Travel to Janjangbureh (Georgetown) – Old Colonial Town and River Port

Georgetown, also called Janjangbureh, is a port town on MacCarthy Island on the River Gambia. Located in central Gambia, about 300 km up the River Gambia, Georgetown is the capital of the Central River Division.

The town offers travellers a wide range of historic sites, activities, a choice of accommodation, bars and restautants in a nice and relaxed setting. It it also an important collecting centre for swamp rice and peanuts grown by the local Muslim Malinke and Fulani people.

The city was founded in 1823 by Captain Alexander Grant when he bought Janjangbureh from the King of Niani as a refuge to settle freed slaves and a trading post for the British. Georgetown’s Wesleyan Mission of 1823 introduced the peanut (groundnut), a crop still exported downstream on the Gambia River.

Georgetown is now best known as home to Gambia’s main prison. The Wassu Stone Circles lie 22 kilometres northwest of Lamin Koto, on the north bank across from Janjangbureh. The town is said to be the site of the first church in Gambia and the first high school.

Attractions in Janjangbureh (Georgetown)

Travellers to Georgetown can still view many buildings from the colonial period dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Among them there is the Maurel and Prom Building, CFAO ruins, the old slave market, the commissioner’s residence and the local market.

There is also the Foroyaa Sooto Freedom Tree Monument where it is believed that any slave who managed to touch the tree was given his freedom.

For souvenirs, visitors to Georgetown can visit the Chameleon Arts shop which sells tie dye cloths, locally made drums, African jewellery and wood carvings. Also, visitors to Georgetown can visit the Wassu Stone Circles and the town church.

Georgetown is an ideal spot for a few days excursion to get away from the coastal resorts and perhaps stay at the Bird Safari Camp, Baobolong or the Janjangbureh Camp which can be reached by river boat or by car.

Hippo watching trips, swimming pool, individual cottages and excellent bars and restaurants are available in the town.

The town is also a perfect base for travellers who are seeking a genuine holiday experience in a beautiful natural setting.

Georgetown is best reached from the South bank road by bus or transport from Serekunda or Soma. Travellers may have to go a few kilometres up the road to Bansang and take transport from there back to the ferry.

  • Shop for local crafts.
  • Explore the quaint old town, where most of the buildings date from the 19th century.
  • Janjangbureh’s woodlands and leafy riverfront house a large number of bird species – take a nature and bird-watching walk.


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