About city :
Banjul is the capital of the country of Gambia. The city was formerly called Bathurst. The name Banjul has an interesting origin. The Mande people used to gather fiber here to make rope. The word Bang Julo means rope fiber in the Mande language. From there, the name Banjul came into being. The city was founded by the British in 1816 as a trading post when it was named St. Mary. The name was changed to Banjul in 1973. The city of Banjul covers an area of 12 sq km and has a population of around 35,000.
Banjul is the capital of Gambia which is located on the Atlantic coast. Most of the country is covered by a low plateau. The city is located on the St. Mary Island, also known as the Banjul Island. This is located at the mouth of the Gambia River when it enters the Atlantic Ocean. Dense mangrove forests are located at the mouth of the River Gambia and wildlife is plentiful.
The city has a subtropical wet and dry climate. The average temperature ranges between 21°C and 27°C. Heavy rain falls during June to October. A wind called Harmattan blows during the dry season. This wind helps the city in having uniquely pleasant weather.
How to reach (transport) :
You can reach Banjul by air through the Banjul International Airport or Yundum International Airport which is located 23 km away from the capital at Yundum. This is the only airport in Gambia. From there, you can hire a car or your tour operator can arrange for airport transfer. There are flights to a number of destinations in Africa and Europe. In addition, you can reach Banjul by ferry from Barra.
Once you are inside the city, you can hire bicycles or quad bikes to get around the city. Micro flights are available from Banjul where you can enjoy the fantastic greenery of the country from air.
When to visit :
The best time to visit Banjul is December and January. It is coolest at this time and humidity is minimum. December is more preferable though it is dry, the country still reaps the benefits of the heavy rains of the preceding months.
Fairs and Festivals :
The culture of Gambia is a reflection of the different people who settle here. Islam is the main religion, though there are Christians as well. Certain tribal cultures and traditions are still observed.
One of the most important festivals of Banjul is the Banjul Demba cultural festival celebrated in the first week of January. It is an excellent showcase of local culture and showcases the elements of traditional culture in the modern society.
The Plymouth Banjul rally lasts from December 19 to the first week of January. The rally starts from Plymouth and progresses through other countries to Banjul. It is a charity rally. The cars that finish it are sold off and proceeds are donated to charities.
Another festival is the May Day sports which is celebrated on 1st May. It is a national holiday. People from all over the greater Banjul area come to the Independence stadium to take part in various sporting activities.
Points of interest (places to visit) :
The important places to visit in Banjul are as follows :
- The best thing to do in Banjul is to enjoy the wildlife that surrounds the city. Visit the Baboon Island or the River Gambia National Park to see wild hippos, a variety of primates, reptiles and birds. You can visit by boat for a once in a lifetime experience.
- The Banjul market is a must see place for the tourists. It is noisy and full of local flavor and whether you find a bargain or not, you are sure to experience the real essence of Gambia in the market place.
- The Arch 22 is a 35 m tall gate at the end of the Independence drive. It gives a beautiful view of Banjul while the small museum at the top gives a good idea about the history and culture of the country.
- The Gambia National Museum has a number of historical artifacts and cultural items which you can enjoy.
In order to enjoy your holiday in Banjul, you need a good place to stay. Some of the best luxury hotels in Banjul are located about 10 km away from the city on the beach. Though there is no rating system of the hotels in the country, we can identify some of the different grades of hotels. The five star equivalent hotels include Coco ocean resort, Coconut Residence, Sandele Eco retreat etc. the four star equivalent hotels are Sunbeach, Senegambia, Ocean Bay and Combo Beach. The three star equivalent hotels are Sunset Beach, Bijilo Beach, Bakotu hotel etc. The two star equivalent hotels include African village hotel, Cape Point hotel and Sarge’s. Apart from this, there are tourist lodges and guest houses located in the heart of the city.