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“A wonderful experience to be repeated time and time again......”
Review of Ngala Lodge

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Ngala Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 4, 2011

This our 8th stay in Ngala Lodge. We are never disappointed with the quality. The staff are very friendly and willing to help. The surrounding gardens, the location of the small beach and the accommodation are very attractive. Ngala has a uniqueness which is rare, as soon as we arrived we settled into a stress free environment.
We were saddened by the news that Wilma the manager had died suddenly on 13th January we were really shocked, the staff were obviously sad but they conducted their roles in a very very professional manner.
There is a new Manageress from Belgium and she is very hardworking and keen to continue the excellent reputation of the Hotel.
The food was amazing and very very good value for money. Jonathan, the new chef, is a seriously good chef and we were delighted eith his menues.
All in all, our stay was very enjoyable and we will return as soon as. This boutique hotel is not suitable for those with mobility disabilities. If you do walk out to explore you may get a bit of hassle from some locals (asking for money etc), but do not let this put you off, just be firm. You are safe in the Gambia and the majority of people a very friendly and helpful;

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Valueformoney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 20, 2011

My partner and myself had the fortune to be able to stay in the Nlaga lodge for 7 nights escaping the deep cold winter of the UK.

The hotel itself is situated on the atlantic and the north face tip of the mouth of the gambia river estuary.

We arrived late in the day and we're show to our manor house suite which was extremely spacious with all the facilities that we would expect form an exclusive hotel retreat anywhere in the developed or developing world.

That evening we where treated to some of the best cooking and freshest fish the gambia had to offer. The Dutch manager and British chief both made a point to welcome us personally to the hotel that night and supervised a pleasant experience through out our weeks stay.

We had one of the most relaxing stays only venturing out for half a day (all thats really needed if you there of only a week) to visit the unbelievable vibrant fish market (an experience not to be missed) a slightly amusing crocodile farm and a monkey forest.

You can read a lot here on the trip advisor about advice regarding local attitudes and customs. All I would add is that you should take anything told to you with a large pinch of salt.

We had the luck of beginning introduced to a local guide/taxi driver named Habib who looked after us on our outing. His very presence seemed to have a deflect the bumsters looking to hassle the "too-bob" out of there dalasi. He is very informative, proud of his country and happy to share his local knowledge.

all in all a great hotel with great staff, great rooms and extremely peaceful for a proper recharge!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BarnetBornBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2011

Just arrived back from Ngala lodge, spent 2 weeks relaxing and being care free. Ideal hotel for just doing nothing, staff were friendly, rooms were very comfortable, beautiful grounds straight on to the sea, the food was 1st class, Johnathon the chef was amazing. could not praise the hotel enough down to the products they supplied for your hair,body conditioner all first class.Location for us was ok but would have liked more to do in the evening, which was very limited, there are other resturants which you would need to get a taxi to in the evening as the roads are very dusty which is like orange clay so a taxi is advised but the food in Ngala was to good to want to go out although we did use the Clay oven which is a indian resturant on a tuesday night which is buffet night food was ok. Local fishing market is a must at around 6 oclock in the evening the fishing boats start to come in, what an amazing site not to be missed, we eyed the market from the Banjul guest house which over looks the market pure Gambian people selling, haggling, and children chasing fisherman to knock a few fish out of the boxes they are carrying. There is also a local market selling all kinds of handmade carvings and souvirniers but be prepared to haggle, overall was not bothered by the Bumsters, found mostly friendly happy people. We choose Gambia Experience as our tour operator was pleased with the rep, he was at the lodge every day if you wanted contact with him, the only trip we booked was the lazy river day and thats exactly what we had another relaxing day on the Gambian river. was undicided whether to book Ngala lodge or Mandina lodge on the river the deciding factor was the mosquitos which i thought would be more abundant at Mandina lodge so decided on Ngala lodge was so glad i did,through the rep we decided to spend 2 nights at Mandina lodge as i was swept away by the 4 floating lodges and also the stilted lodge on the river in the forest of Gambia they also had jungle lodges which we were given and only chance to stay 1 night as was fully booked, the one night was not for me, unfriendly staff, jungle lodge could have been amazing but was shabby maintence was seriously needed was meant to be a boutique hotel with 5 stars i would not give it 2 stars no washing soap shampoo no tea coffee making facilities no fridge, was over run with Baboons that had rampaged through the hotel the previous night destructing anything in site,windows on our lodge never locked so you were completely at the Baboons disposal, it was dirty unkept and from the moment you walked in you knew the Baboons were in control there were staff with sticks to ward them of but i think the whole place which had the potential to be amazing was let down by the total lack of management decided not to stay the one night and returned back to Ngala lodge, rep was very helpful when we told him what we thought and was glad to give us half our money back. Gambian Experience need to take a look at this hotel as the place looks amazing on the internet but looks can be very deceptive and very misleading for the cosumer and should never be marketed as a 5 star boutique hotel, moan over my advise would be take sterling you get a better rate there, spend a morning at the Senagambia hotel they feed the vultures at 11.30 am everyday another site to be seen also green monkeys running around which fun to watch, beautiful bird life to be seen. Jus a very nice winter break.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jackiew44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2011

