Facts to assist you while travelling to Gambia.

 

Gambian population

  • 7 million.

Capital and Largest City

  • Banjul.

Official Language(s)

  • English.

Currency

  • Dalasi.

Office Hours

  • 09:00 – 17:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC.

Calling Code

  • +220.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Adama Barrow is a Gambian politician and real estate developer who has served as President of the Gambia since 2017.

Climate

  • Gambia has a tropical climate. The hot and rainy season normally lasts from June until November. Thereafter, from December until May, cooler temperatures predominate, and precipitation decreases. The climate in The Gambia closely resembles that of neighbouring Senegal, of southern Mali, and of the northern part of Benin.

Transport

  • The main airport in Gambia is the Banjul International Airport, located in its capital city. The system of transportation in Gambia mixes both public and private operations and consists of a system of roads that are both paved and unpaved, water and air transportation. There are no railways in the country.

Economy

  • Gambia’s main industries that contribute towards its GDP include mining, processing peanuts, fish, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, and clothing.

Hospitality

  • The ethnic groups that reside in Gambia prioritise tranquility of life, and their manners and actions tend to ease the attainment of that goal. Regardless of ethnicity, Gambians are often soft-spoken and gentle in demeanor. They avoid unnecessary conflicts and strive toward quiet settlement of disputes.

Greetings

  • A common handshake between two men occurs with the right hand and tends to linger for a bit. Handshakes may also be accompanied by an intimate and polite touching of the forearm or upper arm. Older people are greeted first, typically by saying ‘’Asalaamalekum’’. With women, a verbal greeting tends to suffice. It may be accompanied by a handshake, and this is acceptable, but not expected. The elder woman usually leads the greeting. Due to most of the population practicing Islam, refrain from greeting the opposite sex. Verbal greetings are sufficient but try to avoid direct eye contact. It is taboo for religiously observant Muslim men to touch women and vice-versa.

Money

  • The official currency of Gambia is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD), which is subdivided into 100 bututs. The country has a cash-based economy, so while you may find a number of hotels and restaurants that accept visa debit cards, not many will take credit card payments.

Transportation

  • One of the major challenges faced by people travelling to Gambia is getting around the country by road and crossing the river safely by boat. Most roads in the country are in a poor condition that often worsens during the rainy season. There is no existing public transport system and Gambian drivers have varying levels of skill and respect for basic road rules. Many of them do not make use of the vehicle’s headlights at night, especially in areas that actually have streetlights, like the capital city. Drunk driving is also a frequent occurrence amongst citizens and traffic laws and regulations are not properly implemented.

Safety

  • Gambia is known as the Smiling Coast of Africa due to its reputation for positivity and good vibes. While the country is reported to be safe, crimes do occur. Most crimes that take place are petty crimes such as pickpocketing, scams and theft. However, it is not common that visitors are targeted, and most people who visited Gambia have not experienced any crime whatsoever. It is important that you practice vigilance and take precautions.

Culture

  • Gambia is a multiethnic country. The country’s most prominent ethnic groups include the Fula, Jola, Mandinka, Serahule, and Wolof. These groups coexist in the same regions, and there is no part of The Gambia that is inhabited by one single ethnic group. This has led to the sharing and mixing of cultural traits among the groups, which has in turn led to a movement toward a Gambian national culture. Islam is the biggest religion in Gambia, with Muslims making up 90 percent of the country’s population. There is also a small group of Christian followers, as well as an even smaller group of locals who still practice traditional and indigenous religions.

Shops

  • There are many supermarkets in and towards the city spaces that are well-stocked with imported food, as well as malls and shopping centres. Shops are open from 9am and usually close only after 7pm, from Monday to Saturday.

 

 

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Facts to assist you while travelling to Niger.

 

Niger population

  • 2 million people.

Capital and Largest City

  • Niamey.

Official Language(s)

  • French.

Currency

  • West African CFA franc.

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 12:30 and 14:30 to 17:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC +1.

Calling Code

  • +227.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Mohamed Bazoum is a Nigerien politician who served as the 10th president of Niger from 2021 to 2023.

Climate

  • Niger’s subtropical climate is mainly very hot and very dry, with much desert area. In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on the edges of the Niger River basin. The terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes, with flat to rolling savanna in the south and hills in the north.

Transport

  • Niger’s main airport is the Diori Hamani International Airport, located in Niamey. The Niger River is unsuitable for large-scale river transport, as it lacks depth for most of the year and is broken by rapids at many spots. Only a small percentage of Niger’s roads are paved. Nigeriens in both urban and rural areas rely on a combination of motor vehicles and animals for transport of themselves and commercial goods. Niger is a user of the Benin and Togo railway lines which carry goods from seaports to the Niger border.

Economy

  • The main industries in Niger that contributes towards its GDP include mining, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and manufacturing.

