Pack your bags for a holiday to Banjul Beach. One of Africa’s smallest capital cities is located on St Mary’s Island in the Gambia and although it feels more like a village, has plenty of life in it. This little seaport, steeped in history, sparkles with energy during the day, with a night life that’s low-key but still promises a taste of authentic Africa.
Sun seekers and nature lovers will be at home on Banjul holidays. The tropical sun, golden sands and palm fringed beaches will have you hooked. An exotic getaway to Banjul in the Gambia is the perfect solution for anyone looking to combine a beach and city holiday for the best of both worlds.
With friendly locals and a colourful atmosphere, holidays to Banjul are perfect for combining the best of city and beach on your holiday. Relax on glorious beaches like Bakau and Kololi which are only a few kilometres away. Ideal for escaping the heat of the city and simply enjoying the golden sands on picturesque beaches. Or get active in the warm sea, with some heart racing water sports. Choose from a wide variety of water-based trips which include everything from romantic sunset cruises and exciting fishing trips to long languid days out on a boat. Sit back, catch some rays - or some fish and get up close to some of Banjul’s fascinating marine life.
Banjul Beach has a smattering of restaurants where you can delight your taste buds, with something to suit every palate. Expand your culinary experiences and tuck into some Domada – arguably the Gambia’s most popular dish. This peanut based dish is served with rice and made from peanuts, tomatoes, mustard, black pepper and onions. Wash it down with some refreshing Baobab juice. Try Akara for breakfast, a delicious local dish made from black-eyed peas, ground in flour, deep fried and served with onion, chilli and Jimbo seasoning and served with tapalapa bread. Okra stew is another great choice, accompanied by some Palm wine; a cloudy white, alcoholic drink made from the sap from the top of certain palm trees.
The area benefits from having several nature parks that are all within easy reach, so you can enjoy a countryside brimming with brightly coloured tropical birds. Fans of wildlife will also love Bijilo Forest Park, where lots of exotic birds can be seen as well as some rather friendly monkeys. For a day away from the beach this is a lovely spot for couples or families to walk among the verdant forests and appreciate the sight and sounds of Gambia.
With a host of different attractions to enjoy, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy. Keep the camera ready as there are opportunities galore to take some wonderful photos, guaranteed to make everyone back home jealous. Immerse yourself in the culture, snap away and explore the busy harbours, colourful markets and Oyster Creek; where you’ll find picturesque mangroves and plenty of colourful fish and bird life.
Head to the heart of the city and seek out the places the locals hang out and do their shopping. Try out your bartering skills. For authentic handcrafted African souvenirs head to 22 July Square and Albert Market, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with spices, great crafts and art work to take home for friends and family.
Banjul is a curious mix of colonial architecture, shanty buildings and modern offices. The British Army and Royal Navy founded Bathurst (the original name for Banjul) in the early 19th century. It was originally a military base to prevent the continuation of the slave trade along the River Gambia.
For an insight into tribal traditions, music and a fascinating journey through the British Colonial years; visit the National Museum of The Gambia. Stop by at the War Memorial and Fountain, an historical monument which commemorates King George VI’s coronation. Another great place to take time to visit, is McCarthy Square, which is known for its colonial architecture and great cultural atmosphere. For the best views over the city and more great photo opportunities, climb the stairs of Arch 22. Built to commemorate the Gambian coup of 1994, this huge archway is a magnificent structure and well worth the climb, for the views from the top.
Gambia’s enviable subtropical climate and virtually constant sunshine makes its capital city great for sun seekers. If you’re looking for a compromise between beach time and the excitement and authenticity of urban life, then Banjul is perfect. Especially if you’re seeking some much-needed winter sun, as the dry season lasts from October to June.