- Reviews: 3670
Some options: Where to stay?
Most people who come to The Gambia do so in search of sun, sea and sand – especially winter sun. For northern Europeans especially it offers a guarantee of good weather at a time when their own country is cold, dull and dark. So most hotels are located on the short stretch of Atlantic coastline that runs south from the capital, Banjul. There is something for every budget, from basic guesthouses through budget hotels (the African Village in Bakau was recommended to us as a good budget option) to all inclusive resorts. We wanted a bit of a treat, but don’t particularly like large hotels which can be a bit soulless and which often offer (and charge for) facilities we have no intention of using. So we were glad to discover the boutique Ngala Lodge in Fajara. This is a quiet adults-only haven perched on the low rocky cliffs a little away from the main tourist areas but still within easy reach (by taxi or own tours) of some of the main sights. This is a tranquil place and won’t suit everyone. No children are allowed, and you won’t find any organised entertainment beyond low-key music provided by local musicians each evening. There are no pool games, beach sports or other activities. If you want to be continually busy and urged to “join in with the fun”, go elsewhere. But if you want to relax, recharge the batteries and be just a little bit pampered in an understated way, this is the place! The grounds are very nicely planted and decorated with lots of art pieces. Paths wind between the bushes and lead to the restaurant, pool and a decking area above the beach that ensures you can sunbathe there even at high tide. Service is very good - everywhere we went in the grounds we were greeted with a smile. The pool is not large but is more than adequate and it is well supplied with loungers, shade umbrellas, towels etc, and surrounded by pretty bougainvillaea. All rooms here are suites, some more luxurious and larger than others, but we chose one of the standard ones and were very happy with it. All in all, we had a wonderful week here and would chose it again if we return to The Gambia.
But maybe like us you want to see more of the country than its coast? There are fewer options inland but they do exist. We added four nights at an eco-lodge, Mandina, on to our trip and loved the different perspective it gave us. Mandina consists of a small group of very individual lodges set among the mangroves in the Makasutu Cultural Forest. Three of the lodges ("Jungle Lodges") are tucked among the trees, with a roof terrace that looks out over the Forest. Four of them ("Floating Lodges") are moored among the mangroves on the edge of the river. The two most luxurious are large two-storey affairs - one on the river (the "Stilted Lodge") and one slightly set back from it (the "Mangrove Lodge"). Every lodge is assigned a private guide who will consult you each day about the next day's plans and make some suggestions for walks and boat rides, all of which are included in the price of your stay. The bird-watching is especially good in this area – the naturalist Chris Packham regularly brings specialist tours here. Stays are on a half-board basis; the dinner menus are somewhat limited, constrained by the remote location and the availability in the local markets, but the food is of a good quality and well-prepared. There is a large pool ("the largest in The Gambia"?, it is claimed) with loungers and seating dotted around the shady gardens nearby and the riverside decking. Despite some small privations (composting toilet, erratic electricity supply,) we had an incredibly comfortable stay here; it's a very good combination of well-run boutique resort and jungle camp!
Next tip: Gambian currency
- Reviews: 2
CLUB 1, SENEGAMBIA: WARNING!!!
For travellers thinking of travelling to The Gambia in the vicinity of Senegambia (aka 'The Strip'), which is perhaps the hub of entertainment surrounded by several hotels, then take heed ............
During our recent visit in November 2013 we visited 'The Strip' for a late night feast, namely a bottle of wine and a cheeseburger. Undeservedly, the 'Club 1' restaurant was where we decided to eat predominantly because 11.00pm at night it was the only place with live music. During our 10 minutes stay in the restaurant we encountered the most deplorable and intimidating behaviour and service you would ever expect to receive.
Ordered three different bottles of wine, after being told that each one was 'out of stock', and was offered 'Italian plonk', which turned out to be the most disgusting vinegar tasting wine, which would make even the most hardy of drinkers cringe! Our food arrived two cheeseburgers but without cheese! Upon bringing this to the attention of the Restaurant Owner he told us they had no cheese and to come back the following day for our cheese!
At that point, we had not eaten or drank and we felt the best policy would be to leave the restaurant and go elsewhere. Payment was then demanded and I again explained that they had not given us what we ordered so therefore, we were not paying the bill.
Quite simply, these were bad people running the 'Club 1' restaurant who feel it is acceptable to give its customers bad service and then intimidate them into paying for food and drink which they have not ordered, we continued to refuse payment and the local Police got involved, finally we arrived back at our hotel at around 3.30am after almost 3 hours being interviewed at the Police Station.