Hospitality

  • The most important attribute of the Niger people is their generosity. The people of Niger are known to be friendly, generous, and love goodness for each other. There are good people doing amazing work everywhere, especially in the month of Ramadan, when people will set up many food tables for breakfast of the poor. There is a huge giving culture in Niger. Charitable institutions compete in providing aid to the poor and the rich are interested in looking at those who are less fortunate than them and working to help them in all ways.

Greetings

  • A handshake with the right hand is the most common form of greeting amongst. Handshakes tend to be warm and linger quite a bit. Handshakes are often accompanied by a gesture in which the individuals touch their right hands over their heart. Women, on the other hand, will raise both hands on each side of the face during handshakes with other women. In some areas a kiss on each cheek may accompany the greeting as well. Due to its large Muslim population, people of the opposite sex often do not shake one another’s hands. Instead, a verbal greeting or nod of acknowledgment is the norm in most situations.

Money

  • The currency in Niger is the West African CFA franc. The West African CFA franc is officially recognised by the Nigerien government and can be used to settle all financial obligations in the country.

Transportation

  • Transport infrastructure in Niger is underdeveloped. The main mode of transport in Niger is via automobile, as there is no existing railway network. Fortunately, most roads within and between the major cities are paved, but as you travel towards the more rural areas, unpaved roads and gravel roads become a more frequent sight.

Safety

  • There are a number of risks that expats may face when travelling to Niger as the country experience trouble with petty crimes, violent crimes, and drug smuggling. Poverty in the capital cities perpetuate these cycles of crime, and it is therefore not considered safe to walk around at night. Additionally, there are health risks that are present such as a deficiency in sanitation. This means that the chances of contracting water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera are relatively high. Malaria is another easily contactable disease that possess a threat to the health of Nigerien citizens. It is advisable that you get all necessary vaccinations ahead of time.

Culture

  • Niger strictly adheres to a group of customs and traditions. Visitors should be mindful of this as locals might deem it to be disrespectful to violate or be ignorant of these customs. Islam is the most widespread religion in Niger, where approximately 90% of the population is Muslim. The prevalence of Islam is influential on the country’s customs and traditions. Adherence to the teachings of the Islamic religion is important and necessary in Niger. Locals place emphasis on preserving the teachings of the Islamic religion, establishing religious rituals, exchanging gifts between relatives and friends, kindness to the poor, and providing all their needs throughout the year.

Shops

  • Niger has numerous stores, shopping centres, and malls that are modern like that of those in western countries, especially in its capital city. Therefore, shopping and entertainment should be no hassle. Niger also has online shopping options.

 

 

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SA Immigration News

 

According to a media briefing held by the Minister of The DHA today (9 April 2024) as a result of errors in the newly published amended immigration regulations, dated and implemented on 28 March 2024, same will be withdrawn and a rectified version will be published.
He also mentioned that with regards to general work visa applications, the points base system, will replace the requirement for a recommendation from The Department of Labour. We are yet to receive further information regarding the points base system.
Immigration to South Africa

SA Immigration News

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) published a draft second amendment of the SA Immigration Regulation 2014, which was dated 9 February 2024.

Members of the public were given until 29 March 2024, to submit written suggestions, comments, etc. relating to the proposed amendments.

Despite the closing date for written submissions being 29 March 2024, The DHA proceeded to publish the new regulations, which was dated and implemented on 28 March 2024.

The crucial amendments are as described below:

When applying for long term temporary residence visas and/or permanent residence permits, police clearances / criminal record checks are required in respect of countries where the applicant resided for longer than 12 months, immediately preceding the date of their visa / permit application.

Radiological reports are no longer required when applying for temporary residence visas and/or permanent residence permits.

A spouse or child of a SA citizen or permanent resident, or the parent of a SA citizen or permanent resident child, may apply for a change of status / condition, from a visitors visa, to any other visa category, from within SA.

If a foreign national is employed by a foreign employer on a remote basis and provided that they earn a minimum annual salary equivalent to R1 million, they may apply for a visitors visa in terms of Section 11(2) of the SA Immigration Act, for the purpose of working remotely in SA. If the visa is issued for longer than 6 months (within a 12 months period), the applicant must register with the SA Revenue Services.

A foreign national who qualifies to apply for a critical skills work visa, must provide proof of registration with a SAQA accredited board/body/council in SA, if such registration is required by law, provided that in the event of submitting proof that one has applied for such registration, the critical skills work visa may be issued for an initial duration not exceeding 12 months.

All work visa applications must be adjudicated in accordance with a point-based system, as determined by the Minister of the DHA. Although not limited to, the points base system, will consider, age, educational qualification, language skills, work experience, offer of employment, the ability to adapt within SA, etc.

The points base document has not yet been issued, which already proposes a new challenge.

 

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