Coming to Fathala from Gambia – 10 things you need to know about the ferry trip.
A lot of our guests, both over night and day visitors come from The Gambia. And something that you cannot avoid is the ferry from Banjul to Barra. Speaking to a lot of our guests we realised some people love the experience and others didn’t enjoy one bit.
Here are a couple of things we want our guests to know about the ferry on route to Fathala…
- Make sure you pack sunscreen and sunglasses. Because you will be in the sun a lot of the time.
- You will stand in long lines for your tickets, make sure you have some water to keep you refreshed. Another thing you must know in these lines is that people will try push in front of you – so don’t let them, otherwise you won’t get to the front.
- Make sure you know the price of the ferry tickets before you pay.
- The ferry is almost always overcrowded and you will most probably not find a seat, but it is honestly not that long – the trip itself is about 20 minutes. There are on average 20 000 people using the ferry crossing daily.
- It is not dangerous at all, it is truly a way to see the culture of Gambia as well as once in a lifetime experience.
- The ferry hardly runs to schedule, and it may take hours to make the crossing. So plan ahead if you have to be at Fathala early.
- There are two ferries running, an older one that has been used for many years and a newer one, obviously the older one is isn’t in as great condition as the new one. But it’s the luck of the draw as to which ferry you will get for your trip. The old on also does not have a toilet, so we suggest you go to the toilet before!
- We often suggest to our guests to wait for the other people to disembark first, as everybody wants to rush off, it is just the safest thing to wait.
- There is a small market outside of the terminal, you can kill time by browsing through there.
- If you don’t have transport plans, there are masses of taxis waiting to take you exactly where you want to go. If you haven’t booked our Barra transfer, just tell one of these friendly taxi drivers you want to go to Fathala, they will know exactly where to go!
No matter if you enjoy the trip or not, it is really a once in a lifetime experience that you will be telling people of for years! We do suggest using our Barra transfer, it just takes the stress off of worrying about finding a taxi driver at the terminal. Our transfer includes pick up at the Barra terminal, right where you get off the ferry. Transport over the border, (please know that this too can be quite a wait) where our driver will wait for you. And then the short ride to Fathala lodge!