Fajara resort and residential town is in
the Kombo Saint Mary District, Greater Banjul area, in the
West Coast Region of The Gambia, West Africa, and lies 14km
east of the Banjul capital.
The coastal suburb is a tranquil, relatively prosperous residential
neighbourhood, taking in about half of Kairaba
Avenue, eastward inland, almost up to Latrikunda. The
area is officially divided into sections called 'M' Section,
'F' Section and 'A' Section. The western part towards the
Atlantic coast is called Fajara 'M' Section; many of
The Gambia's finest restaurants
and stores are located there. Compared to Bakau,
the 'M Section' district has a unique character, with sleepy
neighbourhoods and sandy roads often lined with grand villas,
partially hidden by tall block fences often draped in flowers.
The holiday room options in Fajara are usually great value small
and guest houses,
with added charm and character that's often missing in the other
resorts. The nearest thing to a tourist-class hotels here
are the seafront based, luxury
Lodge which has a pool, a fine restaurant and
excellent bedrooms and suites. The other is the
Hotel, which is on the beachfront, and is the largest
accommodation with fantastic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean
and coastline. There is a small lodgings called the
Garden, which has a pool and a family friendly atmosphere,
located in the heart of the residential district and only 10
minutes walk to the Leybato beach.
beaches are comprised of two types. Starting north
from the African Village Hotel in
and southwards just after
the width of the sand is very narrow or at high-tide non-existent.
This portion of the coast is dominated by red laterite
cliffs, boulders, dense cliff top rhun palms, trees and narrow
lanes, but offer fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean South and
coastline. As you head further south, the resort's
strand becomes much wider
Kotu Strand, and offers plenty of opportunities
for sunbathing, shopping at the craft market, watersports
volleyball, or a a pleasant early morning or evening stroll.
If you want to swim in the sea do first look out
for swimming conditions warming flags put up by the attendant lifeguards. Do not
attempt to sunbath on the narrow strip of sand just off the cliff areas
as you could fall asleep while the tide is rising. It would
be much easier to just walk along the shoreline, southwards, or
take a taxi to the Golf Course road and make you way down
small, paved path to the seashore.
Fajara is first and foremost a residential district, housing
prosperous businessmen, diplomats, local politicians and early
settling Gambian families. The quality
of the houses does vary given that people began to settle
here many decades ago, and as a result buildings were
constructed at different
There are comfortably spaced bungalows and large new
villas in amongst the quiet sandy lanes with the occasional
corner shop, small restaurant and
hairdressers making an
main thoroughfare is the Kairaba
Avenue which starts at the coast, and has good taxi links.
The 'M' section of the road is lined with fine boutiques,
diners, office blocks, international banks,
clothing stores, hardware retailers and other kinds of shops.
ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
Living Art Centre
It is located on the Fajara end of the Garba Jahumpa Road, in the lower part of
New Town, the
Africa Living Art Centre
is a one-of-a-kind building in Gambia. Designed by its
owner, it is a tree shaded, two storey, decorated
glass and concrete
gallery which itself resembles an impressive work of art.
Filled with a colourful, diverse collection of exhibits and
merchandise such as West African antiques, jewellery,
ritual wooden masks
and some of the most unique and imaginative garments to be
found anywhere in the country. Also on display are paintings by
Suelle Nachif, some showing the hallowed kanaga sign of the
Dogon people of Mali. He also hosts workshops, exhibitions
and brings artists together.
The space inside has a hair salon, book library area,
and the YOK bar cafe, and is a nice place to eat various snacks such
as sandwiches, pastries, Lebanese coffee or refreshing soft
drinks and cocktails.
in Fajara are at the Golf Course and the slope from there leading
down to the shore.
Kotu stream flowing
near part of the course plus some woodland patches and
coastal scrub this area provides a range of habitats
for a number of bird species. Here you might be able to spot
Abyssinian Rollers, Blue-bellied Roller, Bearded Barbets,
Black-headed Plovers, Red-billed Godwits, Senegal
Thick-knee, Firefinches, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters,
Variable Sunbirds and Beautiful Sunbirds.
• Club & Golf Course
The sports club, formerly known as the Bathurst Club,
transferred from Banjul to its current premises in July
1955; being the old headquarters of the long defunct BOAC
airline's hall on south
Atlantic Road. The
Club is best known for its 18-hole golf-course (par 69)
near the beach, having moved from its former location at
Denton Bridge many decades ago. Don't expect to see much
'green' on the lawns during the dry season; more dry grass
and fine sand than lush lawns of Bahama grass.
the club's main rooms in an old colonial era building, it's
not instantly appealing. But it's more than made up for by
the sports and recreational facilities available, such
as tennis courts with floodlights, a badminton hall, squash
courts, a swimming pool and table tennis. There is also a
fitness gym, yoga classes and aerobics. Basic meals and drinks
are reasonably priced and served from the clubhouse bar (Tel
There is a group called the Hash House Harriers who
meet there and who
organise runs and walks about once a week (Tel no: 4495054).
