International Driving Permit Gambia

International Driving Permit Gambia

Situated on the Atlantic coast, Gambia is a beautiful country on the Atlantic coast. The country has an unusual, elongated shape due to the area following the Gambia River. This became an attraction for the European Empires worldwide during the 19th century. The Gambia is known for its blissful beaches, incredible wildlife, and stunning rivers. This small country has history, culture, natural beauty, and a population of approximately 2.28 million.

It is the perfect place to visit to feel the warmth of the winter sun. This densely populated country attracts tourists from all over the world searching for a lifetime of experiences. The Muslim population dominates the Gambia and is home to nine tribes. The largest tribe is the Mandinka, along with the Fula and Wolof, all living harmoniously. Due to the country’s past British colonization, English became the official language. However, there are still many variations of local languages that are spoken.

If you plan to witness the true bounty of this beautiful country, driving is the best way to do so. So make sure you have your driving license ready for the Gambia. However, to do so, there are specific requirements that you need to fulfill before driving. Each place has its rules, and below, we shall discuss everything you need to know regarding International Driver’s Permit in the Gambia.

What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?

An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.

In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.

United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic

The Convention on Road Traffic is an international treaty designed to increase road safety by setting standard traffic rules between parties. It is often referred to as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

International Driving Permits work in complete agreement with United Nations Road traffic conventions since they are only issued through authorized institutions by the United Nations. Three international motor traffic conventions have taken place over the years, and these took place in 1926 (Paris), 1949 (Geneva), and 1968 (Vienna).

How To Get An International Driving Permit In The Gambia?

You can purchase an IDP through our website by following the following steps. All you need to do is provide your current driver’s license details, a photo of yourself, and your driver’s license to verify your identity.

Can you Drive using your Local Driver’s license in The Gambia?

A driver’s license is required for driving in a foreign country, proving that you are efficient enough to drive a vehicle. If you are a tourist and do not have a Gambian driving license, you can still use your original driving license to drive legally in the Gambia.

However, this is only applicable if your original driving license is written in English. If not, it becomes mandatory for you to obtain an international driving permit.

Benefits of carrying an IDP in The Gambia

Despite not being a requirement, having an international driving permit can be beneficial in avoiding misunderstanding between you and authorities in a foreign country. Although the official language in the Gambia is English, not all locals can speak the language, and this is because many locals prefer Mandingo and other Atlantic languages. Therefore, having an IDP can give you the peace of hassle-free driving in the Gambia.

There are various reasons why you should carry an IDP in The Gambia. Written below are some of the benefits:

It serves as an Identification document.

If you do not have your passport or ID, your IDP can be a valid form of identification, provided it is valid. Furthermore, an IDP can act as a translation for you as a foreigner if you are stopped by local law enforcement which cannot speak the same language as you.

Showing your IDP at regularly set checkpoints in the Gambia can make checking much quicker and easier.

Required by major rental car agencies

If you wish to rent a car for your trip to The Gambia, carry your IDP since many car rental agencies in the country require it. These requirements are applicable even in those countries that do not require drivers to have this document for driving legally.

How long is your International Driving Permit valid in the Gambia?

In the Gambia, your international driver’s permit is valid for three months. If you plan to exceed your trip to the country for more than three months, you must apply for a Gambian driving license.

If you want to apply for a driving license in the Gambia, you can start by taking driving lessons from the list of driving schools in The Gambia. After that, after you pass your exams, you will get a certificate that depends on the type of vehicle you are authorized to drive, and then you become liable for a Gambian driving license.

Does your IDP replace your Native Driver’s license?

No, an IDP can never replace your native driver’s license. The only purpose of an IDP is to translate your license information and make it easy for authorities to understand you. Carrying your IDP while driving can aid your identification and make it easier to drive through checkpoints in a foreign country.

Renewing Your IDP

You can acquire a new IDP and renew it through our online services. It will take a digital IDP 2 hours to land in your email, while a printed IDP is sent to your postal address depending on the chosen delivery method (2-30 working days). In the case of an Express Order, your application can be processed within merely 20 minutes.

Renewing your International Driver’s License

To renew your international driver’s license, you must contact the original issuer of your international driver’s license and request a renewal. They will either send the document to print out or directly mail it to you.

How does renting a car work in The Gambia?

Driving along the coastline is a must when visiting the Gambia, which is one of the many reasons tourists are attracted to it worldwide. Even if you don’t own a personal car, you can use services from several rent-a-car companies. Below is all the information you might need regarding car rentals in The Gambia.

