15 February 2017

Border crossing Karang Amdellai

While travelling to the Gambia or the Northern Senegal, the border crossing Karang - Amdellai is a must, as well as the ferry crossing from Barra to Banjul. 

Once we were in the Sine Saloum area, we managed to arrive Karang by taxi (Details on the post Unexpected Senegal). The driver then dropped us at the border. If you are travelling by public transport, the bus will leave you at the Gare (bus station) of Karang, from where you can take a taxi or scooter with a driver to reach the border which is just one or two km away. As we got out of the car at the border, people tried to sell us something, especially money exchangers who wanted to sell Dalasi (Gambian Currency), in fact we immediately converted 100 euros to Dalasi, we thought it was more than enough for our three days in the Gambia. If we had waited, we could have had a better exchange rate on the Gambian side.  We advice to  inquire among the money exchangers who at our every single step tried to sell us Dalasi or cfa (Senegalese currency). The border is not separated by a gate, then it is not absolutely necessary to convert the money in Karang as soon as you arrive. You can also walk down the Gambian side and then decide where it is more convenient. They always tried to fool us and since the place was very chaotic, you easily lose control and feel tricked later. It was  such an interesting site, with police men from the both Gambian and Senegalese side going around, such a strange immigration office with plenty of prisoners closed in their cells, looking at you while you wait your turn to get the passports stamped, children who follow you with no reason, teenagers selling phone cards, ladies selling food items and water bags, shops with  unimaginable things, animals like hens, goats and dogs going here and there, even inside the immigration office, stalls everywhere selling second hand of everything. The police man at the Gambian immigration office, watching, soap opera while inspecting our documents was the funniest thing we have ever seen: He was so interested in the story that we felt like we were disturbing him. Sadly photos were not allowed here!!! Nowadays (September 2016) tourist visa is not required for Italian passport holders to get into The Gambia and Senegal. At the immigration office (Gambian side this time) someway they tried to get some money from us even if it was not technically correct. They didn't explicily ask us but they made us realize; they tried to make us uncomfortable with unexpected questions. In fact the immigration officer began to ask me the yellow fever vaccination card which was at that moment not required to enter in to the Gambia. Don't give up if you really know the rules. If you insist on nonpaying they finally let you go. Use your common sense of course; they are able to wait all day. I had to say that I was a student to make him thinking that I was travelling with such a modest budget. Every police officer was swayed by money probably because of the poverty of their country. It certainly took more than an hour before we were done with all this bureaucracy. After the customs we immediately hopped on a bus to Barra for the ferry. The bus stop was just a few step away from the Amdellai immigration office and regular busses run (15 minutes) from Amdellai border to Barra Ferry station for 30 Dalasi.

Read also:
Things to do in Senegal
Lamin Lodge
Jinack Island

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