22nd July Arch


Banjul (formerly, in colonial times, “Bathurst”) is a small city that cannot grow any more than it already has since it is essentially an island in the middle of the Gambia river. It is located on the northernmost tip of the south bank of the Gambian river where the river meets the ocean on the west coast.

Banjul from the Top of the Arch

Banjul is a bustling place with not a lot of attractions for the tourist though the arch and market are definitely worth a visit though giving the museum a miss is advisable (a few dusty exhibits and LOTS of reading is the best you can hope for there).

Accommodation in Banjul is quite limited and it is suggested that if you are considering a trip to Gambia you consider some of the hotels in the Kombos area instead. Restaurants are also a bit thin on the ground.

The ferry to Barra leaves every few hours (though schedules seem to vary somewhat) with large numbers of foot passengers and only a few vehicles (expect 5-6 hours wait if you have a vehicle). Trucks often wait for many days to cross on the ferry and it is not unusual to see their drivers sleeping in a hammock strung up under their vehicles.


Well, there are NOT that many restaurant's really in Banjul, though here are a few that are well known:

  • Ali Baba's Snack Bar - (Nelson Mandela Street/ Cameron Street) Just a few doors down from King of Chawarma this offers the BEST Chawarma in Banjul (though much smaller than the “King”). Also serving a Lebanese menu the prices are quite reasonable. Rating: * * * *
  • King of Chawarma - (Nelson Mandela Street/ Cameron Street) This restaurant is well-known for it's Lebanese fast food and fantastic fresh fruit juices (order the “special”). The Chawarma (in my opinion) are not the best though their Falafel are fantastic. Service is quite quick but it can get VERY busy during lunch. The intrusion of street vendors can get a bit annoying while you are trying to eat… Rating: * * * 1/2
  • Michel's - (Independence Drive) Well known for it's seafood menu, this restaurant/bar is quite close to the Arch and provides a good menu though the décor is a bit basic. The menu is varied including everything from salads to seafood platters though it is more of a lunch than a dinner (the portions are not big). The owners have opened “The Plaza” restaurant in the Kombos which serves an expanded form of this menu. Prices are moderate. Rating: * * * *

There are a number of other small, often unnamed, establishments selling food throughout the city. Worthy of note is the small (VERY small - two very cramped tables) shop selling pies right beside the Central Bank on ECOWAS Avenue) – It has the BEST meat pies in Banjul at VERY good prices.