If you are looking for an ideal African destination, a getaway city to relax, catch fun and, of course meet new people and learn something new; then Banjul is your best bet. The city is an African gem on the coastline with beautiful beaches, nice weather, large shopping opportunity and all the flavour and culture of a traditional African seaport. As a traveler, one of my first lessons in Banjul was that cash at hand means more than a credit card—because exchange offices which offer good rates don’t accept credit cards and you will lose a lot of money trying the other official means. The other lesson of course, is that it is economical to change currency with the street money changers where a good bargain may get you more cash than you will get in some of the banks and hotels. Each time I have been to the Gambia, I have always avoided the temptation to leave this Island capital city of Africa’s smallest mainland country. Below are the 6 reasons why you must visit Banjul:
1. Low Cost Of Living
I have been to a number of countries where you may have to break a bank to survive as an average income earner, but Banjul is not one of them. The city is small and you can tour its length and breadth with less than US $2 using the local taxi and buses which though may be crowded with people, are still your best bet to getting around and absorbing the local flavour. Depending on your taste, your daily meal expenses should not be more than US $10 even at the ‘expensive’ restaurants. Sorting your lodging, getting souvenirs and navigating the city’s attractions are also cheap, and you will enjoy the village-like atmosphere of this small capital city.
2. It Is Safe
Every city has their security challenges; comparatively however, Banjul is safe. Remove the pocket of crime and other minor cases such as pick-pocketing in the market area, there are very little security issues to bother yourself with in the city.
3. The Attraction
Banjul is orderly and easily navigable layout, relaxed but lively atmosphere and intriguing attractions is a reason why you should stop by for your holiday next time. The interesting thing is that each monument is not for just sightseeing, they all tell history. Take the Arch 22 from which top you can view the whole city for instance, aside being the tallest monument in Gambia and a site you cannot miss while in Banjul; it says something about Gambia’s political history. It is a commemorative architecture that marks the successful coup d’état that brought in President Yahya Jammeh and his Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council; there is also the National Museum of Gambia and the popular Albert Market where you can get almost anything you need.
4. The People
You may see some measure of poverty and begging on the street, especially if you are a first time visitor, but here is where you will find genuine hospitality and some of the friendliest people on the planet. Unlike some other cities, Banjul has a mix of culture and people from different places. While in the city, you are not likely to face serious language barriers, as most residents are bilingual, with a majority using English language and at least one local language. The people are predominantly tolerant Muslims, though there are Christians too. Luckily, the increasing intermarriages have almost removed all the grounds for religious differences.
5. The Climate
With sunshine almost all-year round, you are definitely going to enjoy the tropical weather of the city when you are around. Rainfall occurs between July and November while the long dry season is from November until June.
6. The Beaches
Banjul is a beautiful coastal town with nice beaches. The city’s long stretch of beaches, both man-made and natural, along the Atlantic coastline and its gorgeous sunshine make it a destination of choice for a perfect holiday.