There are a handful of excellent
restaurants within the residential roads of Fajara, as
well as on the main highway cutting through the resort. If
you are on a budget you can still have an enjoyable meal as
some of the no frills diners. Below is a selection of some
of the well known diners in the area.
Curry (Indian cuisine)
• Butcher's Shop Restaurant
• Francisco's Restaurant
(International & local cuisine)
• Mama's Bar & Restaurant
(European & African)
• Ngala Lodge
(The diner is open to public; best international cuisine)
Oven (Indian dishes)
a few metres from the
US Embassy and going along
towards the Atlantic coast, you will find dozens of retail
stores lining the road. The shops here however are not
geared towards tourist trinkets and souvenirs, they are
aimed more at relatively affluent locals who are looking
to buy food, clothes, furniture etc. If your travel budget can
stretch a bit then try and visit the
Emporium Shopping Centre.
It is a vast glass and marble
effect facade building, selling top quality imported home
furnishings such as vases, tables, sheets,
chairs, curtain fabrics,
ornaments and other merchandise. The Emporium also has a gift shop and store with bodycare
products. There are plenty of small items that you can pick
up while on holiday and keep within your baggage allowance.
Market is on Fajara beach, near to Kotu Strand. Here you
can buy African jewellery, brightly coloured batiks, drums,
wood carvings, sandals, tie and dye, handbags and more. To
reach here you go down to the end of the Atlantic Road, near
the Golf Course entrance, and take the small footpath to your
right, which goes all the way down to the seafront.
Timbooktoo Bookshop is a 3-storey megabookstore on
the Garba Jahumpa Road, not far from the Sabena junction at
Kairaba Avenue. It has a superb choice of non-fiction and
fiction, including a wealth of African literature by
Africans, plus periodicals, stationery and local
newspapers. Inside is the Mango Cafe. Timbooktoo also has
the Cultural Encounters Information Centre where tourists
can enquire about local lodgings, ground tours and other
travel information for people on holiday to The Gambia.
If you need groceries, bodycare products, toiletteries,
small housewares, especially if you are in nearby
self-catering accommodation, there is the well stocked
mini-market called the
Discount Centre. They have a good range of cereals,
milk, yoghurt, biscuits, potato chips, soft drinks and much
more. They also have a few clothes in their expanded
Among the well known landmarks
in Fajara M Section are the American Embassy Banjul, Emporium Shopping
Sankung Sillah Building,
Galp Energia Petrol
Station, Standard Chartered Bank building and the Traffic Lights
Fajara War Cemetery
has 203 people interred there, 4 of which are unidentified. It includes Gambian,
British and Canadians who lost their lives in World War 2. It
is maintained by the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission and includes a
RWAFF memorial tablet dedicated to local servicemen buried overseas.
HEALTH & SAFETY:
The resort area here is quite a safe place to stay for
travellers to The Gambia. The incidence of serious
very low, and there are security personnel and local watchman
in over 90% of the residential properties here, and the main
roads are usually well lit.
When walking along this end of Kairaba Avenue avoid walking
on the road itself. Vehicles often overtake each other here
and you could place yourself at risk of injury. If you are
dining out in the evenings do rub on mosquito repellent on
your arms, neck and legs, if exposed. Whenever you feel thirsty
while out and about buy some bottled water. Finally, the nearest
is in Bakau.
the 'M Section' there is a yellow taxi rank on the
Bertil Harding Highway (opposite the Galp Petrol Station). A
cab there can take you down towards Kololi,
Senegambia, and beyond to Bijilo, Kerr Serign and Brusubi.
There are no minibuses at the rank but do drive past, so you
can hail one from the street. There is also a small taxi rank
at the coastal end of Atlantic Road, very near to
Francisco's Bar & Restaurant.
The regular travel routes taken
by vans is from the Bakau Village Market, down Sait Matty Road, down the
Garba Jahumpa Road and onwards to
Serrekunda along the
Kairaba Avenue. To get to Fajara from
hire a taxi (green). It will cost about a third
more than yellow taxis, but the yellow cabs aren't allowed
to wait at the airport. Outside the airport the fares are
posted up on the right side of the main entrance on your way out.
If you need to hire a self-drive vehicle from the airport
Hertz Rent A Car.
The other mode of local transport is by rickshaw. You will
have to flag them down.
[Geographical coordinates 13.4700° N, 16.6964° W.
/ Kombo North Saint Mary District (Ksmd, WCR)]