Gambia is home to a diverse selection of cuisines that can satisfy any craving, preference and budget. In fact, food is one of the reasons people love coming back to Gambia. Each region has its own specialty, but Banjul is the best place to enjoy fresh seafood at excellent prices because of its location on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital also serves locally grown peanuts, which are a fantastic accompaniment to beer. Western food is widely available in touristy restaurants and hotels, but those who want to try traditional Gambian dishes will find a lot of eateries and hotels serving authentic local recipes. Barbecue buffets are especially popular along with rice plates, spicy stews and grilled chicken or fish. Yassa poulet is one of the must-eat items, basically grilled chicken with lemon and onions. You should also try stew with fufu, mashed yams.
Bars and Pubbing in Gambia
Nightlife in Gambia is quite subdued, but a good selection of clubs and bars can be found in the capital and other tourist spots like Serrekunda, the Atlantic Coast, Mansa Konko, and Gunjur. Julbrew is a locally produced lager-based beer made by Banjul Breweries and is a must-try, along with other concoctions like baobab juice and palm wine.
Kotu is home to some of the liveliest pubs and bars in Gambia. A large concentration of nightclubs can be found in Kololi, particularly in Senegambia and Bakau near the hotels in Cape Point and Kotu. In Serrekunda, Jokor (13 Kombo Sillah Drive, Banjul/Serrekunda Highway, Westfield Junction, Gambia) is the most popular and longest-running nightclub. It is open daily (with a cover charge) and serves exotic foods and ice-cold beverages. It is also known for R&B, reggae, Ndaga, and salsa music.
Wow Gambia Nightclub or WAAW (Kololi, Senegambia) is also open daily and quite popular with tourists in the Greater Banjul area. It boasts a large and spacious dance floor and a good sound system suitable for partying. Downstairs is a jazz café where patrons can drink and relax while listening to more laid-back tunes. Be sure to catch the themed nights, such as Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays, Reggae Night on Thursdays and Staff Night on Mondays. Another notable club in Kololi is Aquarius, which is on the Senegambia Strip where you can watch sporting events and music videos by rap and pop artists on satellite TV while enjoying drinks at the bar.
In the M Section of Fajara, you will find Ozio Bar & Lounge (Kajiraba Avenue, Fajara, Gambia, West Africa), a bar, restaurant and nightclub all rolled into one. It is in a quiet area within easy reach of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can enjoy various cocktails and wines, as well as play pool while watching sports on TV. Free Wi-Fi is available. Beach bars are common on the coastline if you want to enjoy great views with your drink.
Dining and Cuisine in Gambia
The largest concentration of restaurants and eateries in Gambia are in the resort areas of Cape Point, Bakau, Kololi, and Kotu. Ngala Lodge (64 Atlantic Boulevard, Fajara) is one of the best upscale options. While it is actually one of Gambia’s most-award winning luxury hotels, it is also quite popular for its cliff top restaurant which overlooks the Atlantic. Another notable dining hub in Fajara is The Butcher’s Shop (Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Gambia), which serves Mediterranean-style cuisine in an unpretentious atmosphere. For buffets, Mama’s (Fajara, Banjul area) and Al-amir Restaurant (Kololi, Banjul) are recommended. The latter specializes in Lebanese, while the former serves authentic African and European dishes.
Affordable but delicious foods are available in Gambia if you are on a budget. Be sure to try the dishes prepared by Gambian women in their humble food stalls, which are usually setup near compounds. Sandwiches and rice plates are commonly available. Food enthusiasts who wish to try local specialities should stop by Rhun Palm Restaurant (Rhun Palm Inn, Gambia) for chicken yassa. You can also try Safari Garden Restaurant (Safari Garden Hotel, Fajara, Gambia), which offers a traditional Gambian ambiance at everyday prices.