Age Requisites

To rent a car in The Gambia, you must be 23 years old and have at least three years of driving experience. In addition to this, you need to have a local license as well as an IDP to serve as a translation to your license. These requirements are implemented to ensure that the drivers show responsibility towards road laws and avoid causing any form of accident or damage to these rented cars.

Cost of Car Insurance

Getting a car insured is an essential step when renting a car in the country. It might sound like an expensive thought, but rest assured, these costs are usually included in car renting packages. All you need to do is ensure that this cost is included in your package before renting a car. In this way, you will be able to protect your finances in the case of mishaps.

Required Documents

You will need to provide your local license written in English for a car rental. If this is impossible, you must acquire an international driver’s permit. Other than this, your valid ID or passport also needs to be presented. Make sure that you have at least three years of driving experience, which these rental companies require.

Driving and Safety in The Gambia

Driving responsibly is vital not only for yourself but also for the surrounding people. Each country has its own rules about the roads, which are implemented to avoid confusion on the road and to stay prepared for any foreseen circumstances. Some of these include:

  • The use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited
  • Keep your license, IDP, insurance documents, and passport at hand – regular police checkpoints and police stops are expected.
  • Every passenger in the car must wear a seat belt
  • The Gambia tolerates a 0.0% maximum blood alcohol content
  • Speed limits are set at 70 km/h (43 mph) for highways, 50 km/h (31 mph) in developed areas, and 25 km/h (15 mph) in residential areas, including school zones and roads that are close to hospitals.
  • Driving in The Gambia is on the right-hand side of the road.

Top 5 Destinations to Visit in The Gambia

Home to marvelous beaches, striking wildlife, vivid culture, and enlightening history, It is the promised land for people who want to escape the ordinary. Visiting The Gambia is a must as it has a perfect balance of both land and sea adventures aided by exceptional hotels for staying. If you are a bird lover, you will be amazed to know that you can spot over 100 bird species while taking a single river cruise.


Banjul is the most sought-after place for tourists. Visiting this capital will add culture and a touch of history to your African trip. It is also home to a breathtaking view of The Gambian river adjoining the Atlantic Ocean next to its airport. Here, you will find multiple hotels offering you the best beach views and the opportunity to experience the soothing sounds of waves crashing to the shore.

More exciting places like the National Museum await in the city, which will further educate you on the history and culture of this beautiful country. In Banjul, you will also learn how things were done before modernization.

You can experience some of Gambia’s majestic wildlife in Abuko Nature Reserve. Here, you will find different animal species like porcupines, antelope, and African palm civets, as well as over 400 bird species that populate the area.

Cape Point and Sanyang

Cape Point and Sanyang house some of the most exquisite beaches of The Gambia. They offer some of the most untainted beaches in the whole of the Gambia, whether private or public.

Explore further, and you will come across Bijilo Forest Park, home to several primate and bird species. It is your go-to place if you’re seeking an escape from the busy streets and want to spend time surrounded by green plains, trees, and grass.

The Albert Market

The Albert market is the main center for bartering and buying. The place is riddled with excitement for the ones that like to shop while staying on budget. Even on its slowest days, it is quite a delightful place.

You can expect to find all sorts of things from electrical gadgets, beauty supplies, fabrics, shoes, and household and food items.

Brufut Beach

This fabulous gold sand beach is the place for you if you’re searching for a peaceful day out. Find a comfortable place to lay back and watch the fine art of fishermen and women catching fish and repairing nets. It is perfect for water sports, sunbathing, walking and cycling.

Situated nearby, the Sannah-Mentoring, a sacred pilgrimage site for Muslims, is visited by thousands of tourists yearly in the hope of blessing.

National Museum of Gambia

This historic building displays Bathurst’s colonial history, traditional Gambian lifestyle, and information on the Senegambia stone circle sites, dance, and music.

You will find the giant Kankurang mask hanging on the main hall wall. This powerful ritual mask is used during rites of passage and coming of age.


Can you drive with a foreign license in The Gambia?

Yes, you can drive using your original license in The Gambia for up to 3 months upon arrival, but an IDP must accompany it.

Can I use my EU driver’s license in The Gambia?

Yes, you can use your European license for up to 3 months.

On which side of the road do you drive in The Gambia?

In the Gambia, you drive on the right side of the road.

What do I need to obtain an IDP to travel to The Gambia?

You require your current driver’s license details, a photo of yourself, and your driver’s license to verify your identity.

How long is an IDP valid in the Gambia?

The IDP is valid for between one and three years. However, it should also be noted that an IDP can not exceed the limit of your domestic driver’s license.

Is it advisable for a tourist to drive in The Gambia?

Driving in The Gambia can be difficult, especially if you have no experience driving in countries where roads are filled with potholes and reckless driving is the norm.

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