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Accommodation in Gambia

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Kombo Beach, KotuIn Gambia, hotel accommodation resorts offer a wide and varied choice of places to stay ranging from luxury or standard tourist hotels to guest houseslodges and

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 and lodges near the coastal holiday resorts of Kololi, Kotu and Bijilo.

Most hotels are located on or near the coastal strip - (about 10 kilometres west of the capital, Banjul) in the tourist resorts of Senegambia (Kololi), Kotu, Fajara, Bakau, Bijilo & Kerr 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 its 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 between Bijilo to Kartong in South Gambia with Brufut having seen the opening of the Sheraton 5 star resort (now the Coral Beach Hotel & Spa).

Main Tourist Hotels:
The 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 additional cost.

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Small Hotels:
The 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.

 Guest Houses:
There 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.

Riverside Lodges:
Though 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.

  Camping & Backpackers:
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 of bother.

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.

Before You Sleep:
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 levels.

For more information
hotel help.


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