Situated on St Mary’s Island, where the Gambia River meets the Atlantic Ocean, the City of Banjul is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Gambia. Banjul is a small capital city, spanning just 12 square km and with a population of 34,828. Of this number, the majority belong to various West African ethnic groups such as Fula, Wolof, Manjago, Serers, Serahule and Jola. However, there are small communities of expatriates based in the city. The majority of foreign residents in Banjul are of Lebanese or European (predominantly British) origin.
The official language of the Gambia is English, and it is widely spoken throughout the city of Banjul, especially in customer facing businesses and communication industries. Traditional indigenous languages such as Mandinka, Wolof and Fula are also very widely spoken, and due to the country’s location in West Africa, there are also numerous French speakers. There is no established state religion in Gambia, but 90% of residents in Banjul practice Islam.
Banjul is officially classified as having a tropical wet and dry climate under the Koppen climate classification. The weather is quite warm all year round. Between November and June, there is an extensive dry season. During this time, the average temperature is between 88˚F (31°C) and 94˚F (34°C).
The city also experiences a four-month-long wet season, during which time there is heavy precipitation and temperatures of around 84˚F (29°C). August is by the far the wettest month in Banjul, with an average rainfall of 500mm. It is slightly cooler in the wet season than in the dry period, but temperatures remain consistently warm throughout the year.
All foreign nationals intending on moving to Banjul permanently or for a long period of time must be in possession of a valid visa and an Alien Identity Card, both for themselves and for any dependents over the age of 18. The residential or employment permit and the Alien ID card will need to be renewed at least once a year. Further advice and information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Interior.
There are three common types of visa, which the vast majority of expats will apply for. Type A is for residency purposes only. Type A visas are generally issued to retired foreigners, expatriates and international students. The cost of these permits is 1,100 GMD. The Type B visa is an employment permit. The type C visa is issued to skilled workers and small traders.