Prior the mid 1970's the Kololi
holiday resort area was a quiet Gambian village
located several kilometres from the coast and of no great tourist
importance. Today, it is at the very heart of
the country's tourism industry. During the tourist season, from October
to April, the area comes to life and is buzzing with tourists, night
life and bumsters! Kololi Village has now grown right up to the
coastal road and can expand no further.
many years of darkness along
the coastal highway new street lights were installed in 2006 which
start all the way in Fajara and go all the way to the
airport as well
as Brufut making it a little more secure for tourists to venture out on
foot at night.
The Senegambia strip
the road leading from the Senegambia
Hotel which is packed with
night clubs, bars,
bureau de change etc, and is the
liveliest area during the high season. The strip was named after the
first major tourist hotel in Kololi which was the
Senegambia which is
next to the Kairaba Hotel.
In 2004 the resort's beach
was nourished (replenished) with 1 million cubic meters of sand over
1.5km of its length with a width of 120 meters. This was done to
reverse previous coastal erosion that had seriously compromised the
Senegambia resort area's ability to continue to attract large numbers
The beach bars are a vivid
and quintessential part
Atlantic Ocean's scenery and represent a more relaxed alternative to the inland
diners. There is often reggae on their portable sound systems and the
occasional visit by dance troupes or singers to liven up matters a
little in the evenings. These are convenient places to chat with some
of the locals. Food here is usually fresh prawns and fish
oven baked in silver foil including snapper and barracuda.
day-time temperatures are simply too much for tourists to lie out in
the open sand for extended periods of time. This is where the huts
provide essential respite with their thatched, woven palm roofs and
Fresh fruit stalls also dot the coastline and are
inspected and regulated by the Tourism Authority to ensure they
conform to certain hygiene standards.
The area is dotted with numerous
restaurants offering a wide
variety of menus. The restaurant types include food such as
Thai, Chinese, Indian, Gambian, Lebanese,
Italian and French. If you
want to try some real local cuisine then you might be better off
trying the village just a stones throw from the strip in some of the
private local restaurants or along the
Palma Rima road heading away
from the beach. Note that meals are most often prepared to order and
so you do have to be prepared to wait a little. Some recommended
places are the Jade Lin, (tel: 4462638), Bodega Casa Fernando
(4462940), African Queen and Yasmin's (4465245).
A new place well worth
visiting in Gambia is the fairground called Dream Park entertainment centre. It
is an amusement centre located towards the Kololi beachside and just before
the major hotels. It is crammed full of themed family rides, a
restaurant, a spacecraft, battle castle for kids, a crescent swing and
the happy express.
Entry fee: D50 and charge per ride: D25.
is located near the
Senegambia strip and has over 120 stalls
selling tourist souvenirs such as batiks and tie-dye, wood carvings (djembe drums & masks),
African jewellery, and leather accessories.
This is a privately run operation which
displays and sells Gambian sculptures, paintings and photographs for
local artists. Special lectures are also organised as it is intended
to be also used as a focal point for established and aspiring local
craft professionals. There is a local bar & restaurant on the site and
the galleria is open from 9.30 am till 9.00pm. Tel: 446
3646. Also look out for the Daru Salaam Centre.
Away From The Scene:
Away from the
Senegambia area, on the eastern side of the Bertil Harding Highway,
are mostly high to middle-income residences. There is a splattering of
various tourist enterprises either on the main road or along the sandy
tracks jutting inwards towards the village. These businesses are made
up of small guest houses such as the Queen's Head, wine bars and a few
Women's Skills Centre:
The project was the brainchild of two
German visitors who set it up back in 1997 and its goals are to help
young women from the village acquire skills in sewing and design, Batik and
tie dye, embroidery and other handicrafts as well as teaching them how
to speak English.
The area within the Senegambia's hotels is in
fact quite a good birdwatching area as the managers have maintained the large garden area with one of the aims to attract local birds. The
other area that is very close to the hotel is Bijilo Forest Park is
only a 5 minute walk and is teaming with many bird species and various
types of Vervet monkeys
Other Travel Information:
To get to
Kololi from the airport you drive east until the roundabout then
continue north past Bijilo along the coastal road for a further 4 km.
geographical coordinates are: 13° 25' 38" North, 16° 40' 58" West.