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“Great stay!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of African Village Hotel

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African Village Hotel
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2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   98 Atlantic Boulevard, Bakau, Gambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Rugby
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Great stay!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

Hi, just returned from a 2 week stay. I met some great fellow travellers and had a really good time.
The single rooms were very small and hot ! Luckily I was able to move to an African hut style room for no extra cost - thank you to the manager!
Breakfast was simple - eggs cooked a different way every morning - but enough to keep you going.
The pool area was lovely - end of season so very quiet.
A few shops around the hotel.
Had lunch at Ngala lodge on the last day - wish I had found the beach earlier!
Easy to get a taxi to the strip - should you wish !
A friendly place to stay.

Room Tip: Get an African hut - or sea view!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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68 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I visited the African village hotel in the Gambia for 7 nights during Easter half term, i visited with my school when both groups were here there was around 70 of us including staff, in my opinion the hotel and it's staff tried very hard and incredibly well to cater for all those people and other hotel guests, the rooms were like African huts which was a great idea in my opinion. The rooms were basic but that's what i wanted, not the Sheraton somewhere where i could experience the real Gambia e.g. the poverty as that's what we were doing visiting villages and discovering what a real third world country was like. The food for me was the let down, breakfast was very limiting there was omelettes unfortunately i don't like eggs, there was also slices of baguette and jams and also some fruit, this meant i had to have bread and jam every morning, apart from that i had a great time the dining room was done out really well and so was the poor and bar area.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Place is a little rough at the edges,in need of facelift but it is cheap,staff are excellent cant do enough for you and are always smiling,restaurant meals are cooked on demand,very tasty and good price.overall would give 7 out of 10.

Room Tip: Go for D block or roundhouses
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Windsor, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Stayed 10 nights at the small long-established African Village Hotel on the cliff top not far from Ngala Lodge and on the road to Cape Point. Wonderful views from the dining room terrace, and the sea lapping or crashing according to the day around the sand-covered bathing platform where you can soak up sun bumster-free! Thats one of the assets of this hotel thats underrated.
Platform doesn't sound very nice, but it is. The sloping path down and some 30 steps could hinder some people. There is a beach but there are submerged rocks, and an undertow as everywhere in TG, so only for paddling.

The sunbathing area round the circular pool with it's island bar has been greatly extended at the rear. More space for the Entertainment too. A big improvement.
An enthusiastic new food manager has improved that aspect although the breakfast is still limited. The Friday buffet evening looked really inviting, though I was due elsewhere. They now offer cake and tea in the afternoon just as the hunger after swimming sets in. (Not every day and if anything the portions were too large!). The ice-cream fridge broke. I hope they get a new one.

Attributes are single rooms at no supplement. A lot of singles travel with friends but don't want to share. People with business in TG - charity organisers for example - only need a single room. The wifi worked! The best attribute is the staff; friendly, smiling (of course), helpful and never greedy. The same faces year after year. Its like staying with your family. Your holiday takes off from the first moment.

Outside there is plenty of transport. Mcdmorrows is decent plain restaurant at short distance (does takeaways if asked!) and a walk along to the uniquely furnished Bakau Guesthouse at about 5.30 to see the fishing boats come in, and to watch Africa at work from the balcony in seeming confusion below, is a highlight. From there, stroll in the warmth of the early evening down to Cape Point for a second drink at the hotels or civilised Calypso beach bar-restaurant just beyond Ocean Bay, or 'Mr Bass' on the corner and listen to the music and the banter of the boys as they try to pick out a marriage partner to take them to Europe or buy them a taxi! Some have got lucky. Plenty of evidence. There are cafes and music all over.

Some people will sneer at some of the old fashioned and frankly worn out aspects of this hotel. Drawers that wont close, damaged fitments, cisterns that dont always refill and the like. But does it really matter when all outside is beautiful and buzzing? And always remember the price D650 ppn. Economical!

If part of your holiday pleasure is the excellence of the hotel then this is probably not the place for you. If you require an inexpensive, safe, very friendly hotel in a traditional neighbourhood where tourists, though of course welcome, are not what it's all about and you can forgive a few shortcomings, (more comfortable than a camping holday) then this could well be for you!

I am only one of hundreds of repeat visitors, including Gambians over from abroad to see their families. I recommend it almost without reservation for what it gives.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the pool area would be quieter if the noisy evening entertainment inc drumming would...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

The hotel is a little run down and needs a facelift. The staff were very nice and friendly. So my review is more about the resort. Once you leave the hotel the bumsters are overwhelming and sometimes even intimidating. Its impossible to enjoy a walk or meal without being pestered. Its not what you could call a scenic place. In fact there is nothing to look at. We found the trips on offer very expensive. The thing that suprised me was the amount of prostitutes allowed in the hotel. Male and female of varying ages. The warnings at the airport regarding HIV/aids and child expliotation obviously dont mean anything to some travellers.

