Banjul is the capital city of The Gambia.
The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa.
Is on the western coast of the continent.
City built on an island in the Gambia River, just where the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
In the city is the majority of legal and administrative institutions such as State House, Supreme Court House and National Assembly House.
Around 35,000 inhabitants on the island …
For reasons of space, the neighboring city Serrekunda is the one that has been growing exponentially in the last 50 years. At present, 400,000 people live according to the last census of 2013.
Therefore, we can deduce that the majority of the country’s population (less than 2 million) live in urban areas (Serrekunda and Banjul).
The city of Banjul, capital city of the Gambia, has two entrance doors.
One entrance is by the bridge in the south zone (Denton Bridge) and the second access gate, in the north, by sea with the ferry.
The ferry links Banjul with Barra crossing the river.
The Gambia River has a width of 22 km in this area.
Some days, ferry passengers can watch the dolphins approaching from the ocean to the mouth of the river.
The ferry journey lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the age of the ferry that is active at that time.
Local historians, as well as the griots (jalis in Gambia), say that when the first Europeans arrived on the island of Banjul, when they landed, they asked for the name of the place.
They asked someone who was working on bamboo harvesting. The Gambian answered BANJULO.
Banjulo is in Mandinka language, one of the majority languages in The Gambia and, also, in other neighboring countries.
The man referring to the work he was doing: bamboos ropes.
Therefore, the story tells that the city of Banjul owes its name to bamboo (Banjulo).
When the European settlers arrived, they baptized the island as Santa Maria Island (St. Mary Island). In 1973, during the First Republic, the island again adopts the name of Banjul.
The Portuguese were the first to arrive, but it was the British who colonized this land for centuries .
Until 1965, the year Gambia gained its independence as a country … but that is another story.
Banjul is a city that connects with other African cities on the west coast (Dakar, capital of Senegal and Bissau, capital of Guinea Bissau).
Like all urban areas of the country, it is very populated.
Its population grew without rest until the decade of the 80, time in which many people from the capital migrated off the island, in nearby areas.
Although it is a relatively small city, in Banjul there is a great diversity of local ethnic groups in a representative way.
This ethnic diversity has developed a multicultural society.
The majority of the urban population are Wolof, in addition, people of ethnic Mandinka, Fula, Serer, Diola, Manjako, Mansuankes, Aku (former slaves, also known as Creoles) coexist.
On the island of Banjul, you can visit several monuments such as the National Museum where we can learn the history of Gambia…
The King Fahad Mosque built in 1988.
Catholic Cathedral (Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral).
Arch 22 of July, located at the entrance of the city. This arch measures 35 meters high and was built in 1996 to commemorate the coup d’état of the previous head of government.
One of the attractions of Banjul is the Albert Market, the largest market on the island.
Strolling through the market stalls, mixing among the local population and walking through the streets of the market is essential to begin to feel the local atmosphere …
The authenticity of the market is appreciated by observing people everywhere.
Women and men dressed in traditional clothes, children transported on the backs of their mothers, school uniformed …
Odors, colors, sounds and textures varied.
In the market, there is an area more oriented to the travelers to buy souvenirs.
Shops with a lots of beautiful cloth of different colors and drawings.
Wooden crafts carved by local artists (this guild of artisans are known as “Laobes”, in the Wolof language).
African musical instruments like the kora, the djembe and the balafon.
Bargaining in the market is essential and part of the ritual, because prices are not fixed.
The market of fabrics is abundant because there is a custom of buying fabrics and sewing tailor-made dresses.
In The Gambia, many tailors and dressmakers are in charge of making suits and dresses to measure by copying from magazines or creating new designs.
The market also offers the possibility of buying all types of vegetables and fruits.
Such as yucca, tomatoes, pumpkins, okra, peanuts, tangerines, mangoes, bananas …
All kinds of second hand items such as clothes and / or bicycles.
The market maintains its activity every day of the week .
Every day the bustling movement of buying and selling repeats itself .
As a curiosity, you should know that the market is named after the husband of Queen Victoria of England, Prince Albert. This is one of the British legacies still in force in the country.
Mousa Ngom, singer Wolof, dedicated one of his songs to the capital of The Gambia: Banjul Banjul.
Singer known and respected throughout the country.
His words of peace and union between Senegal and the Gambia.
Mousa always wore two shoes of different colors to represent The Gambia and Senegal.