Gambia, hotel accommodation resorts offer a wide and
varied choice of places to stay ranging from luxury
or standard tourist hotels
As for those looking for alternative boarding on a short
or longer term basis with own kitchen there are holiday
rentals which includes apartments, villas and bungalows
with some additional services such as a cook or security
provided by the property's owner. And finally there
for rent or even houses for sale for people looking
for long-term stays in Banjul.
The majority of tourists who visit the Gambia have already
booked their rooms in an all-inclusive deal with one
of the major European tour operators. Rooms in the Senegambia
Beach, Sarges, Kairaba Hotel in Kololi,
are frequently heavily booked in the winter tourist
season which runs from mid-October through to April.
It is strongly advised that visitors confirm accommodation
bookings before making their outbound trip. However,
it is still always possible to find a last minute room
during the busy tourist season as there are numerous
houses and lodges
near the coastal holiday resorts of Kololi, Kotu and
are located on or near the coastal strip - (about 10
kilometres west of the capital, Banjul) in the tourist
resorts of Senegambia (Kololi),
Kotu, Fajara, Bakau, Bijilo
& Kerr Sering. Apart from the beach and coastal
areas there are many rooms in purpose built complexes
located up-country in rural area locations or by the
riverside which would appeal to eco-tourists & independent
travellers. For budget travellers there are numerous
guest houses & lodges dotted around the fringes
of the main resorts as well as further up-country. It
is also possible to stay with local families if you
have the right local connections though this is not
advisable on your first visit.
One of the main features of the country’s tourist industry
is its lack of high-rise hotel blocks as you may find
in Spain and may indicate sensitivity to the local environment.
This may be due to the country having learned from some
of the environmental mistakes of more well established
vacation destinations. Currently the most rapid development
is taking place along the coastal region between Bijilo
to Kartong in South Gambia with Brufut having seen the
opening of the Sheraton 5 star resort (now the Coral
Beach Hotel & Spa).
The vast majority of visitors to Banjul choose this
option as they only intend to stay for around 2 weeks
want the basics such as swimming pool, bar & restaurant
and a beach to lie on. This category of accommodation
usually has all the above. In some lower rated establishments
the use of an A/C unit comes at an additional cost.
The Gambia has in recent years seen a rapid growth in
smaller accommodations which appeal to the independent
traveller. Many have swimming pools as well as restaurants
and the atmosphere is more personal & informal however
most are not on the beach. However they tend to offer
a quiet place to stay away from the hustle & bustle
of the main tourist areas.
One way to cut down on cost is to consider self-catering.
Many now feature a swimming pool, A/Cs, a restaurant
as well as room cleaning and laundry services. On average
such places tend to have larger rooms when compared
to the standard hotels. Be willing to haggle over prices
especially if you plan to stay 2 weeks or more. Do check
for how close shops & restaurants are to the lodgings.
There are many such places dotted on the fringes of
the main resorts some of which offer a cheap alternative.
You usually get simple furniture and some come with
en-suite bathrooms though hot water is usually not supplied
but you can try to negotiate for a daily bucket of warm
water each morning.
Though they tend to be more limited in number such places
can offer an ideal retreat for tourists who are not
bothered about being near the beach, night-clubs or
a lot of noise or to birdwatchers & anglers. Some
are located on the river banks while others are in the
heart rural Gambia. Quality of such lodgings can range
from luxury to standard.
This offers the cheapest alternative particularly if
you come with your own tent as some lodges tend to hire
out camping equipment & tents. There are some dotted
in the beach areas of Sanyang, Gunjur & Kartong
and others can be round further inland. There are places
which despite having rooms available are quite happy
to allow you to pitch a tent on their property for a
cost. This has the added benefit of you enjoying a shower
& even possibly cooked meals on site. Whatever you
decide do not pitch a tent anywhere, always ask for
advice and permission to avoid a lot of bother.
Hotel Room Costs:
In Gambia these can start from around €15 a night
for for budget
rooms. On average the cost is around €45 up to the deluxe
type which can start at around €120 per night for top
lodgings. When booking a room in Banjul expect to pay
around £20 per night for a twin room with air-conditioning
with an en-suite bathroom / shower with WC.
Before You Sleep:
Once you have arrived at your accommodation do check
that everything you have been promised is in place.
For example mosquito netting (intact), as well as functioning
cold and hot water, TV, fan & A/C. The air-conditioning
may be billed separately from your room as they are
expensive to run. This is often done by using a special
metre. Check whether local taxes are included and don't
settle for failed promises. Be prepared to ask for a
discount if a room does not meet your expectations and
a threat to leave usually gets you what you want or
if you used a tour operator then tell your tour representative.
And finally if you are an independent tourist and are
booking privately run accommodation then try and
pay for just 1 night to try out the facilities &
experience the local noise levels.