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Formed and started operations in 2004. Domestic & regional, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
55 Kairaba Avenue
Gambia (Republic of The Gambia) was established in 1965, it covers an area of 11,295 sq km, its population is 1.4 million, its capital city is Banjul (population 50,000), and its official languages are English, Fula, Mandingo, and Wolof.
The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965; it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the President and banned political activity, but a 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002.
The Gambia has no significant mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. Re-export trade normally constitutes a major segment of economic activity, but a 1999 government-imposed pre-shipment inspection plan, and instability of the Gambian dalasi (currency) have drawn some of the re-export trade away from The Gambia. The government's 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts. Despite an announced program to begin privatizing key parastatals, no plans have been made public that would indicate that the government intends to follow through on its promises. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector.
Weather: The Gambia is generally recognized to have the most agreeable climate in West Africa. The weather is subtropical with distinct dry and rainy seasons. From mid-November to mid-May, coastal areas are dry, while the rainy season lasts from June to October. Inland, the cool season is shorter and daytime temperatures are very high between March and June. Sunny periods occur on most days even during the rainy season.
Handshaking is a common form of greeting; Nanga def (‘How are you?’) is the traditional greeting. Gambians are extremely friendly and welcoming and visitors should not be afraid to accept their hospitality. Many Gambians are Muslim and their religious customs and beliefs should be respected by guests; however, most understand the English customs and language. Visitors should remember that the right hand must be used for the giving or receiving of food or objects. Casual wear is suitable, although beachwear should only be worn on the beach or at the poolside. Only the most exclusive dining rooms encourage guests to dress for dinner. Despite the effects of tourism, traditional culture in music, dancing and craftsmanship still flourishes in the many villages on both banks of the River Gambia.
Tipping: 10% charge is sometimes included in hotel and restaurant bills.
Road Traffic: Traffic drives on the right. There are 2700 km/1675 miles of roads in the country, about 32% of which are paved. Roads in and around Banjul are mostly bituminised, but unsealed roads often become impassable in the rainy season. Extensive road improvements are underway; the latest additions are the Kombo coastal roads which have improved access to the airport and other popular sights and attractions. Bus: Local buses operate between Banjul and a number of towns and villages throughout the country. The services are fairly reliable, but buses tend to be overcrowded. Taxis: There are three types of taxis: Tourist Taxis are usually painted green and are licensed by the Gambian Tourist Authority. They operate a queue system outside hotels and resort areas and have a published tariff for set distances inside the taxi; General Purpose Taxis are usually painted yellow with green stripes - these are usually four person shared taxis which are usually used for short distances; Collective 'Bush' Taxis are usually seven-seater vans and go anywhere in the country, stopping wherever passengers want to get off, and picking up new passengers when there is room. It is advisable to settle taxi fares in advance. Car hire: AB and Hertz operate in the Gambia; check with the car hire company for details before traveling. Documentation: An International Driving Permit will be accepted for a period of three months. A temporary license is available from the local authorities on presentation of a valid UK license. Bicycle hire: Bikes are available to rent at many hotels and resorts.
Banjul & The Coast:
The River Gambia is several miles wide at its mouth near Cape St Mary. It narrows to 5 km/3 miles at Banjul (known as Bathurst in pre-independence days), which is situated on St Mary’s Island and has a deep and sheltered harbor.
The only sizeable town in the country, Banjul is also the seat of government. There is an interesting National Museum. The area around MacCarthy Square has a colonial atmosphere, with pleasant 19th-century architecture. Nearby is the craft market. Souvenirs and local handicrafts can also be bought at various bengdulala (meaning a ‘meeting place’ in the Mandinka language); shopping areas consisting of African-style stalls, are usually built near hotels.
The Atlantic coast to the south of Banjul boasts some of the finest beaches in all of Africa with no less than 15 hotels in the Banjul, Kombo and St Mary area. They are served by the international airport at Yundum, 15 miles southwest of the capital.
The River Gambia:
This is the dominant feature of the country and is the major method of irrigation, as well as providing opportunities for fishing, boating and sailing. It is possible to take boat trips up the river. Most remarkable is the abundance and variety of birdlife.
