Best things to do in Gambia
Find out more about those top places in Gambia
The liveliest city in Gambia, located on an island where the Gambia river meets the Atlantic ocean, it is the main city in Gambia with a population of about 31,301 people. Banjul represents your typical West African city with great weather, important colonial buildings, exciting wildlife reserves and great culture. There is no shortage of things to do in Banjul from the moment you enter the city through the monumental Arch 22, it is certainly a city worth visiting.
The Arch 22 was built to commemorate the military coup d’état of July 22, 1994, when the democratically elected Gambian government were overthrown by Yahya Jammeh and his Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council. The Arch has a neoclassical style and was designed by Senegalese architect Pierre Goudiaby, it is one of the tallest structures in Banjul at 35 meters tall.
At the base of the Arch 22 is a statue of an unknown soldier carrying a baby in one hand and making a V sign (victory sign) with the other. The monument is on the back of the Gambian 100-dalasis banknote.
Established in 1985 the Gambia Museum was set up for collection and preservation of artifacts documenting the material culture of Gambia and also to educate visitors and Gambian citizens who may not be familiar with the country’s history. The museum has three floors, each showing the political and cultural history of Gambia. The museum has a very sound educational system in place, with short art classes and history videos shown to visitors.
There are several festivals that happen in Banjul, one of them is Banjul Demba Cultural Festival. It was established 13 years ago and it has been happening every year since then. The festival which starts on the first week of January, affords visitors and guests the opportunity to see the various display of art, music and dance performance of the Gambians.
The River Gambia formerly known as the River Gambra, is where the country gets its name from. The River Gambia which is a major river in West Africa is about 1,1200 km long, it starts from the Futa Jallon, passes through several countries (Guinea, Senegal and Gambia) before reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can explore the river on a boat; spotting hippos, pelicans and crocodiles.
One of the primary reasons why tourists flock to Banjul is because of its wildlife. The number one destination to visit searching for wildlife is the country’s first designated wildlife reserve, Abuko Nature Reserve. Established in 1968, it covers an area of about 2 square kilometers. The Nature Reserve is a mix of fauna and flora, it has different species of plants and animals.
Another festival that should not be missed on your visit to Gambia is the international Roots Festival, set up to commemorate the forced enslavement and shipment of millions of Africans to the Caribbean and the Americas. The festival which happens bi-annually features workshops, traditional dances, carnival parades and visits to historical sites like the Kinta Kinteh Island and Fort Albreda.