We were later told, by our 'Gambian Experience' rep that 'Club 1' was once the best place on 'The Strip' to eat and dance when run by Gambian nationals, but has since been taken over by Nigerians and seemingly we were not the first culprits to encounter such an experience - BEWARE - and avoid this restaurant at all costs!
- Reviews: 26
Rock Garden Appartments: My favourite place to stay
Located in a wonderful garden in Kerr Serigne, I had a fully equipped appartment. Basic but very nice. Water and electricity were surprisingly stable. And the people were too nice, it was like a home for me!
The garden with all its fruits, flowers and birds was a great place to cill out
- Reviews: 2
Palma Rima Hotel, Kotu Beach: Hotel in for a revamp maybe!!
It is almost more than 3 or more years since we stayed at this hotel, standards had dropped dramatically over several years, but maybe some good news we passed this hotel in the beginning of May 2011 and it looked like the block of apartments were being gutted, I think the hotel is having a well deserved makeover! For those of us that like the Palma Rima it could be good news, lets wait and see!!!
- Reviews: 26
Babula's Residence: Great place to stay
I just returned. I stayed in Kerr Sering at Babula's Residence, around 23 Euro per night for a fully aquipped apartment with kitchen, bathroom, sleepig room and living room. No huzzle at that area. Less than 10 minutes to walk to the beach. You can book there with or without breakfast. I can highly recommend that place! You can easily google the place to check for yourself.
Quiet, vey clean, European stansard. Mostly long term visitors stay there
- Reviews: 26
Private Compound in Kololi: Live with the people
During my last trip I rented ina families compound and shared their life. This is a way to learn more about the Gambia. I watched the baby when the mother cooked Ebbe, a thick soup, which she sold in the streets in the evening. I shared the water- and electricity problems which occured daily. I learned how school students learn. It was quite an interesting experience!
- Reviews: 33
The Gunjur Project Lodge: Ideal for exploring the rural parts
During our last visit we stayed at Gunjur Beach Motel/Lodge and we wanted to stay there again but when arriving there we noticed that some changes had been made which might be great for others but we were a bit dissapointed and after a drink we decided to try our luck at a lodge we had seen whilst driving towards the beach. It proved to be a good try and we loved our stay at The Gunjur Project Lodge. Wonderful people, comfortable rooms, nice little pool, lovely staff and good atomsphere. We wondered around in the area and met up with some old faces. It was the perfect choice for a 3 day trip.
Great welcome, lovely staff, comfortable rooms, great service and extremely relaxing!
- Reviews: 33
Kombo Beach Hotel: A friendly stay
We returned to Gambia as a last minute spur of the moment and got a great deal at Kombo Beach which turned out to be an excellent choice. The hotel grounds are just stunning - the room was spacious and clean. We had a lovely patio that was our favorite spot in the morning and in the late afternoon when we returned from the beach or from (re-) exploring The Gambia. Breakfast was fab, so was the service and all the staff were very friendly. We just loved it.
Excellent location, spot on the beach. We counted it.....47 steps from our room to the ocean!
lovely pool, stunning garden, friendly staff, good service. Just excellent.
- Reviews: 1
atlantic hotel: gambia
the atlantic hotel in banjul is a nice hotel star rating 2 star . IT is clean .
Only 5 min away from the city.The staff are good helpful If u do stay in this hotel . say hello to kemo ceesay are guide v good chap
- Reviews: 26
Senegambia Beach Hotel: Beach at Senegambia
Senegambia is one of the first hotels having been built in The Gambia. I think they had some renovation not long ago. It has given the Senegambia Strip the name, being located right there. It's also on the beach, but this part of the coast suffers from erosion and sandmining, so once in a while they have to reconstruct it with ground from the sea, containing little stones and broken shells. The beach itself is nicer in Kotu or Sanyang ("Paradise Beach")
- Reviews: 1
Hotel "St.Francisco": Hotel "St.Francisco" in Fajara/Gambia
Not to recommend hotel "Saint Francisco" in Fajara/Gambia! hotel has either bad Security or employees. I was robbed to my room in the night sleep. Very annoyingly!
Hotel "St.Francisco" in Fajara/Gambia nicht zu empfehlen!
Das hotel hat entweder schlechte Security oder Mitarbeiter. Ich wurde im meinem Zimmer in der Nachtschlaf ausgeraubt. Sehr ärgerlich!
