Activated carbon obtained from bamboo waste was synthesised and modified with iron (BAC-Fe) and used for the removal of arsenic from aqueous solutions. Two different adsorption models were used for analysing the data. The adsorption capacities were determined for BAC-arsenite, BAC-Fe-arsenite, BAC-arsenate and BAC-Fe-arsenate, with a qmax (µg g−1) of 14.89, 19.19, 22.32 and 27.32 respectively. Adsorption capacity varied as a function of pH and modifications to the sorbent. Adsorption isotherms from an aqueous solution of arsenite and arsenates on activated carbons were determined. These adsorption isotherms were consistent with the Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption models. Adsorption kinetics followed a pseudo-first order rate equation, as did the kinetics for BAC-Fe-arsenite and BAC-Fe-arsenate adsorption.