The Abuko Nature Reserve, which has crocodiles, monkeys, birds and antelopes, is worth visiting. Details of cruises can be found on hotel noticeboards. The Kiang West National Park also has a rich birdlife as well as other animal species; tourist facilities in the park are well developed. Banjul is the starting point for coach and river trips to all parts of the country and coastline. The whole river and the numerous creeks (known locally as bolongs) which join it, are fascinating to both the bird lover and the student of nature.
Fort Bullen at Barra Point was built by the British 200 years ago to cover the approaches to Banjul and the river, succeeding James Island Fortress (destroyed by the French) as the main point of defense in the colony. It can be reached by direct ferry from the capital. Oyster Creek is the center of an area of creeks and waterways which can be visited from Banjul.
Upriver from Banjul:
Albreda was the main French trading post before they withdrew from The Gambia. Nearby is the village of Juffure, the alleged home of the ancestors of black American writer Alex Haley, author of the famous book "Roots." However, the authenticity of his account has been questioned over the years. Visitors who want to see more of the countryside may cross by ferry from Banjul to Barra and travel by road to Juffure and Albreda (the journey lasts about 50 minutes), and then by canoe to James Island in the calm waters of the River Gambia. The Niokolo-Koba National Park in the Upper Casamance regions is a World Heritage site of outstanding beauty. The popular tourist destination of Tendaba is 160 km/100 miles from Banjul by river or road. Further upriver, the fascinating circles of standing stones around Wassau have now been identified as burial grounds more than 1200 years old. Georgetown was the ‘second city’ of colonial days, and is still the administrative and trading center of the region. Basse Santa Su is the major trading center for the upper reaches of the Gambia River. Handsome trading houses built at the turn of the century can be seen there. By the riverside at Perai Tenda can be found a multitude of abandoned shops formerly operated by European, Gambian and Lebanese merchants in the days when upriver commerce offered substantial profits for private traders.
Religion: Muslim (90%); Christian (9%); & indigenous beliefs (1%).
January 2004: 2 737-201's (22799, 5N-NYA; 22806, 5N-ZNA), Jetran leased.
February 2004: Started operations. Lagos - Oswerri (737-201). Plans service to Calabar, Enugu, & Port Harcourt with a fleet of 7 737-200's.
Owned by state governor Irji Kalu of Abia and headed by Captain Ernest Bell-Gam.
March 2004: Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspends Slok Air (SLZ)'s Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) for alleged "unethical practices" (operating 4 airplanes when it was only licensed to operate 2, and accused of running its services without sufficient technical manpower - required +12).
2 737-201's (22797, 5N-EUN; 22798, 5N-IFY), Jetran leased.
June 2004: (http://www.slokgroup.com). (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(737-2B7 (22881, 5N-BGU), Jetran leased.
July 2004: 2 737-201's (22795, C5-OBJ; 22796, C5-OUK), bought from Jetran (CII).
April 2005: Re-named from "Slok Air" to "Slok Air-Gambia International" and operates out of Banjul, Gambia as its hub, connecting to 10 countries on the West coast of Africa.
September 2005: Adds new routes to Doula (Cameroon), Brazzaville (Congo), & Malabo (Equatorial Guinea).
November 2006: (IATA) Code: SO.
Main Base: Lagos Murtala Muhammed airport (LOS).
December 2008: World nations currently rated Category 2 by the USA (FAA) under the agency's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program are: Bangladesh, Belize, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Kiribati, Montenegro, Nauru, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Swaziland, Ukraine, Uruguay and Zimbabwe. The (FAA) rating prevents nation's airlines being allowed to fly into the USA. They have the option to fly to the USA with an airline who is approved under Category 1.
The (FAA) states that a Category 2 rating "may involve a country lacking laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with international standards, or that its civil aviation authority does not meet international standards in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping, or inspection procedures."
July 2009: Slok Air International (Gambia) operates scheduled passenger services in West Africa, linking Banjul to Abidjan, Accra, Bamako, Conakry, Dakar, Freetown, and Monrovia.
(IATA) Code: SO. (ICAO) Code: OKS (Callsign - SLOK GAMBIA).
Main Base: Banjul International airport (BJL).
Destinations: Abidjan (Ivory Coast); Accra (Ghana); Bamako (Mali); Banjul (Gambia); Conakry (Guinea); Dakar (Senegal); Freetown (Sierra Leone); & Monrovia (Liberia) - - SEE ATTACHED - - "SLZ-MAP."