who lives in the Gambia would be somewhat bemused to
read the description of the country's nightlife that
appears in many of the tourist brochures. It describes
a hotel based social scene comprising '... stage shows
and dance', no doubt intended to entertain the tourist
once they have enjoyed a civilised evening drink after
a pleasant dinner.' The implication being that there
is little to interest the party animal outside of the
immediate hotel area - how wrong!
Gambians would be surprised by the sedentary nature
of the nightlife around the main tourist area and any
visitors who do venture away from the hotels are delighted
to discover the Gambia's fast paced, hectic and exciting
The unique mixture of African, European and South American
influences makes a night in the town a memorable experience
for the visitor and resident alike. The wide variety
of clubs, bars and
means that even the most dedicated night clubber can
enjoy a different venue on each night of their holiday.
The following is a selection of some favourite nightspots.
Highly recommended is "Jokor",
located at Westfield
Junction (where Kairaba Avenue meets the Banjul
Highway). Ideal in terms of accessibility as it is within
walking distance of all the major bush taxi routes and
private taxis are always
available outside. As well as being a top dance club
with 2 outdoor dance floors and an excellent sound system,
Jokor also has 3 bars (2 outdoors) and a good restaurant
serving African and European style food at reasonable
prices. Don't go hungry though service can be slow!
Jokor is open 7 days a week, all day and into the early
hardened clubbers, the night starts and finishes late.
The dance floors will be heaving from 12 to 4am on Friday
and Saturday nights. In terms of dress code, Jokor is
the same as any venue in the Gambia, casual gear (shorts,
beach wear etc.) is definitely out. You will stick out
like a sore thumb, and when you see the other revellers
in their finery regret that you didn't liberate your
party gear from the back of the closet.
a field but definitely worth the trip is "Willy's"
in Lamin (about 2km from the airport). A Bantaba style
building with a huge dance floor and serious sounds,
Willy's is the perfect place to dance the night away
to a variety of music from West Africa and further afield.
The club seriously' kicks off at around midnight and
is open every Saturday night and some Fridays and Sundays.
It is worth checking the dates of public holidays as
there is always a "programme" on those nights,
often featuring live music. Willy's is closed during
Ramadam, the Muslim fast month. There are generally
plenty of taxis outside after closing (about 4 am) as
most of the customers travel from Serrekunda or even
the hotels there are a few fairly good local venues
including including the gigantic complex entertainment
venue called Duplex
near the Seaview Gardens Hotel. It is truly a one-stop
entertainment centre fit enough to match many of the
clubs in Europe or the US. Jakarlo
in Kololi, "Wow"
in the Senegambia area, and "Tam Tam 2000"
next door to Badala Park Hotel. Again, you will find
a good mixture of music and the opportunity for some
serious dance floor activity. However, they do lack
the unique atmosphere of Jokor and Willy's. Maybe it's
the air conditioning! Expect a more expensive night
also as you will pay about a higher entrance fee and
hotel prices for your drinks.
For a quieter night on the town there is a fairly good
selection of pubs and bar restaurants
around Serrekunda, Bakau and Fajara to chose from.
So put on your dancing shoes, hop in a taxi and get
out and explore the "real" Gambia. For anyone
looking for a taste of Gambian night life an evening
excursion on the town is an unparalleled experience.