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“Inspirational Ideals and Amazing Staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Safari Garden Hotel

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Safari Garden Hotel
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Kairaba Avenue, Kmsd Road | Off Atlantic Road, Fajara, Gambia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Fajara
BristolUK-BenaojanSpain
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Inspirational Ideals and Amazing Staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2010

We got back this morning from a week long stay at Safari Garden - our first visit to Africa if you don't count Morocco. We were all blitzed by the country and its people - we think we are pretty good at getting involved with local people wherever we go - but we have never felt as connected as we did here.
The hotel offers a guide service - which you pay for directly to the guide - which transformed our holiday. Modou was perfect for us and our two teenage daughters, offering wise words to us all every day and being available and amenable to any request. I can't describe how kind he was and how considerate - we met amazing people through him and were so overwhelmed by the connection we made with him that all four of us couldn't hold back tears as we headed back home in the airport taxi.
Anyway, Modou apart, the hotel's owners are truly inspirational in what they have achieved at the hotel and with the local people. They make a real effort to give time to all guests as far as we could tell and we had some fascinating chats with Geri and Maurice about the trials and successes they have had over the last eleven years in their quest to provide an honest, sustainable product for visitors and locals alike.
That said the hotel will not suit all sorts by any means. You must be prepared to remember that you are in a third world country and want to experience and learn about the way of life if you want to get the most out of this special place. So to be honest ... the showers do not always work, there are cracks in the walls, towels have seen better days, the rooms are very simple and a little tired - and if those kind of things are the only things that you judge hotels by, you may not be happy here. However if you want to be amongst amazingly friendly people who want to do all they can for you and if you want to know that the management are dedicating their lives to doing the best that they can to support local people in every way they possibly can, and that is important to you, then you are never going to want to stay anywhere else in this country - unless you go to Sandele - an eco lodge with the same management. (See separate review).
The food at Safari is very good - a good variety for a week's stay at least - with special dishes every day. We bought some fish at Bacau fish market one night and the chef cooked it simply but perfectly for us.
So we shall return to The Gambia for certain - and we will return to Safari Garden for certain - although we would definitely ensure that Geri and Maurice are still at the helm. Their vision and support to local people is what was most important to us.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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23 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
london england
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2009

The Safari Gardens has a slogan "The hotel that gives more than it takes"
which is so true as we married there in March 2009 and had an amazing time.

There is so much i want to say about this quiet pleasant hotel.

The hotel is nicely hidden down a side street which means its very quite and peaceful.
You are a 5-8 min walk from a quite Fajara beech and local restaurants.
The hotel is well maintained and presented. they have a pool with a bar and seating/lounge area.
The hotel is very much Safari in its theme of decor through the hotel which creates a very relaxed atmosphere.
The Staff are very friendly and helpful. The Hotel owners who we absolutely treasure went out of there way to make our wedding and the time we sent there special.

The food prepared for our wedding was top quality and delicious, i can still taste it now.
I could find 100 great reasons to recommend The Safari Gardens Hotel but will give you just 5 of them today!

Say here if:
You want to be hidden away from the busy tourist area.
you want to be near a nice quite beech
You want a peaceful relaxing atmosphere
You want a wedding/ special celebration with amazing food and hospitality.
You want professional friendly staff who go the extra mile.

We will be staying here again in the near future.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
wales
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2009

We have stayed here four times as part of the excellent Hidden Gambia experience. Great swimming pool, lovely staff, good food. Lack of water pressure at times and so we just jumped into the pool to stay clean. Located where there is real life.
On your first visit it is best to use a hotel guide until you get the hang of things. Travel by bush taxi to Banjul market, lively but friendly. Guide recommended.
Great place to relax at the begining and end of up river tours to Bird Safari Camp, another wonderful place to experience real west Africa.
Buy wonderful Gambian silver jewelry at Almanba (Lama Lama) on Atlantic Rd. or have your dress made on site by the friendly seamstress.
Talk to the staff and get the feel of how they live. They are just great, and all this is from a sceptical seventy year old.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2008

