The Smiling Coast.

Banjul Travel Blog

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Capital City:  Banjul                                   Population:  1.5 million


Local Time:   GMT                                     Flight Time from U.

K. to Banjul:  6hrs


Currency:   Gambian dalasi (GMD)  can be bought in the UK, but you get a better exchange rate in the Gambia.


Health:   Get anti-malarial medication from your doctor.  The risk of contracting malaria is very real.

Yellow Fever is a monkey disease which can be spread by mosquitoes to humans, so it is

advisable to get this jab.  You will receive a yellow fever certificate which lasts for ten years.

Visa Requirement:   Not required


Religion:  90% of the population is Muslim


Economy:   This is made up mostly from agriculture and tourism.

  Groundnuts (in the form of nuts, oil and cattle cake) account for 90% of total export.  Fishing and forestry also provide a living for the Gambians.


                                                                  REASONS TO GO


Fantastic Winter sun:  It is over 30C every month.


Best time to go:  November to March.  The climate is dry and cool.  June to October is the rainy season.


Under 6 hrs flying time:  Same time zone as U.

Albert Market
K., no jet lag..... be by the pool late afternoon.


Wonderful sandy beaches:                                 Friendly people and exotic culture:


River, bush and beach excursions                     Value for money:


Spectacular bird life:  More than 560 species have been recorded here, amazing given the country’s relatively small size.

Good buys:  Wooden carvings, beaded jewellery, batik and tie-dyed fabrics, and traditional ‘Djembe drums.

                                    PLACES TO  VISIT AND THINGS TO DO


Kotu/Kololi  These resorts lay South of Banjul.

  While tourism is taking off in these areas, it remains fairly low key.  Kotu is more a selection of hotels strung along the beach.  There is an 18 hole golf course here with clubs, balls and caddies available for hire. Kololi is more developed offering a hotel based holiday resort, with a casino and several, reasonably prices international restaurants. 


Pirogue Trip  A pirogue is a traditional wooden boat which you chill out in along Oyster Creek.

Cycling If you enjoy cycling this is an ideal place to do it.  The landscape is flat, bike hire is cheap, and you’ll have the chance to experience a deeper insight into the African culture.

Contact the Cyclists Touring Club (0870 873 0060) or visit for route details and information.                                


                                                                DAY TRIPS

ROOTS  A historic journey 200 years back in time to Alex Haley’s Roots.

This trip takes you on a long lazy cruise (down the River Gambia).  A buffet of Gambian food is served on the boat.  If you are lucky, you will see Dolphins swimming in the river.  After several hours you will arrive at the ancient trading station of Albreda.  From here take a 10 minute walk to Juffure, which houses the Museum of Slavery and the original home of Alex Haley’s great, great grandfather.  You will have a chance to look around the village and purchase village made souvenirs here and take photographs of Alex Haley’s ancestors.  The day usually finishes with a visit to the fortress ruins on James Island, steeped in history.  80% of tourists take the ‘Roots’ trip.


BIRDWATCHING  A must for birdwatchers  get an early start and experience the dawn chorus in a dugout canoe in the mangrove creeks of the River Gambia.

  Many birdwatchers hire local guides to show them good areas and help identify different species.  Visit ABUKO NATURE RESERVE for excellent bird watching opportunities.


FISHING  The Gambia offers great beach, river and sea fishing.   


MAKASUTA NATURE FOREST  The palm forest is situated on a beautiful meandering tributary of the River Gambia.  Explore the dense forest on foot and the mangroves in dugout canoes.

  Learn about Gambian nature and maybe glimpse the resident baboons.  Members of the Jola tribe will demonstrate their dancing and offer the opportunity to join in.


BANJUL:  Gambia’s capital city stands on St. Mary’s Island on the banksof the River Gambia.  The centre is well worth a visit, and it has many old British colonial buildings, colourful street market and stalls.  Visit ALBERT MARKET to witness a typically African market.  BEWARE!  as pickpockets operate in the market.  Boat excursions run to Albreda, of ‘Roots’ fame.  Don’t wander around Banjul at night, (not because of the pickpockets, since there are so few tourists at night, they don’t bother) but because it is pitch black and the town is crossed by open drains.


SERREKUNDA  This is the largest town in the country and is just 1.5 miles inland from the resorts. Serrekunda is hectic and feels like one big market. Kairaba Avenue links Serrekunda to Fajara, and it is lined with bars restaurants shops and offices. Every inch of street is occupied with pedestrians and traders.


4 WHEEL DRIVE ADVENTURE  A dusty adventure on a 4x4 truck  a great introduction to The Gambia, bumping through the countryside visiting villages and schools.  Have lunch on a beautiful beach, away from tourists.


TANJI  This coastal village has a lively fishing centre, a great little museum of culture, a camel safari centre and the country’s only protected birds.


                                                               TWO DAY TRIP

SENEGAL  - Take a 2 day adventure to the Sine Saloum area of North Senegal staying overnight at Domain Les Peltuviers.  Visit an 800 year old Kapok tree, then take a 3 hour boat trip and spot the various types of monkeys and colourful birds that live in that area.  The hotel has a pool to cool off in at the end of the day.

                                                               THREE DAY TRIP

CHIMPANZEE ISLAND  Visit the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust’s (CRT) camp Established in 1969, and now home to78 chimps.  The journey to get to the camp is fairly arduous

And a reasonable level of fitness is required.  3 nights per person costs £499.00 per person for tented accommodation.

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Albert Market
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photo by: LeighTravelClub