrekunda Market is one of the largest and most popular markets in The Gambia, and it’s a great place to shop for traditional handicrafts, textiles, clothing, and fresh produce. As a tourist, it’s important to know that haggling over prices is a common practice in the market. If you’re interested in purchasing a souvenir, it’s advisable to visit several stalls and compare prices before making a purchase. You can often get a better deal if you buy multiple items from the same vendor. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to bring small bills and change with you, as many vendors may not have change for larger bills.

When negotiating in Gambian markets, it’s important to keep in mind that bargaining is expected and even considered a part of the shopping experience. Here are a few tips for negotiating:

  1. Start with a lower price: Start with a price that is significantly lower than what the vendor is asking for. This will give you room to negotiate and also help you determine the vendor’s willingness to bargain.
  2. Be respectful: Remember to be polite and respectful during negotiations. Avoid being confrontational or aggressive as this can be seen as rude and may not result in a good deal.
  3. Walk away: If the vendor is not willing to budge on the price and you feel like you’re not getting a good deal, don’t be afraid to walk away. Often, this can prompt the vendor to lower their price to keep the sale.
  4. Don’t show too much interest: If you show too much interest in a particular item, the vendor may sense that you really want it and be less likely to lower the price. Be casual in your approach and show interest in other items as well.
  5. Know the market: Do your research and know what the going rate is for the items you want to buy. This will give you an idea of what a fair price is and help you negotiate more effectively.

It’s not uncommon for guides to assist with negotiations in markets and craft markets in The Gambia. They may be familiar with the local customs and have a better understanding of the local prices. If you are unsure about how to negotiate, it may be helpful to ask your guide for assistance. However, keep in mind that guides may expect a commission or tip for their services. It’s also important to establish clear expectations with your guide beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

In general, the markets in Gambia are not fixed-price markets. Most items sold in the markets are negotiable and the vendors expect the customers to bargain. However, some vendors in tourist areas might have fixed prices for their products. Additionally, some shops and stores in the Gambia might also have fixed prices, especially those in malls or supermarkets. It’s always a good idea to ask the vendor if the price is negotiable or fixed before making a purchase.

Most markets and craft markets in The Gambia are open throughout the week, although it’s usually best to visit them during the daytime hours. The best time to shop for bargains is during the low tourist season, which runs from May to October, as prices are generally lower during this time. However, keep in mind that some vendors may be more willing to negotiate prices during the high tourist season to make up for the slower months.

Souvenirs from Gambia

Souvenirs from Brikama Wood Carving Centre

Kunta Kinte’s Roots in Juffureh

Albreda Town and Fort James

Kunta Kinteh Island

Wassu Stone Circles: Fascinating Archaeological Site

Tanji Fishing Village

Gambian wrestling

Kachikally Crocodile Pool

Museums of the Gambia

The Zinzani Culture Centre

Walking in the countryside

Where to walk along the coast in Gambia