ATMOSPHERE - Very laid back, relaxed and informal. I wanted somewhere away from the larger tourist places where one hotel is like another.
ROOM - OK, clean but simple, don't expect top class luxury BUT personally I don't go on holiday to spend my time in a hotel room.
GARDEN - Lovely. Nice to wake up and have breakfast outside in the garden then slip into the pool for a dip. Also spent a couple of evenings relaxing and talking to the other guests who seemed to range from tourists to African Gov Ministers, volunteers and ex-pats working in the area. A real mixture and just so interesting!
FOOD - I ate here a couple of times. The food was a bit expensive about (£6) for a main meal but the fish dishes were superb.
STAFF - Brilliant, I have to say they were amazing. From the lady who cleaned my room to the owners, they were definitely the best staff I have ever encountered. I have travelled quite extensively and they are not similar to other hotel staff they are genuinely friendly but not in your face. They also gave some advice about the best places to visit and helped me arrange cheap transport.
DIFFICULTIES - Take cash...debit and credit cards seem to be a problem throughout the country. The hotel did offer to take my card but it cost them a supplement which would be added to my bill.

  • Liked — Definitely the laid back atmosphere and the friendly staff
  • Disliked — The fact that I had to leave it
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2007

The hotel is run by a lovely English ex-pat couple, Geri and Maurice, who took a very active interest in making me feel at home. The staff are very engaging and it was a pleasant and relaxing stay. The place also attracts a lot of NGO volunteers and other long-stayers which gives more of an insight into the country.

The hotel has a small pool surrounded by a pretty garden and as well as the communal sitting area, most if not all rooms have their own verandah. The beach is less than 10 minutes walk away. There are 2 ATMs within about 10 minutes walk of the hotel and the rate worked out identical to what I got at banks, bureaux etc. although you can only get out D2000 at a time.

Fajara is a quiet area where a number of the consulates and embassies are located and was a good choice to be away from the main tourist areas.

I was booked in for 2 nights initially but I ended spending all but one night there, with just a brief jaunt up-country to Bintang.

  • Liked — People and location
  • Disliked — Water pressure can be a little weak sometimes.
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2007

I have stayed at Safari Garden Hotel quite a few times over the years because it truly is a little paradise of peace and tranquility...away from the 'Blackpoolesque' strip that is Senegambia. The rooms are simple and clean, the staff are always really lovely and welcoming and along with the owners, Geri & Maurice, they always make you feel like one of the the 'Safari Garden Family' which is especially great if you are there on your own (which I often am)....I never feel alone. They always take the time to stop and say hello or invite you to their dinner table in the lovely outdoors restaurant in the garden. Speaking of which, the food is great too! They cater for the european palatte (and I'm not talking bog-standard fish n chips here!) and or if you want to try the local dishes, they are on the menu too. The desserts are well worth a try too (try the choclate and beetroot cake!!). even if you stay in another hotel, then yoi really should go to Safari Garden for lunch or dinner at least. They have a small but extremely clean pool there to lounge the day away or take a 10 minute walk to the beach and swing on a hammock at Leybato beach.....great views of the sunset there too. Safari Garden does it for me everythime :)

  • Liked — Its friendly staff and owners and how welcome they always make you feel
  • Disliked — nothing to say on this matter as the proof is in the pudding - i.e. I go back there often!
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2007

I have just returned from a wonderful stay at the Safari Garden. The rooms are basic and take your own bath products but that is the charm of this hotel. The staff are very friendly and the food fantastic - check out the chocolate and beetroot cake! The owners are delightful and are commited to eco tourism. I would return there no problem!

  • Liked — The friendliness of the staff
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed April 2007
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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Additional Information about Safari Garden Hotel

Address: Kairaba Avenue, Kmsd Road | Off Atlantic Road, Fajara, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Fajara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Safari Garden Hotel is located just off the Main Road in Fajara, just 10 minutes walk to the beautiful beach. All of the rooms have ensuite bathrooms and private terrace, many with a view of the gardens and swimming pool. Flavours Bar & Restaurant serves food and drinks from 7.30Am until late and the friendly staff are always around to help. We are a locally run hotel that provides our guests with a genuine and friendly Gambian experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Safari Garden Hotel Gambia/Fajara

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