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
Beach Hotel and Bijilo
Beach Hotel, the luxury Coco
Ocean Resort & Spa, the deluxe self-catering Sea
Front Residence and other
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
[Lady Southorn writing
'West African Review', March 1938,
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 TO DO:
There are a few decent restaurants here such as the following:
• Bamboo Beach Bar
• Jaama Bar (Local
• Kasumai (International cuisine)
• La Pirogue
• Sunbird Bar &
• Quad Biking
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
West African Powersports.
• 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.
• Sunbathing & Swimming
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)]