Banjul

Banjul, the capital of Gambia, is located on St Mary’s Island, also called Banjul Island, where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean.

Banjul is a significant town as the centre of governance and also the only town with a substantial area. The city offers its visitors plenty of attractions and activities, from historic monuments to clubbing and wine.

Banjul was founded In 1816 by the British as a trading post and base for suppressing the slave trade. It was first named Bathurst after Henry Bathurst, the secretary of the British Colonial Office, then changed to Banjul in 1973.

Banjul went over a bloodless military coup d’etat in 1994 in which President Dawda Jawara was overthrown and replaced by the country’s current President Yahya Jammeh. The Arch 22 was built as an entrance portal to the capital to commemorate this event. The gate is 35 metres tall and the centre of an open square, housing a textile museum.

Travellers to Banjul can visit the National Museum, a major landmark. The MacCarthy Square is known for its architectural style that is along the lines of colonial structures and provides a pleasant 19th century setting.

The Albert Craft Market, ‘Bengdulalas’, which means ‘the meeting place’ in the Mandinka language – where visitors can by souvenirs and local handicrafts. Also of interest is the Banjul State House, the Banjul Court House and the Banjul Cathedral.

A few kilometres away from Banjul and towards the coastal areas are the major vacation areas of Bakau, Cape Point, Fajara, Kololi, (Senegambia strip) and Kotu. Here local attractions include endless golden beaches and guaranteed sunshine with leisure activities such as watersports, quad biking, golf and tennis. These areas are where most visitors choose to spend their time with numerous restaurants, bars, shops and local night clubs – particularly in the Kololi and Senegambia areas.

Travellers can also enjoy fishing, either sea-angling in the Atlantic, creek-fishing inland near Banjul, or line-fishing from one of the beaches and hook a marlin, barracuda, ladyfish or snapper. Visitors to Banjul can also take a long-distance boat trip on the Gambia River, the dominant feature of the country where pelicans and hippos can be spotted.

Consider Banjul beach and the beaches in the vicinity, or head further south to the wild stretches of Atlantic coast and walk for miles along empty sand.

  • Walk along the beach and enjoy the gentle breeze and the water at your feet.
  • Enjoy local food while recalling your day in and around Banjul.
  • Take a half day sightseeing tour and discover the heartbeat of Banjul.

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