Dining Out in Gambia

Dining Out in the Gambia

Benachin, Domoda, and Yassa are three of the most popular traditional dishes in The Gambia. Benachin, also known as “one pot” or “jollof rice,” is a dish made with rice, vegetables, and meat or fish cooked together in one pot with various spices. Domoda is a savory stew made with peanuts, tomato paste, and meat, typically chicken or beef, served with rice. Yassa is a marinated grilled chicken or fish dish, typically served with onions, lemon, and mustard.

Apart from traditional dishes, there are also many international cuisine options available in The Gambia. Some popular types of restaurants include Chinese, Italian, Indian, Lebanese, and European-style cuisine. In addition, there are also many seafood restaurants, given the country’s coastal location.

The cost of a meal in The Gambia can vary depending on the type of restaurant and the level of luxury. Here are some approximate price ranges for local, mid-level, and high-end restaurants:

  • Local restaurants: In local restaurants, you can expect to pay around 50-100 GMD (about 1-2 USD) for a simple meal such as rice and fish or chicken.
  • Mid-level restaurants: Mid-level restaurants will typically charge around 300-500 GMD (about 6-10 USD) for a main course.
  • High-end restaurants: High-end restaurants in The Gambia can be quite expensive and may charge 800-1500 GMD (about 16-30 USD) or more for a main course.

It’s worth noting that these are just approximate price ranges, and some restaurants may be more or less expensive than others. Additionally, prices may fluctuate depending on the location and the time of year.

Here is a seven-day dinner plan in Gambia:

Day 1:

  • Restaurant: Calypso Beach Bar & Restaurant in Kotu
  • Cuisine: International
  • Recommended Dish: Grilled Fish with Chips
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 300-500 per person

Day 2:

  • Restaurant: Ngala Lodge in Bakau
  • Cuisine: European/International
  • Recommended Dish: Seafood Platter
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 500-700 per person

Day 3:

  • Restaurant: Lamin Lodge in Lamin
  • Cuisine: Gambian
  • Recommended Dish: Chicken Yassa
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 250-400 per person

Day 4:

  • Restaurant: Butcher’s Shop & Grill in Kololi
  • Cuisine: Steakhouse
  • Recommended Dish: Fillet Steak
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 400-600 per person

Day 5:

  • Restaurant: Ninki Nanka Restaurant in Kololi
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Recommended Dish: Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 200-400 per person

Day 6:

  • Restaurant: Luigi’s Italian Restaurant in Kotu
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Recommended Dish: Lasagna
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 250-450 per person

Day 7:

  • Restaurant: Golden Beach Hotel in Bakau
  • Cuisine: International
  • Recommended Dish: Grilled Prawns
  • Cost: Approximately GMD 300-500 per person

Kombo Beach Hotel is located on the beautiful Kotu Beach and offers several beachfront dining options.

Here is a sample seven-day dinner plan:

Day 1: The Beach Bar & Grill – enjoy grilled seafood and meat with a refreshing cocktail while watching the sunset.

Day 2: Palms Restaurant – try some traditional Gambian dishes such as yassa chicken or benachin while listening to live music.

Day 3: Kudula Beach Bar – feast on delicious tapas and sushi with a tropical cocktail in a relaxed atmosphere.

Day 4: Sunset Restaurant – indulge in a four-course fine dining experience with stunning ocean views.

Day 5: The Beach Bar & Grill – come back to this casual spot for some delicious burgers and fries.

Day 6: Akwaba Restaurant – savor some French cuisine such as escargots and duck confit in a romantic setting.

Day 7: Kudula Beach Bar – end your trip with a festive beach party complete with BBQ and live music.

Gambia is a leader in Responsible Tourism 

The Gambia is considered a leader in sustainable tourism, as it has taken significant steps to promote responsible tourism practices. In fact, The Gambia was the second country in the world to develop a Responsible Tourism Policy, which emphasizes the importance of environmental and social sustainability in tourism.

Various individuals and organizations in The Gambia have won global awards for their efforts in promoting sustainable tourism. For example, the ecotourism company Footsteps Eco-Lodge has won multiple awards for its sustainable practices, including the Travelife Gold Award and the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Platinum Award.

Other sustainable tourism initiatives in The Gambia include programs that promote social inclusion, such as providing job training and employment opportunities to local communities, and initiatives that empower small enterprises in tourism, such as supporting local artisans and farmers. Overall, The Gambia’s commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism has helped to ensure that its tourism industry benefits both visitors and local communities while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

There are several eco-lodges and associations in The Gambia that have won awards for their sustainable practices.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Makasutu Cultural Forest: This eco-lodge has won several awards for its responsible tourism practices, including the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in 2006. The lodge is set within a 1000-acre forest and offers guests the opportunity to experience the local culture and wildlife while minimizing their impact on the environment.
  2. Footsteps Eco Lodge: This eco-lodge has won the Travelife Gold Award for its commitment to sustainable tourism. The lodge is powered by solar energy and uses composting toilets and rainwater harvesting to minimize its environmental impact. It also supports local communities by sourcing food and supplies from nearby villages.
  3. The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute (GTHI): This institution has won several awards for its commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism education. It offers training in sustainable tourism practices to local hospitality professionals, with a focus on reducing waste, conserving water and energy, and promoting cultural heritage.
  4. The Gambia Responsible Tourism Awards: This annual event recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made outstanding contributions to sustainable tourism in The Gambia. Awards are given in categories such as community tourism, conservation, and innovation.

Overall, The Gambia has made significant strides in promoting sustainable tourism and responsible travel practices. Visitors to the country can support these efforts by choosing eco-friendly accommodation options, engaging in responsible wildlife tourism, and supporting local communities through their travel purchases.

The ASSET First Choice Holiday Award for Best in Poverty Reduction was awarded to The Gambia in 2009.

The Makasutu Culture Forest received the Sunday Times Best Eco Lodge Award in 2008.

The Gambia’s Responsible Tourism Policy. The policy was developed by the Responsible Tourism Partnership through a multi-stakeholder process and aims to promote sustainable tourism practices in The Gambia. The government recognizes the importance of tourism to the country’s economy and is committed to ensuring that the tourism industry contributes to the development of local communities, protects the environment, and preserves cultural heritage. The policy includes measures to promote responsible tourism practices such as reducing waste, conserving energy and water, supporting local businesses, and preserving natural and cultural resources.

The GTBoard/UNICEF Code of Conduct towards Children aims to prevent the exploitation of children in the tourism industry in The Gambia. The code outlines a set of guidelines for the tourism industry to follow in order to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

The guidelines include measures such as not using children in any form of sexual exploitation, not employing children in any hazardous work, not encouraging any activities that exploit or abuse children, and reporting any suspected cases of child abuse or exploitation.

The code also provides training and education for tourism industry personnel on child protection, and encourages them to raise awareness among tourists and other stakeholders about the importance of protecting children in the tourism industry.