Room Tip: if you go get a seaview room.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

if your looking for luxury this hotel is not for you .....i stayed here in december 2012 it was a great exsperance food was ok.......plenty of night life on the strip....just keep from wow night club its full of hookers........the hotel is clean and staff are really nice can't do enough for u

Room Tip: dont go there try other hotels
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Talbot, Wales, United Kingdom
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

This was our 3rd visit to Gambia and our 2nd to the African Village - we went with The Gambian Experience. We flew with Monarch and I was very impressed with plane service and food.

Hotel
On arrival to hotel it looked the same and this time we stayed in a sea view suite. There was a smell in our room through out our stay which we could not find the source of, rubbish was in a large bag outside our window and remained there with a collection of empty larger bottles until we left. Some days our bed was not made and the sheets were not changed, they were old worn frayed and had holes in them.and the bed mattress just sank in the middle. the pillows were hard and wafer thin.

The shower was good in that there was an individual water heater in room so no problem there but it is a hand held shower with nothing to hook the shower into this can make washing your hair etc difficult. the taps and toilet flush and all door handles were rough with wear and looked grimy. The wardrobe was so bad we kept our clothes in our cases.

When we stayed here last approx 4 yrs ago the place was basic and worn but clean and cleaners were around the hotel daily moping and etc - we did not notice the same level of activity this visit in fact i did not see a mop!

Food was OK again not as good with less breakfast choice than last visit and service was classic GMT (Gambian Time) - i.e. slow but cooked from fresh.

Structurally we notices a lot of large cracks on balconies etc and the wooden veranda outside the restaurant overlooking the sea was bowing and some joists were missing. We choose not to sit out there! We also noticed management staff on laptops writing reviews!! so be aware not all of them are from real tourists.

As for the area we noted there a more cafe's and bars and mini markets some were good some were not but it was nice to have the choice. Bumsters are still there waiting on beach and outside the hotel they seemed to work in groups this time and appeared much more organised. I was pick pocketed by one in local bar. Also be wary that they are still doing the come visit my family cam and the I'm a happy man just married come and meet my wife.... They are also planting drugs on tourist and calling police who are corrupt and you have choice of on the spot fine of approx 5k sterling or prison 3 years.

Gambia is 90% Muslim they now have stick laws against inappropriate behavior homosexuality is one of them (I was with my civil partner - we have been together almost 15 years. The president has made it clear he will not accept civil partnerships and has threatened to behead (he brought the death penalty back last year) any Gambian gays. To be safe we had to tell people we were sister in law and be aware of our body language which sullened the mood a little. Last year 18 Spanish tourists were arrested for being gay and kept there for 6 months before charges dropped.Their current leader had announced to his people the cure for AIDs is to eat a banana!

Prostitution was still everywhere - in a seedy bar outside young youths were outside dealing and inside women (Gambian girls) dressed in next to nothing, these men spoke with white tourist men and off a girl would go with him, they also came into the hotel and some were very young - teens. Bear in mind that drugs and prostitution is illegal there also Muslim women would cover up and wear something on their heads etc. There are also older white women some in their 70's with young men same set up but they work freelance.

We went to Gambia this time to cross over border to Fathala reserve in Senegal and had a FAB day via The Gambian experience who kept us safe and gave us the experience of travelling on ferry etc without the risks. - see pics.

Conclusion
This was a out last visit to the Gambia until current leadership changes, if you go there get a licensed guide or travel with a tour operator and do not believe all your told. some locals are nice hard working people but the tourist trade had attracted a less savory element and many of of them are not even Gambian. I would not recommend this hotel because it is falling apart, there are many other hotels in same price range with higher standard of cleanliness etc. Ignore bumsters once you give them eye contact they stick to you like a leach, one guest felt he was being stalked and was unable to leave the hotel. Unless you are single straight looking acting gay man or lesbian avoid, you leave yourself open for all sorts of allegations from opportunist bumsters who can get money reporting you for misconduct etc from police once you paid the high fine. Keep your belonging in a safe - one hotel tourist couple had their room ransacked and over 2k stolen.I would recommend Monarch airlines and Fathala game reserve.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about African Village Hotel

Address: 98 Atlantic Boulevard, Bakau, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Bakau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Bakau
Hotel Class:2.5 star — African Village Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 96
Also Known As:
African Village Bakau
Hotel African Village
African Village Hotel Gambia/Bakau, Africa

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