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Back home from Bakau ...

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Eton, United Kingdom
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2,185 posts
19 reviews
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Back home from Bakau ...

It's back home from Gambia really. Bakau as such is irrelevant.

A really nice 10-day visit. My friends unsuccessfully tried to have the flight cancelled or have me kidnapped cos they knew I didnt want to leave. Come back 'Ash Cloud'. (That gave me four extra days a while back!).

Stayed 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 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 might be tiring for 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.

A new food manager has proudly improved that aspect although the breakfast is still limited.

Other 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.

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.

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1. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

Great report, Stephen - - - warts and all but still with affection.

I'll always remember the AF and Lamin my 2iC - as the base from I built my place in Brufut in three weeks - there was a lot of designing & talking, and very little sleeping -- a story for another day!


Newcastle upon...
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290 posts
14 reviews
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2. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

Great report - thanks. I visited Bakau 11 times in 5 years but haven't been for 18 months. Your report brings back great memories

North Pole, Alaska
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4,531 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

Hi Stephen

What a beautiful well balanced report!! Well written and easy on the eyes and indeed a pleasure to read!!

I thought about staying here not just because it is fairly cheap but because it has a certain appeal to it!!

As for the worn out aspects I think I have found them in most 2* for example "Badala, Palma Rima, Palm Beach, Mansea all have the worn out aspects that you mention" with a few more besides!!! but as you quite rightly say "more comfortable than camping!"!!!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!!

London, United...
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304 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

Based on this report, i may have a look when we are there at Easter, we always stay at the Ocean Bay which is alot more expensive and there are some very good deals to be had for the African Village.

Thanks for the report


Eton, United Kingdom
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2,185 posts
19 reviews
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5. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

AV ... more .......

I've tried to paint a picture an intending visitor could rely on and not be disappointed. Trouble is ... everyone's so different in what they want and what would upset them! And in my view anyone making a first visit to West Africa who is not already a world traveller is very ill advised (naive?) to travel independently without booked accommodation, transport, and the protection of a tour operator to deal with problems. It isn't Torquay! Later on, when you know the ropes, arriving independently is fine for those that like it that way.

African Village is simple, adequate, some good features regarding the seascape and sunbathing and places to sit privately around the hotel for working or reading without being bothered, and you would go home feeling that you'd had a great and novel holiday and a satisfying first experience of the country. In fact an Adventure! Bumsters there are, near the hotel, but not aggressive, and some deserving poor, so stockpile a few tiny 5-dalassi notes.

Aspects of local life - there have been suggestions that prostitution is evident around hotels - are probably there if you want to see them that way. Surprisingly, once you have visited regularly, you begin to realise that apparently incongruous liaisons are frequently permanent, of mutual benefit presumably, and none of our business! This is Africa and you’re on holiday. Enjoy!

Edited: 1:31 pm, March 02, 2013
Chichester, United...
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1,408 posts
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6. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

Stephen, great post and great conclusion in post 5.

Sounds like your hotel, had a lot of character .

7. Re: Back home from Bakau ...

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