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.
holiday room options in Fajara are usually great value small
hotels, lodges 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
Ngala Lodge which has
a pool, a fine restaurant and excellent bedrooms and suites. The
other is the
Fajara 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 Safari
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 Bakau,
and southwards just after Ngala
Lodge, 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 and sandier heading towards
Kotu Strand, and offers plenty of opportunities
for sunbathing, shopping at the craft market, watersports like
beach volleyball, or a a pleasant early morning or evening stroll.
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 the small,
paved path to the seashore.
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 times.
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 appearance.
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,
stores, hardware retailers and other kinds of shops.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO:
• Africa Living Art Centre
It is located on the Fajara end of the Garba Jahumpa Road, in
the lower part of Bakau
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
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 Mr. 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.
• Bird Watching
best birdwatching spots in Fajara
are at the Golf Course and the slope from there leading down to
the shore. With the 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
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 Fajara
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 no: 4495456).
There is a group called the Hash House Harriers who meet
there and who organise runs and walks about once a week (Tel no:
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
Restaurant (International & local cuisine)
• Mama's Bar & Restaurant
(European & African)
• Ngala Lodge
(The diner is open to public; best international cuisine)
• Clay Oven (Indian dishes)
a few metres from the US Embassy and going along Kairaba
Avenue 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.
Craft 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 section.
Among the well known landmarks in Fajara M Section are the American
Embassy Banjul, Emporium Shopping Mall, Sankung
Sillah Building, Galp
Energia Petrol Station, Standard Chartered Bank building and
the Traffic Lights Junction.
• War Cemetery
The 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
HEALTH & SAFETY:
The resort area here is quite a safe place to stay for travellers
to The Gambia. The incidence of serious crime
is 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 fire
station 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.
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 Banjul
International Airport you can
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 then try
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)]