Banjul is the official capital of the Gambia, but don’t expect too much of it. The largest city in the Gambia, Serekunda, is way more alive. Banjul looks a bit sleepy instead. Still, Banjul is also worth a visit because it is a charming city with a lot of history. Points of interest include:
Just like Serekunda Market, this is also a great place to watch people. The maze of small passages on the partially covered market gives you almost the idea of an Oriental Bazaar and you really lose sense of direction in this maze.
All your senses are treated to the real Africa: the tantalizing smell of spices and incense, the beautiful colors of the clothing, the sweltering heat alternating with the cooling breeze that blows through the corridors and the almost tangible enthusiastic energy of the vendors to their customers to be tempted into making purchases.
Visit the fish and meat sections, but you must have a strong stomach because it is certainly not like our own butcher shop!
Here you can also find a lot of cheap electronics of unknown Asian brands, (real looking) fake Gucci sunglasses, bags and perfumes and hair braid products with discount.
Also here, woodwork and batik fabrics are sold for good prices. Negotiating the price is part of the game, the guide of GambiaSafari can definitely help you here so you can take home souvenirs for a competitive price.
Shop till you drop, African Style!
Arch 22 & National Museum
The monument in honor of the coup on July 22, 1994 of the current president is called Arch 22. It is a sort of modern version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and one of the highest buildings in the Gambia. It is a crazy experience to suddenly see such a modern white building. Nowadays they have built a stand close to the Arch from where you can enjoy the parades and festivities. High at the top of the monument there is a museum dedicated to the African cultures in the Gambia, perhaps not interesting to all but the view that you have about Banjul is great.
Just the ride up by elevator (if it works at least) is an experience in itself. Take a drink at the bar which is also at the top of the monument and enjoy the wonderful view of Banjul.
If you have no fear of heights, take a look right down so you can see the tribe images on the main road. Each image represents one of the tribes that live in the Gambia and the overall gives you a good idea of the peaceful Gambian society.