Animals and Plants
Which animals live in Gambia?
Elephants, lions and giraffes no longer live in the Gambia. They were exterminated by hunters and poachers. However, 108 species of mammals live in the small country. Monkeys in particular are common. They include the Guinea baboon, the vervet monkey, the West African colobus monkey, and the hussar monkey.
The country’s antelopes include the sitatunga, kob, and bushbuck. Warthogs and aardvarks are common. The hippopotamus also still occurs, albeit with only about 100 animals in the middle and east of the country. Predators are the leopard, the spotted hyena, the serval, the Haussa genet, the mongoose and the capotter.
Many birds live in the Gambia
The bird world is diverse. Migratory birds also come to Gambia. You spend the winter here in the warm. On the coast there are many species of heron such as the Goliath heron or the cattle egret, but also flamingos, spoonbills and ibises. Francoline, a pheasant bird, live all over the country.
Crocodiles in the river
The Gambia River was once thought to be particularly rich in crocodiles. Nowadays it’s no longer like that. However, Nile crocodiles and crocodiles still occur. The crocodile is considered sacred in Gambia. There are three “sacred crocodile pools” in which the animals are kept. The crocodile is also a symbol of fertility. A Gambian proverb says: “If you see a white crocodile in the river, you will have a lot of children.” Touching the crocodiles at the places of worship is said to bring luck… Other reptiles are snakes, monitor lizards (such as the Nile monitor) and lizards (such as the settler dragon).
Marine animals off the coast
Dolphins, African manatees (a manatee), green turtles and minke whales live in the Atlantic off Gambia’s coast. Of course, many fish species are also native here, as well as crustaceans and mussels. Oysters feel good on the mangroves, for example the mangrove oyster.
What is growing in Gambia?
According to Countryaah, the Gambia lies between the Sahel zone in the north and the tropical rainforest in the south and thus in the Sudan landscape. The savannah is the predominant form of the landscape. Grasses and a few trees grow. These include the baobab, mahogany, and the rosewood. The red kapok tree and Afzelia africana also grow here. To the northeast it becomes drier, the vegetation is sparse than in the south and on the coast in the west. Here you can also find Anogeissus leiocarpa and the Néré tree (Parkia biglobosa).
Because the Gambia River runs through the whole country, it also influences the landscape and thus the plants and animals that grow here. The river and its tributaries growing gallery forest – unless it is cut down. For example, ebony occurs here.
The west of Gambia is covered with mangrove forests. This landscape protrudes from the mouth of the Gambia River to 150 kilometers inland – as far as the salt water of the Atlantic has influence. Because mangrove trees grow in salt water. Red and white mangroves and rhizophora grow in the Gambia. The mangrove forests turn into swamps, in which, for example, marsh grass grows. The locals call the swamps that join the mangroves Banto Faros.
There are other forests on the coast. The Ethiopian palmyra palm occurs here, as well as figs, cinnamon apples and oil palms.
The Gambia is one of the poorer countries in the world. In 2018, Gambia was ranked 174th out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index, which compares the wealth of countries.
The country’s income comes mainly from the services sector, namely 65 percent. Tourism plays a special role here, which alone brings in 20 percent. Industry only generates 14 percent and agriculture 21 percent. These are the shares in the gross domestic product as estimated for 2017. Peanuts in particular are sold abroad, i.e. exported. Fish, cotton and palm kernel oil are other products for export. The country has no natural resources.
Agriculture: peanuts, cotton and oil palms
Although only 21 percent of the country’s income comes from agriculture, three quarters of the population work in this area. Mainly peanuts are grown for export.
Millet, rice, cassava and corn are grown, but mostly for their own consumption. However, the quantities are not enough to supply the population. These foods also have to be imported, i.e. bought from other countries.
Cotton and oil palms are grown in plantations, cotton in the east, oil palms on the coast in the west. Palm kernel oil is made from the fruits of the oil palm. Both are also exported. Dates, figs, mangoes, avocados and pineapples are also grown. Cattle, goats and sheep are kept.
Industry for peanuts, fish, wood and metal
There are factories in which the peanuts are processed. For example, peanut oil is produced here. Fish, wood and metal processing are other branches of the industry. Overall, however, there is little industry and there are more small businesses than large factories.
Services, especially tourism, play a far greater role for the country. Together with Senegal, the Gambia is one of the most popular holiday destinations in West Africa. However, there were always crises in tourism.
The beautiful beaches are the destination of most visitors. Excursions on the Gambia River and bird watching are also popular. Some also come here to learn to drum on a djembé. A problem in the tourist resorts are many bumpers (Schnorrer) who annoy the tourists, especially women, offer themselves as tour guides and expect money or an invitation to Europe for it.