& Village, Gambia)
Bijilo resort and Bijilo village are in the West Coast
Region of the Kombo North St. Mary District (Ksmd),
of The Gambia, in West Africa, and are 23km southwest
of the capital of Banjul.
The old village and its new residential areas are about
2 km south of Kololi
and the Senegambia Strip area, and are mostly to the
right of the Bertil Harding Highway, while the resort
includes the village and much of the area to the left
of the road, facing the Atlantic Ocean. This section
of the coast is more peaceful than its seafront counterparts
to the north, and there are far fewer bumsters.
section of the coastal strip and the inland neighbourhood
of Kerr Serign are relatively late comers as holiday
resorts. The accommodation
choices are tranquil and sparsely spaced. However, it
is an important growth area, and available seaside plots
are being taken up quickly, and construction of new
places to stay continues apace. The hoteliers here are
mostly aiming at the top-spending end of the tourism
sector. Among the places to stay are the tourist-class
Lemon Creek, Golden Beach Hotel and Bijilo Beach Hotel,
the luxury Coco
Ocean Resort & Spa, the deluxe self-catering
Sea Front Residence and other hotels.
in the 1970s the beach area was a quiet backwater of
the Gambia's Kombos. It was characterised by a covering
of dense, closed woodland, dominated by rhun palms with
some coconut trees, and its shore were virtually deserted.
Today, much of the woodland south of Bijilo
Forest Park has been thinned to make way for tourist
related industries and private homes. The area's beaches
are still relatively quiet, save for the sections facing
the hotels. Between the gaps of the various accommodations
are a few bars and restaurants. The sands are golden,
wide and clean, and make an excellent place for sunbathing
and, when the sea is calmer, for swimming. It is also
common to see vervet monkeys in the general area, sometimes
they visit bars to titbits of food. Sometimes you can
see Serer fishermen landing
their catches on shore from their pirogues. The area
along the main Kombo Coastal Road, parallel to the Atlantic
strip, is well lit and foot access to the ocean side
is quite good.
"When the sun
sets, Bijilo is at its best. The palm trees are wrapped
in a red glow and the green bushes stand out so vividly
that they dazzle the eyes. A herd of cows is driven
slowly along the beach by a small boy; their dun colour
and soft lowings add to the beauty of the peaceful
[Lady Southorn writing in 'West African Review', March
1938, p. 15]
The sleepy village of Bijilo has undergone gentrification,
as the old farming families have largely sold up and
moved out. Modern residential homes and highway office
blocks, shops and lodges are rapidly replacing the fields
and old structures of the village. Well spaced sandy
streets separate bungalows and villas with pools.
Tourist Attractions & Things
There are a few decent restaurants here such as the
Beach Bar (International cuisine),
Bar (Local seafood),
• Kasumai (International
Bar & Restaurant.
way of exploring the beaches and and further afield
is increasingly popular. You can often rent a quad bike
from the beachfront itself. Also ask at the reception
as they may know about a few firms engaged in quadbiking
hire. Check that your holiday insurance policy covers
this mode of transport. There is a safari tour operator
that specializes in quad biking on a set rout called
• Horseback Riding
for hire can be found along most of the beachfronts
in Gambia and is a different way of exploring sections
of the coast quickly, and getting some refreshing sea
air into your lungs. Sometimes they are kept by the
hotels themselves. Again, just ask at the reception
desk for information.
is one of the few beachfronts along this section of
the 10.5km strip where you can sunbath in peace and
quiet. Keep an eye out for swimming conditions according
to the lifeguard's flags. The sand is soft, clean and
wide enough so you can keep out of the way of 'beach
traffic' such as horse riders and cows!
Health & Safety:
In and around the built up areas is quite safe and the
main road is usually lit at night. If you want to veer
off into the village at night then, for your own safety,
do not go unaccompanied, and carry a small torchlight
with you as the side streets are not lit, except by
lights from family compounds and shops.
are no obvious spots to pick up a taxi on this part
of the Bertil Harding Highway, but they are constantly
plying the road for business so you won't have to wait
too long. You can travel out-and-about from your accommodation
by hiring one of the green taxis
parked near the entrance of the major hotels here.
You can get to Bijilo from Banjul
Airport by car hire if you choose.
[Geographical coordinates 13° 27' N, 16° 38' W
/ Kombo North St. Mary District (Ksmd)]
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