We listed Kaira Kunda under the restaurant section last year and promised the boys that we'd stay on our next visit. We had a terrific welcome when we returned with our son and daughter and a non stop party. We hired a minibus and took the entire staff up to Brikama for a Jaliba Kuyateh concert, a very African experience. We couldn't believe that fans were allowed up on stage to have their photos taken with the great man, while he was still performing. The only disappointment was that as it was Tabaski, there were no fishermen at work for three days. That beautiful sea and only lamb and goat to eat!
At the moment they only have two, well maintained double room huts, so you might be unlucky in getting accommodation. There is an open air washroom with European style, long drop toilet at the back of the compound which is suitably private. This is a must if you want to be next to the sea at a local fishing village. A real African experience.
Woulaba is a gem of a place, unfortunately for them we were the only guests that week. It was very nice for us as we had everyone to ourselves, making good friends with the Woulaba boys by presenting them with a football for their unofficial team. The “Woulaba Boys”, not content with dreams of football stardom, also have a dream to take their drum band to Womad. We were lucky enough to have ample demonstration of their rhythmic skills in the evenings around the campfire. The drumming attracted all the local talent and some wonderful dancers turned up, insisting on teaching us their movements, which neither of us have the knees for!
You can describe Woulaba as an eco-lodge as they don’t have electricity or running water. Their well water is sweet and quite safe to drink. There is no local demand for bottled water so it will cost you about the price of three bottles of beer. The nicest thing is due to the lack of electricity, there is no light pollution so you have a clear view of the African stars.
Wuyeh, the owner has an ambitious plan for the development of his guesthouse which is a pleasant fifteen minute walk to the deserted beach. We spent our first day walking down to Kartong and only saw two other tourists in either direction, until we reached the small Kartong hotel strip. Kartong is proving a very popular spot for those who want deserted beach and unspoilt local culture. Truth to tell the locals are already well into exploiting their own “unspoilt culture”, with demonstrations of traditional skills. Gunjur is a much less touristy place, where you can bump into palm tappers and farmers going about their daily routines. For a touch of the truly strange a ten minute walk down the beach from the Woulaba track will take you to a little slice of Jamaica, Rasta Kunda, run by the enigmatic and well travelled Preacher. He has huts to rent and everything is run on strict Rastafarian principles, vegetarian and no alcohol.
In October we stayed in the Gunjur Beach Lodge. Straight away we felt at home. This was due to the sheer beauty of the place as it has a good combination of green lush nature, gardens and an endless unspoilt beach. The staff were very helpful, especially the manager. She really cares about her guests and sees to it that all is going well.
The lodge consist of 3 bungalows with a total of 8 rooms. The rooms are lovely decorated, had a bathroom en-suite and a small terrace. We were only 50 steps from the beach. Every morning when we woke up with the sound of the Atlantic Ocean and the birds.
We had a great time as we wondered around in the area visiting the villages, the fishermen, the locals, the wetlands. We saw so many birds, some monkeys and other small animals. Everything was very green and lush.
We took drumming lessons from Musa in the garden. We had some nice session also around the camp fire. Great experience as we had the sounds of our drums, nature, thousands of stars in the sky and the roaring of the ocean.
The food at the lodge was good. We had a choice of African and International dishes for very reasonable prices. Again the manager ensured that we were looked after well by her staff and if needed she helped in the kitchen.
For the first time in our life we had lobster. for only a tenner a head!
We stayed 5 nights and we payed less then 100 pounds for our stay including breakfast. The lodge runs on solar power/ so power supply is limited but sufficiant. Bring a torch as it is useful.
Would we stay here agian. A definate YES.
So yes we recommend this great place to anyone who wants to escape from the busy life and is not looking for all the fancy facilities the bigger hotels and resorts offer. If you're looking for a place to stay that's spot on the beach, in the nature and rural life of Gambia and you don't want luxury Gunjur Beach Lodge is the place. And we can talk a lot about what is luxury....to us it was a real luxury to have such peace and tranquility in and around the lodge.
unspoilt nature and beaches,
a fishing trip with the local fishermen (through the lodge)
a guided walk through the area including a visit in the villages
long walks on the beach
visit the crocodilles in Kartong
djembe lessons from Musa
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