- Reviews: 172
Palma Rima Hotel.: Largest pool in Gambia.
The accomodation was fairly new and very clean, we stayed in a hut on the outskirts of the pool area.
At night there were lizards and camilleons all over the ground, I had to be carried to my room.
At night it was very dark, no lights outside the hotel complex, only a few cafe's leading down the track road to the beach.
The Palma Rima boasted the largest pool in Gambia at the time, it had a night club, 2 resturants, and a hugh chess board ouside.
- Reviews: 6
Sunset Beach Hotel: Loved every minute of it!
My family and I stayed at Sunset Beach Hotel in Kotu, Gambia for two weeks over Easter 2005 - and loved every minute of it. It is without a doubt the best of the cheaper accomodations in Gambia. In fact, it was much better than I imagined it would be considering the price we paid (package deal with First Choice).
The location is perfect. Right on the beach, with plenty to see and do close at hand.
We were on B&B board, so really only ate breakfast at the hotel - but it was VERY good, even the kids never complained. There were sausages, bacon, eggs cooked however you liked - even pancakes made right in front of you. No complaints whatsoever. There is a lovely ouside terrace that we ate our breakfast on most days - overlooking a small creek that feeds into the sea. Every morning we ate our breakfast while watching Kingfishers catchings theirs!
We had two adjoining bungalow rooms, which was perfact for us with three kids (ages 9, 11, and 13). The rooms were basic, but hey, this is a third world country. You gotta keep things into perspective.
The area was very safe, with our two oldest boys venturing out on their own during the day - it was never a worry. The youngest girl was happy to build sandcastles all day long, with the beach being very safe too. There were guards always present even during the day, but thatwas really just to keep the beach sellers at bay (invisable line that they weren't allowed to cross made the sunbeds a safe haven). But really the beach sellers were a bunch of harmless lads/lasses just trying to make a living, and we made good friends with many of them. In fact, we booked the excursion of a lifetime with one of them (overnight trip up river to JanJanBurreh - not to be missed). After the trip, we were even invited to his compound to have dinner and meet his family!
There are plenty of 'beach bars' dotted up and down the beach, and we ate at a different one almost every day. Don't be afraid to get out and about. Yes, you will get hassled to buy things, but it's all part of the experience.
- Reviews: 95
Badala Park hotel: 2 star hotel with 5 star treatment
This is a very basic hotel. It has nothing fancy or flash, but the beds are comfy, sheets changed every 2 days,towels every day, rooms cleaned well - every day. There is a fan in the rooms, but you dont really need much more than that as it doesn't actually seem that hot overnight. Do not go here if you like four poster beds, marble floors and opulent bathrooms and rooms with a sea view because you definately wont find it here. If you just want somewhere cheap, full of character and built amidst the fauna and are not worried about the odd chipped tile, the leaky shower or the toilet that whines when you flush it then this is right up your alley!
when this hotel was built, they didnt cut down any of the jungle to make way for it, they just built around everything, so you are really amongst everything!
Because this is a very very small hotel, you get to know everyone who works there very quickly, and its very easy to have such a good time with them all! They are all crackers!
There are daily activities such as Water Polo , darts and quizzes, usually between the animation team and tourists, theres lots of cheating and mucking about going on during these so dont take it too seriously...its just for fun!
The food is very nice and is reasonably priced compared to other restaurants along the beach.
There is a shop which is adequatley stocked and if you get your postcards there, if you ask, the owner will get you some stamps ( these are like gold dust!)
Its close to the beach and it employs tourist guards to stop you getting hassled on the beach.
- Reviews: 79
Bakotu: The best hotel ever
Me, my boyfriend and my mom spent one week here in the same room. Bakotu is maybe the best hotel I have ever stayed in. Not because of the quality or location but because of the atmosphere, staff and beauty. The hotel is in the middle of a garden and the poolarea is also magnificent. Not big but cozy. Just hope they would take better care of the pool..
Everything we ate in the poolrestaurant, was good. There was some dancing/drumming-show almost every evening.
Bakotu has a small market in it and the beach is only about 100 meters away.
There is also some animals in the hotelgarden. Besides dogs, lizards and birds there are some VERY NOISY frogs that really may keep you awake so I suggest to take some earplugs along.
There is also a monkeyfamily living at Bakotu but you need to be aware of them. Read more from my warnings.
One of the four cats of the hotel gave a birth in our room. Please read the story from my general tips section.
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