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Janjanbureh
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Reviewed July 16, 2009

I have lived in Gambia for 3 years and have travelled to Janjangbureh many times, specifically to stay at Bird Safari Camp and experience the beautiful surrounds of the Gambian river. The serenity and utter peacefulness of the place leaves the coast for dead. Don't come here if you want luxury and the trappings of home but DO come over you want to see proper africa and not just a hotel room and sun loungers. The wildlife is amazing - guaranteed hippos during the fantastic boat trip from Kuntaur on the 2-story pirogue, the 'lady hippo'. Even for an unexperienced bird watcher, the sight of the herons and kingfishers for the entire journey is wonderful to see. The camp itself is set in beautiful surrounds. The tents are basic but incorporate a shower and toilet and are situated on the river so you can wake up to the birds in the morning (there are also huts available). The staff are wonderful, the food plentiful and filling and there is a swimming pool for cooling down during the day. I have thoroughly enjoyed every trip I have made to the camp - making it hard to leave to come back to the bustle of the coast. There is a website too for organising trips from the coast - so you can avoid the horrendous hassle of the banjul-barra ferry: www.hiddengambia.com. Check it out.

Date of stay: April 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank jessica_gambia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2009

I spent several days at Bird Safari Camp. What a wonderful experience of life in the Gambia. We were able to experience the thrill of residing in a round hut. on our walks through the bush to the river we tooks some colourful photos of the native flora. Our day trip on the boat was relaxing, entertaining,a chance to see the hippos bathing in the river and monkeys in the wild.
The food was traditional and wholesome with fresh bread baked daily- what a treat!!!
Our host, Mark, looked after us and made us feel special. My compliments to the other staff who were friendly and helpful which contributed to the overall enjoyment of our experience

Date of stay: January 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank EchucaTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2009

Bird Safari Camp is a fabulous contrast to staying on the coast. I thought it was a great deal, and really appreciated that I didn't have to think about anything as I was so well cared for! I enjoyed my trip to the camp so much that I extended and stayed an extra night. I am now booking my next trip in November and look forward to returning!

Travelling up to the camp by boat was fantastic, a leisurely afternoon spotting exotic birds along the river and watching the antics of the baboons in the trees. The sun setting was almost as spectacular as the moon rising reflected in the river - some of the best photos I took on my two week holiday!

I chose to stay in a safari tent (which barely felt like a tent it was so well equiped) and was delighted to wake up and be able to see the river from the tent. The dawn chorus was a lovely replacement for an alarm, and there was no need to seek the birds out as they are everywhere! We walked through the trees and took boat rides on the river, swam in the pool and relaxed in the sun.

Mark was a great host, playing guitar and making sure everyone had everything they needed at all times. The staff at the camp were friendly and made us all feel like we'd been there for ages.

As I said before - can't wait to return!

Date of stay: March 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank egavaghan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2009

I went to Bird Safari Camp with my wife in Feb 2008 and have been meaning to give it a review since but haven't got round to it. It was such a terrible place, though, that it's worth me giving a review now if that will help to persuade people not to stay here.

It sounds like a lovely idea - riverside location, sleeping in a tent or in a thatched cottage, no electricity and lamps at night... But it's difficult not to think that the only reason that there isn't electricity is to save them money. The whole place is cheap - pretty grim food, staff are friendly, numerous, and hopeless when it comes to doing anything. We had a guide, Ibrahim, who wouldn't leave us alone. We bumped into one of the cooks in town and he "helped us out" - turned out he ripped us off on some money we exchanged. Not much, but you don't expect to get ripped off by hotel staff (not ripped off by much, but it was so obvious the way he did it...).

As for the hotel and facilities...in a country where peanuts are one of the main crops, they didn't have peanuts as a snack. The swimming pool was a bit of a building site. We were told there would be bicycles for rent - they didn't have brakes, not much of a seat, and they tried to charge us £1 an hour rent for each of them (more expensive than central London). We went for a "bird safari", which it turns out was a stroll through the forest for about an hour. On that basis, I went for a "safari" to the shops the other day. Went on a boat trip which was nice. Um, that's about it for the hotel facilities.

If you went there for an afternoon, you'd be charmed. If you stayed there for a night you might be. If you stay there for 6 nights, as we were meant to, you leave early. This is a lazily put together hotel, which charges a lot for the very little it gives. If you consider this sort of thing to be a taste of local culture, this is the place for you. If you recognise that it's a pretty cynical scam, then stay away.

Date of stay: February 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lincolnsinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2009

Bird Camp was an oasis in a very dry part of the Gambia when we went in April after returning from doing project work near Bangsang. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed by Mark and his staff with cold drinks, a cool verranda and views onto the river Gambia.

After we had chosen between safari tents or traditional round huts (we all went for tents right on the river bank) we had time for a dip, sunbathe or in my case a tour of Osmans Mandinka garden where we discussed the problems of termites and monkey and the growing conditions required for bananas. This was followed by learning how to wash clothes Mandinka style - really good way to get to know the locals even though my Mandinka was limited!

Then the real treat - a boat trip on the river to see the hippos. We saw 7 that day but up to 12 have been seen. The crew pointed out birds, baboons and various other natural attractions while we lazed on deck or got a suntan on the top of the boat. Once we turned back the boat stopped and some of us (including me) jumped in for a dip - fantastic!

That evening we were served with lovely food and finished up the evening chatting into the early hours about environmental tourism. Breakfast the next morning was filling and got us off to a good start for our long journey back to the coast. However next time I may do it by river - again something Mark can organise.

The best of all though was waking up to an orchestra of birds - absolutely amazing place and one I have already planned to return to with my family in October.

Date of stay: April 2009
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2  Thank heavenfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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