Gambia, hotel accommodation resorts offer a wide and varied choice
of places to stay ranging from luxury
or standard tourist hotels to guest
& self-catering apartments.
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 are houses
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 small guest
houses & lodges
near the coastal holiday resorts
of Kololi, Kotu
Most hotels are located on or near
the coastal strip - see map
(about 10 kilometres west of the capital, Banjul)
in the tourist resorts of Senegambia (Kololi),
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
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
to Kartong in South Gambia
with Brufut having seen the
opening of the Sheraton 5 star resort (now the Coral
Beach Hotel & Spa).
vast majority of visitors to Banjul choose this option as they
only intend to stay for around 2 weeks and 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
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.
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.
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
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 quality
luxury 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.
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