Regrettably, there are no direct flights from anywhere in the UK to Banjul city in the Gambia. The preferred flight to Banjul is operated by Royal Air Moroc that takes the passenger from the UK to Casablanca and then from there to Banjul. Brussels Air and Lufthansa also offer similar flights.
The best time to visit the Gambia is from September to February. In the autumn season, not only are the rain far away from Banjul but the weather is nice and warm. The temperature remains between the Goldilocks range of 23°C to 27°C, which is perfect for a light tan. Why shiver in your home, as the winter grips Europe when you can celebrate Christmas with the warm sand clamping your toes at a beach in Banjul.
The cheapest time to visit Banjul is in the months of June and July. It is not crowded on the beaches of Banjul anyway, but the tourist traffic to the city slows down significantly during these months. In June and July, Banjul receives a lot of rainfall and the highest average temperature can go beyond 34°C. Some tourists still like the toasty temperature of the Gambian summer. The rain makes Banjul seem greener, as the new leaves and foliage regrow over the trees in and around the city. It is still interesting to visit the city in the rainy season of Banjul. Additionally, the cheaper accommodation and airfare makes this escape truly grand.
Banjul International Airport or Yundum International Airport (BJL) serves the city of Banjul and it is the only airport in the entire country. Banjul is the capital of the Gambia. Banjul city centre resides on the coast of the city, right on the delta of the Gambia River. The trip from the airport to Banjul city centre is 26 kilometres and it takes 40 minutes to get there from the airport by car.
British nationals with a valid British passport do not require a visa to visit the Gambia. On arrival, a 28-day visa is stamped on your passport which can further be extended for another 28 days. Please contact the Gambian High Commission in London if your trip to the Gambia is for more than 3 months or if you have further questions regarding your stay.
Banjul was an important trading post and colony of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth. Later the colony was taken over by the British and the port of Banjul was used to suppress the slave trade in the region in 1816. The Gambia gained independence in 1965.
- The Gambian National Museum is the place to visit if the traveller wants a crash course in Gambian art, history and culture. The museum is laden with Gambian artefacts that celebrate the African traditions of the country. The ground floor of the museum actually displays the cultural and political history of Banjul city alone. The striking colours and tapestries on ancient pottery and sculptures showcase a time before the colonization of the country. In the basement of the museum, Gambian music and its evolution are exhibited. School children are often seen visiting the museum, accompanied by their teachers on school trips.
- The Arch 22 monument in Banjul was constructed by a former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. The arch represents the triumph of the bloodless coup de tat that deposed the first president of the Gambia, who was ruling the country since its inception in 1965. The Arch 22 has three levels. The second floor has a gallery that has a spectacular view of the beach and the rest of Banjul city. A statue of the “unknown soldier” is placed near the foundations of the arch. The Unknown Soldier appears to be holding a baby in one arm and making a victory sign from the other. The Arch 22 has become a place where people gather to celebrate almost everything.
Ever since its independence, Gambians, particularly those living in Banjul, have been trying to revive their cultural heritage that remained suppressed under colonial rule. The renewal of these festivals and the celebration in the streets of Banjul are an ode of freedom in the eyes of the Gambians living in Banjul. Right after the New Year celebrations, the Banjul Demba Cultural Festival bursts into the streets of the capital. The dance performances and the traditional music of Gambia intoxicate the tourists and the locals alike. A few weeks after, in January, the Banjul Fine Arts Festival becomes a platform to promote Gambian art and culture. This festival continues for two weeks so you can drop in anytime and not miss this opportunity. The Gambian Independence Day is celebrated with national pride and fireworks set the sky ablaze on the 18th of February. Banjul still celebrates the July 22 coup de tat at the Arch 22 monument with music and delicious local food. Being a Muslim country, the community also celebrates the Ramadan and the Eid Al Adha.
The capital city of Banjul has seen some infrastructure development recently. The road network built in the city’s centre and the main administrative district allows you to move freely. Hiring a taxi is the best way to go about Banjul. In the outskirts of the city, the roads are not as well maintained so it is best to have a hired taxi with a driver that knows the place well.
There are plenty of five-star hotels in Banjul. The Gambian economy relies heavily on the tourism business and promotes the building of newer more luxurious hotels within the city.
- Kairaba Beach Hotel
- Flourish Wellness Resort
- Ocean Bay Hotel & Resort
- Coconut Residence
- Senegambia Beach Hotel