We stayed at Ngala Lodge for a week in november.
Room 1 'Brabo'. It had been re-vamped since our previous visit in February, and was gorgeous.
We have also stayed in the penthouse, the manor, atlantic suite 18 (the one on the GE photos, with the impressive wall frieze), and also other 'normal' suites. They are all fabulous!
Rooms all have mozzie nets, aircon, window screens, bop bug spray, torches, hairdryers, books, private outside space, safes. Some have radios and some have docking thingies for wotnots (I think - i'm a technoprat). Room service is free. There is a pc with free internet access in the front office available to guests. There is a big TV in the front bantaba, which isn't used much, speaking personally I like to get away from TVs, PCs, molibes and enjoy gonaleks, coucals and lizards.
The chef had changed again; this time Bakary who was the sous-chef, has command of the kitchen and has introduced a little more of a Gambian twist to some of the european dishes. Really delicious cooking. The food is always great at Ngala Lodge; changes in chefs happen, and always bring a new vivre to a menu.
There is music every evening, (Fulas on sundays are a real experience), there is a daily cocktail, there is a changing daily special and an a la carte menu.
There is a new manager getting ready to step into some of the day to day duties, and although she comes with very good credentials, I got the impression that she was a little shy of both guests and staff...the staff at Ngala Lodge know what they are doing, most have been there for many years, so I'm sure they will help her!
The gardens are as lovely as ever, with lots of nooks and crannies, paths and places to relax. Lawn service is offered in the gardens, for manor and lodge guests; the inimitable and oft mentioned Dembo is a real star!
The steps down to the beach are steep but sturdy; the beach isn't private, as some reviews have mentioned...it's just very quite! To have a chat you probably need to walk along a bit (if you don't mind clambering over rocks and through water its possible to walk to cape point or the other way further south).
I look forward to returning to Ngala Lodge, and seeing our old friends again.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank FriendOfPooh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2010

Stayed for 1 week at Ngala Lodge in the Penthouse - dual level suite with entrance on 1st floor. Lounge downstairs, Bedroom & bathroom upstairs (including large walk in shower). Up another staircase from the bedroom to a private unoverlooked rooftop terrace complete with sunbeds & outdoor shower - perfect for sunbathing, relaxing, reading etc. Views through the trees to the sea. Stayed on half-board basis and had execllent food all week. Small private beach with none of the usual "bumsters" anywhere to be seen. Make sure you look up "Habib" the local taxi man associated with the hotel who is a truly excellent driver / guide. My wife & I went with him to local fish market, to see the boats return in the evening, down the coast to Paradise Beach and further afield on the Barra Ferry (an experience in itself) and across the border into Senegal. Habib really looks after you and provides his local knowledge of the best things to see and do - would have no hesitation in recommending him to add some adventure to your stay.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank denhamania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2010

Previous reviews have covered all the aspects of this small hotel, lovely gardens, access to an almost private beach, helpful staff, pool - if the umbrellas are missing - ask, great restaurant .

In our particular case our room was fine, but the terrace/ garden left something to be desired, the chairs were uncomfortable, it lacked any privacy (overlooked) & was used as as a shortcut by both guests & staff to & from the pool. Again we had to ask for an umbrella.

However, the hotel lacks good management/ supervision. We found our French window was not locked & could not be locked (1st problem). To contact the reception the telephone number was incorrect including the emergency number on the poolside (2nd problem & potentially much more serious). It took over 3 hours to sort out our window - the Manager was suddenly missing & clearly nobody was trained to deal with the original problem. It was sorted, but it did make us realise that there was a management issue & nobody had checked our room prior to our arrival.

That said we enjoyed Ngala Lodge & hopefully it is only a blip. In the meantime do leave the hotel - visit the fish market at Bakau, turn left & either walk or take a taxi, call in at the Bakau Guesthouse - have a beer on the terrace & observe before finding a good guide to take you round the market, the Commonwealth War Cemetery (5 mins walk past the Butcher's Shop restaurant) was thought provoking & also walk past the golf course to the craft centre, have a drink & if the tide is out you can walk back along the beach (although you will have to clamber over some rocks).

Finally try some of the local restaurants - the Butcher's Shop, Safari Gardens (very reasonable) and the Clay Oven, a classy Indian restaurant.

Almost without exception the people of Gambia are so friendly - leave the hotel & meet them

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kaw118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2010

We deliberately chose this' boutique' hotel over the others in the Gambia Experience brochure. Not disappointed. Nothing is too much trouble for the smiling, helpful staff. The restaurant is superb in every respect: beautifully situated with views over the sea with excellent food. Private beach means no hassle with 'bumsters'. We compared other hotels when collecting tourists on the excursions - we definitely had the best one.
Do:
1. walk along the coast to paradise beach (left) Bakau fishing village (right) at low tide
2. Use local taxis rather than the more expensive tourist taxis
3. Eat at the 'Butchers shop' - lunch or dinner (a walk/short taxi ride away)
4. Chat to the staff, who are a good source of local info.
Dont:
1. Be careful in Cape Point at night - lots of con men, tho' the shopkeepers in nearby Bakau are friendly and not at all pushy
2. Eat at the 'Italian Connection' in Cape Point - dirty, with tasteless food. I was ill all night after this ! (try instead the quirky 'Calypso' bar)
3. Stay all week in the hotel - ther's lots to see !

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Suffolkneil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngala Lodge

Address: 64 Atlantic Boulevard | P.O. Box 4091, Fajara, Gambia
Location: Gambia > Banjul Division > Fajara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range: $175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngala Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
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

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