Geography of Gambia


Terrain shapes and bedrock

According to 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

Gambia Wildlife

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.

Nature conservation

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.