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Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia, is also its largest city. In recent years Banjul has become a popular holiday destination with many travel companies offering holidays to this region.
Banjul International Airport is served by charter and scheduled flights to and from Western Europe, with connecting flights to other parts of the world. Banjul's tropical climate means that it is warm all year round; there are two distinct seasons; dry season and wet season. The dry season is from November through to May with the wet season lasting from June to October.
Banjul is a seaport city situated on an island at the mouth of the River Gambia, it was settled by the colonial British in the 19th century. The city has a sleepy feel to it and is more like a large town than a bustling national centre. It is a great place to experience traditional 'old Africa.'
Here you will find the country's busiest markets, a museum and the craft centres that sell local jewellery, batik and woodcarving. The busy harbour area is filled with the colourful fishing boats traditional to the area and makes for some great photo opportunities. The African Heritage Museum houses a collection of African art some of which is available to buy and is worth a visit.
At the very heart of Banjul is Albert Market, which is everything a good market should be ï¿½ colourful, busy and packed with interesting sights, sounds and smells! You can buy all kinds of foods here including mangoes, spices, bonga fish and bitter tomatoes. Recommended buys include locally made dress fabric or any of the unusual traditional musical instruments on offer.
A War Memorial can be seen on nearby McCarthy Square and also a fountain, commemorating the 1937 coronation of Britain's King George VI.
The beach considered to be the best one in the Banjul area is the man-made beach by the Atlantic Hotel - it is a quieter beach and the long strip of sands gives it a more spacious feel. Many of the city's other beaches are used by the fishermen or river ferry operators and are less suited to beach life.
For evening entertainment the Atlantic Hotel is again the recommended place to head to. Other than this Banjul city's nightlife doesn't really exist! There are a few restaurants and bars that stay open late so if it is vibrant nightlife you are after in The Gambia then Banjul may not be the place for you. You can head over to the livelier nightspots of Serrekunda and Bakau or over to the livelier Kololi Beach area if you are after something a bit more lively. Otherwise you can simply enjoy your hotel's restaurants, relax and soak up the tropical ambiance of the warm and balmy evenings.
The restaurants at the Atlantic Hotel and the Palm Grove Hotel serve a good mix of traditional local food and international style dishes. Some evenings the hotels host buffet nights that feature lots of local cuisine such as benachin, a spicy rice stew with fish or chicken and domodah, a peanut stew made with fish or meat. There are only a handful of other restaurants in Banjul geared towards tourists, however, if you are feeling brave you could try out the food stalls in the market for real Gambian food. There are also many street vendors selling fritters, fresh fruit and nuts.
Gambia's road system is not the best and hiring a car can work out as an expensive option so it is advisable to use the public taxi system. Around the Atlantic coast, you can choose between the yellow 'town taxis' and the green 'tourist taxis' that may take you further afield should you wish to explore, although these can be expensive.
If you intend to explore further afield there are some great beaches at Kotu, Cape Point, and Kololi that are just 15-25 minutes away by taxi. The bird life in The Gambia is spectacular and the nearby Abuko Nature Reserve is an ideal place to visit as you can get there on foot. The reserve is very well kept and managed and here you are able to see a wide range of plants, flowers, animals and birds. Over 250 different types of bird have been recorded in the environs of Abuko. You can also see monkeys, porcupines and bush babies to name just a few and the reserve is famous for its crocodiles and snakes! All in all the Abuko Nature Reserve is well worth a visit for everyone and not just those with a keen interest in bird watching.