Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, the Gambia is completely dominated by the Gambia River
and consists of a narrow strip of land on either side of the
river. The width of the low plateau of tertiary sandstone
intersected by the river is 25–50 km, the length is 475 km
and the height 25–75 m above sea level. The landscape
consists mostly of flat, sandy terrain, where the slopes
rarely exceed 3 °. In the eastern part of the Gambia the
terrain consists of narrow valleys separated by wide and
flat hills. In the west, on the other hand, smaller, low
sandy hills with up to 5 km wide sinks filled with sand
alternate, so that even plains are formed.
The soil in the upper part of the country is more clayey
and fertile than is the case in the lower parts of the
river, where the sand dominates.
The Gambia has a tropical savannah climate with a
relatively long dry season (November – May), which is the
somewhat cooler part of the year, and an intense rainy
season during the summer. The rainfall varies from 760 to
1,400 mm per year and is greatest closest to the coast. The
relative humidity is high, especially July-November, but
falls during December-April, when the dry northeast wind
blows the Harmattan wind.
The average temperature in the west is 25 °C, against 28
°C in the far east, but the daytime temperatures during the
year vary from 16 °C to 43 °C and exceed April-June 32 °C.
Plant-and animal life
Most of the country is covered by Guinea ash, ie. dry
fields with about 2 m tall grass and groups of most low and
fewer higher deciduous trees. During the dry season, most of
the trees fall off their leaves, and the grass is usually
deliberately ignited by the population to facilitate access
and to force fresh grazing. Dense forests are found only off
the coast of the south along the Senegalese border - a
remnant of the moist West African forest savannah - and
along the lower half of the Gambia River in the form of a
narrow border (gallery forest) of mangrove trees. Palm trees
are common especially in coastal areas; In humidifiers, oil
palm and palmyar palm are often seen.
Higher wildlife is greatly depleted as a result of
unrestrained hunting and biotope destruction. As a traveler
sees mostly monkeys, primarily guinea baboon (Pa'pio
pa'pio), vervet monkey, red colobusapa (Proco'lobus
ba'dius) and patas monkey, squirrels, namely the West
African ground squirrel (Xe'rus ery'thropus) and
sole correlate (Heliosciurus [-ʃu:'-]
gambia'nus) as well as the large fruit-eating bat
Gambian epalette flying dog (Epomoʹphorus
gambiaʹnus). Other larger mammals include streaky
jackal (Caʹnis aduʹstus), spotted hyena, warthog,
hippopotamus, bushbuck, citatu, common pig and in the sea
senegal manate (Tricheʹchus senegaleʹnsis).
500 species of birds have been observed, of which about
250 are nesting. Many Northern European species, including
waders and seals, winter in Gambia. In the country there are
about ten species of amphibians, about six species of
turtles (including the sea creatures), all three African
species of crocodiles (none are more common), about 15
species of lizards and some 30 species of snakes, among
others. black and white lip cobra (Naʹja melanoleuca
[-le u ʹka]) and green mamba. In the
mangrove swamp, sludge crawlers and the angler crab Uʹca
tangeʹri are common.
There are three national parks and a couple of reserves,
of which the small but very rich Abouko National Reserve 19
km outside Banjul can be particularly highlighted.