International flight time: From London to Banjul is approximately 5 hours 30 minutes (direct).
International airport: Banjul (BJL) (Yundum International) is 29km (18 miles) southeast of the city.
Taxis are available to the city. During 1989 NASA upgraded the airport's facilities and it is now an
emergency space shuttle landing site.
Two major European airlines - Sabena and Swissair - together with several subregional carriers operate
regular flights into Banjul. In addition several tour operators charter their own flights to The Gambia.
Passenger accommodation on cargo boats sailing regularly from Liverpool, London and other European
ports (eight to ten days) are run by West African Conference Lines, which include Elder Dempster, Palm Line,
Guinea Gulf, Nigerian National, Black Star, Hoegh Lines. There are two sailings a month. Cruise ships also
call at Banjul. Around 400 or more crafts (dock at port annually.
Banjul can be reached by road from Dakar by the Trans-Gambia highway, 480km (300 miles) long,
which crosses the River Gambia by ferry between Farafenni and Mansa Konko as there is no bridge over
the Gambia River. An alternative crossing is the car ferry between Barra and Banjul, a distance of 320km
(200 miles). Government buses also nun between The Gambia and Senegal, via Barra to Kaolack and Dakar;
there is also a high-class Gambian coach service.
The River Gambia
This is the dominant feature of the country and is the major method of transportation
and irrigation as well as providing opportunities for fishing, boating and sailing. A cruise up the River
Gambia is highly recommended. Most remarkable is the abundance and variety of birdlife along the shores.
Details of cruises can be found on hotel noticeboards. Banjul is the starting point for coach and river
trips to all parts of the country and coastline. The whole river and the numerous creeks (known locally as
bolongs) which join it, are fascinating to the bird lover and the student of nature.
The River Mouth
Fort Bullen at Barra Point was built by the British 200 years ago to cover the
approaches to Banjul and the river, succeeding flames Island Fortress (destroyed by the French) as the main
point of defence in the colony. It can be reached by direct ferry from the capital. Oyster Creek is the centre
of an area of creeks and waterways which can be visited from Banjul.
Up-River from Banjul
Albreda was the main French trading post before they withdrew from The Gambia.
Nearby is the historic village of Juffure, home of the ancestors of black American writer Alex Haley, author
of 'Roots'. Visitors who want to see more of the countryside may cross by ferry from Banjul to Barra and
travel by road to Juffureh and Albreda (the journey lasts about 50 minutes), and then by canoe to James Island
in the calm waters of the River Gambia. Tendaba is a holiday centre 160km (100 miles) from Banjul by river or
road. Further upriver, the fascinating circles of standing stones around Wassau have now been identified as
burial grounds more than 1200 years old.
Georgetown was the 'second city' of colonial days, and is still the
administrative and trading centre of the region. It is growing in popularity amongst the more adventurous
visitors to The Gambia who appreciate its beautiful natural surroundings and peaceful, laid back atmosphere.
A number of small lodges have sprung up to cater for this demand. Basse Santa Su is
the major trading centre for the upper reaches of The Gambia River. Handsome trading houses quilt at the turn
of the century can be seen here. By the riverside at Perai Tenda can be found a multitude of abandoned shops
formerly operated by European, Gambian and Lebanese merchants in the days when upriver Commerce offered
substantial profits for private traders. Sutukoba was once a thriving trading town and the ancient Portuguese
entrepot for goods from the interior of the continent.
The River Gambia provides excellent connections to all parts of the country. The ferry from Barra to Banjul
runs every hour either direction and takes about 3() minutes. There is a boat that travels from Banjul to
Basse once a week, 390km (240 miles). The journey takes about 3 days and the length of stay at intermediate
stops varies, and return is possible overland by coach.
Road: There arc slightly Over 3000km (2000 miles) of roads in the country, about 450km (280 miles) of which
are paved. Roads in and around Banjul arc mostly bituminised, but unsealed roads often become impassable in the
Collective taxis: These can be hired to anywhere also from Barra to Dakar. It is advisable to settle taxi
fares in advance.
Documentation: An International Driving Permit will be accepted for a period of three months. A valid UK licence
can be used for a short visit.
These are registered and licensed drivers and vehicles authorised by the Tourist Office to
transport tourists from the hotels to other parts of the country on a fixed tariff. You will find tourist taxis
parked near all Resort hotel areas. Their rates are displayed on large nonce boards. Please check and confirm
with driver before departure. If you have any queries, take down the vehicle and driver registration number
and report to the Tourist Office immediately.
Bicycle rentals: Several companies and individuals run bicycle rentals near the hotels and the Bengdulalu.
It is fast becoming a popular way of combining sport and adventure into the bush and villages.
FOR FURTHER DETAILS
The Department of State for Tourism and Culture
Fax: (220) 227753
Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency
5 Nelson Mandela Street,
P.O. Box 757
Fax: (220) 222829