|Review of Night Clubs in Gambia|
|Things To Do | Night Clubs|
Anyone 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!
Most 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 local night clubs scene.
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 restaurants 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 hours.
For 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.
Further 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 Banjul.
Near 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.
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