We have just returned home having enjoyed our stay at the Ngala Lodge with The Gambia Experience.
So what can I say about it that hasn't already been said? Well, yes it is a very peaceful and relaxed place to stay and the food in the restaurant is very good indeed. But initially we were very disappointed with our room allocation (Suite 7 Gnd Flr of the original lodge). It was very small and dark, decorated in a very quirky way and had no door to the shower/toilet area, just a curtain. There were also no drawers or shelves to put clothes and the wardrobe and dressing table looked very dated and shabby. We were told later that suite 7 was to be refurbished. A bit shocked too that you had to pay for the tea/coffee and bottled water in the suites.
After requesting a room change, things started to look up. Suite 8, also on the Gnd Flr, was totally different, much much bigger with a separate lounge, a very large bedroom area with a door leading to a walk-in closet, a shower area with 2 showers, a rather quirky sink (with no plug) and a walled off area with toilet and bidet. There was also a small terrace with chairs, a little private garden and a gate straight onto the pool area. There was only one A/C unit in the bedroom so we requested a fan to use in the lounge. We found this suite to be very adequate but don't expect five star accomodation in the Lodge, as in other hotels.
For real five star accommodation at Ngala you should book an Atlantic suite or a suite in the Manor. We managed to gain a look into both and were impressed by what we saw. The Manor also has its own lawned sunbathing area with a large hot tub. The Atlantic suites all have their own jaccuzzis.
The restaurant is actually separately owned from the hotel and is pretty expensive, compared to eating out locally. But for an intimate night out you will find nice surroundings, a peaceful ambience and the staff very friendly.
The lawned sunbathing area overlooking the Atlantic has nice views out to sea and at most times a cooling breeze, but don't get complacent, you will still get sunburnt if not careful.
There are some steepish steps down to the beach, which is very secluded, but there are no loungers or parasols. At low tide, you can walk along the beach in either direction but be careful not to get stuck at high tide.
As for the weather, we were pleasantly surprised after reading it was the most wet and humid time of year. Having booked last minute we expected thunderstorms and rain everyday, but these appeared at night, so by the next morning everthing was wet but actually cooler. The humidity then begins to increase over the next few days until the next storm, we had plenty of days to sunbathe in between. We had 2 days out of ten when it rained during the day. The humidity can be intense at this time of year, so drink plenty of water, especially on any excursions.
Talking of which we went on two, the 4WD and Treasure Island. They were both very informative and eye opening but quite similar. Our personal recommendation is the Treasure Island (Jinnack)
You will see, from the 4WD truck, ferry and pirogue (boat), a lot more of the typical people, wildlife, mangroves etc of The Gambia and a small part of Senegal,
Overall, we enjoyed our stay very much and would recommend it for a peaceful and relaxed place to escape the heat, bumsters and hard bartering which is, after all, what The Gambia is all about.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Established in 1995, Ngala Lodge - an intimate, child free, boutique hotel of just 18 unique, magnificent suites, set in tropical gardens, overlooking the Atlantic is the perfect place for a romantic break. Recently voted the 4th most romantic hotel in Africa by TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, with arguably the best restaurant in the Gambia, our guests find it hard to leave.Ngala Lodge - where romance isn't just for Valentines Day! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Ngala Hotel Fajara
- Ngala Lodge Gambia/Fajara