Explore the Smiling Coast of Africa

A tiny slice of Africa surrounded by Senegal, the country’s borders hug the shores of The Gambia River, and the capital city of Banjul is perched right at the river’s mouth on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The city is often overlooked by tourists to Africa—and that’s just fine with us, because it gives you ample opportunity to explore beyond the surface.

Close to the cruise port, Albert Market is always buzzing with the hum of local life, and it’s the best place to immerse yourself in Gambian culture. A symphony of local languages plays through the market stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to colorful fabrics, to authentic handcrafted souvenirs, to delicious food and drink. If you’re really curious about Gambian cuisine, embark on a home cooking experience with a local family that includes a trip to the market to shop for ingredients, time spent in traditional dress, and a cooking lesson at the family compound.

A visit to Old Town puts the city’s past and present into perspective. Sun-bleached colonial buildings showing their age line sand-blown streets next to Krio-style clapboard houses made with corrugated roofs and wrought iron balconies. Need an escape from the city? There are plenty of sunny, sandy beaches to plant yourself for the day. For fewer crowds, head to Gunjur, Sanyang, or Kartong Beach.

Arch 22, the commemorative arch on the road into Banjul, Gambia.

Arch 22

The gateway to Banjul, a 34 meter arch was constructed to commemorate the bloodless coup that took place in 1994. Make your way to the upper level to take in unrivalled views of the city, the Tanbi mangroves, the Gambia River, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. You’ll also find a unique textile museum home to brilliantly colored batik fabrics.

St. Joseph's Adult Education & Skills Centre

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St. Joseph's Adult Education & Skills Centre in Banjul, Gambia

St. Joseph's Adult Education & Skills Centre

For decades, the center has been a safe haven for disadvantaged women to learn practical skills. Students are trained to create fabric, crafts, and even hone their sewing skills. After a tour, you’ll be able to purchase the products of the students’ hard work and give back to the local economy.

Abuko Nature Reserve

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A mother monkey nursing her young at the Abuko Nature Reserve in Banjul, Gambia

Abuko Nature Reserve

A short drive from port, you’ll find Gambia’s first nature reserve and the closest tropical forest to Europe. Keep a keen eye out for hyenas, monkeys, antelope, crocodiles, and monitor lizards, as well as 250 species of birds. Pay a visit to the animal orphanage and stop at the canteen for refreshments. From here you can explore further into the park, or take the shortcut back to the entrance.

Banjul, Gambia At a glance

Current Weather:
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
26°C / 78 °F
Wed
Partly Cloudy (Day)
27°
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Thu
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
27°
26°
Fri
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28°
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Sat
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
28°
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Current Time:
10:19:27 am2018/08/14 10:19:27 am
GMT
Tuesday, August 14
Offset:
UTC/GMT +00:00
Local Details:
GPS: 13°26'41.38"N 16°34'25.91"W
Size: 93.00 KM2 (35.91 MI2)
Population: 31,301
Density: 337 Pop/KM2 (130 Pop/MI2)
Country Code: 220

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