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“Experience Gambia and put something back”

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The Gunjur Project Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Stayed here for one week with a colleague from our Primary School in UK as we have a link with a Gambian Lower Basic School. This place is a real find. I knew we would be welcome from the first email enquiry that I made. It is a run by a UK family(Jenny, Brendan, Jo and Butch), who have built the place up over the 7 years that they have lived in The Gambia. Their ethos is to support the local community wherever possible and visitors are requested to be responsible travellers by respecting the water and electricity. The water is piped into the ensuite rooms, providing flushable toilet, sink and shower. It is heated by the sun and so at times the water is warm, but the cool water showers were never an issue for us. We also soon got used to not leaving the water running while showering. The electricity is solar generated so we always charged equipment during daylight hours, never a problem. There is eletricity over night for lighting in the rooms though. We stayed in room 6 which had a double and single bed in the room. Both beds had good quality mosquito nets attached over them for night use. There was an ample cupboard with hanging rail, hangers and shelves. The room was decorated with local art work. The ensuite had a curtain for a door, which is common having stayed in another Gambian lodge. There was a choice of about four dishes for breakfast, with tea and coffee, fruit juice, fruit salad and bread with local honey and jams available each day ... delicious. The Project Lodge was very busy while we were there but actually this added to our stay as we chatted to volunteers involved in different projects over a drink in the evenings. We also were invited to join in the evening entertainment (not sure if this always happens). This included a djembe drum lesson from Butch (who can also take orders for purchase of a djembe drum and gives advise on preparing it for transport on the plane), a drumming band and a traditional band. All take place around an atmospheric fire, just brilliant! There was a good choice of evening meals (Gambian and other country). All the staff were very friendly and could not do enough for you. We had some washing done while there, appreciated this service as I know this was hand washed by a local lady. Overall this was a real gem and we look forward to visiting again in the future. I would not think twice about bringing my young (9 and 10 year old) family here. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Julie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 - 125 of 223 reviews

Reviewed March 26, 2013

Where to start.. The people are incredible. Jo, Butch, Jenny and Brendan who run The Gunjur Project are such lovely welcoming people, it was a pleasure to get to know them during my time there. The staff were all professional, kind and friendly. Delicious food cooked morning, noon and night by their wonderful chef. Lovely pool and sun loungers to laze around on all day. Accommodation is basic, very clean and comfortable. Lots to do during the day from watching the fisherman on the beach (5 minutes walk away), drumming lessons, cooking lessons and days out to the local towns. The Gunjur Project is doing incredible work for the local towns and it was an absolute pleasure to get to know the people behind it all. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Lostintranslation23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Ok firstly, my review and scoring are based on my experience but also my knowing in advance that this place is not a luxury lodge so I knew what to expect.

Anyway, onto our 3 night stay. From the very first e-mail from Jenny, I got a really good vibe about this place. And we were not disappointed. Jenny and Brendan are superb hosts - you are made to feel part of the family, they will make every effort to help make your stay enjoyable, help with tours (or offer to get you a taxi if you prefer - no sales pitch from them) etc. They honestly could not have been better. Full marks for customer service both from Jenny and Brendan and their staff.

The pool is small but lovely. It is refreshingly cold (expect a sharp intake of breath!).

Food was very good indeed. We honestly could not fault it. Even though burgers weren't on the official menu (veggie ones were), on two occasions, the chef prepared good cheeseburgers for my boyfriend. If they can accommodate a request, they will. There is a good selection of very tasty dishes - local and international and I very much enjoyed the pancakes at breakfast!.

Brendan organised a couple of tours for us whilst here - the Kartong half-day trip which we really enjoyed and the GEPDG environmental walk (a community project) which was also lovely. Highly recommend both these tours which were great value for money. If anyone wants to explore more and isn't comfortable going out on their own (we wandered down to the beach on our own quite happily) then local staff will accompany you and show you around the area for a nominal fee. They will also arrange trips to local school, village etc as well as other day tours to popular tourist sites e.g. Tanji fishing village, bijilo monkey park etc.

We also loved the ambience here. At night when it was cool, staff lit a campfire and the djembe drums came out and those who wanted could try their hand! Excellent. Although there is no electricity, the solar panels provide light and the trees around the pool are lit with fairy lights which is a very nice touch. I have very happy memories of looking up at the amazing clear Gambian sky whilst listening to the staff playing the drums.

The only area for potential improvement is the rooms. Our room was fine, comfortable and despite no form of air conditioning, we slept very well. Apparently you can get warm water early evening at times but we had none during our stay. It wasn't an issue for us, but just so people are prepared for that. Oh, and you can't use hairdryers in the room but I let my hair dry naturally and used hair straighteners so that worked perfectly for me. Towels were provided but no soap of any sort which I thought should be provided. The bathroom is fine but basic - wetroom style shower, toilet and sink. I thought the African artwork on the wall was a lovely touch.

To sum up, this place is perfect for people who want to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist strip area and want to see more of the real Gambia. This lodge also puts a lot back into the community which is great to see and important for many visitors.

You will go far and wide to find better hosts than Jenny & Brendan or better staff. Definitely recommend this place for a few nights as part of any trip to the Gambia :)

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ponaire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Went twice last year and plan to go again in February
Such an amazing place and staff are amazing all of them are great you get what it says you are in the middle of Africa at the end of the day but the rooms and food are brilliant

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank JackEite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We have just returned home having spent christmas at the Gunjur Project Lodge and have to admit we enjoyed every moment of it and plan to return next year. Of the many lodges we have visited over the years this is amongst the best. Run by a family originating from Chester it has a warm friendly atmosphere - very "home from home" and welcoming. The pool and bar area are simple but clean - the food is excellent with a menu that changes each day - and Mamadu, the chef and keen fisherman, has a secret supply of sausages for those who prefer a more english dish. Traditional christmas lunch was spent at the long table with the family and staff enjoying roast turkey with all the trimmings. In its own walled compound it is just five minutes walk from the fishing village and the sea, although you might have to walk just a little further to get a decent swim or good fishing surf.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank movutomu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2012

I spent 12 nights here in their walled compound, quiet and peaceful, great food, bar and pool relaxing area. Good room with all facilities. All this is fairly normal, but what is unusual is the family atmosphere , with Mum and Dad, daughter and hubby, plus young Charlie, and all the local friendly staff who are as close to being a family as it is possible to be. Butch is an avid drum expert teacher, and leader of two local drum groups. If you are fortunate, you can even get an evening lesson, and/or watch a performance on their own professional stage. Jo does the very important side of the project which sponsors the local schools, and thoroughly and individually monitors pupils work and progress. Jenny efficiently and thoroughly oversees all the day to day work of the accommodation and food, while Bren and his team ensure the facilities are maintained, and further developed in a practical manner. Young Charlie is indeed lucky to be growing up in such a close knit community, with a variety of guests to enjoy his lovely smile. You WILL have a great visit.

Room Tip: All equally enjoyable with front relaxing area.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Trimad3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2012

I recently spent my 60th birthday at the Gunjur Project Lodge with my daughter and I couldn't have chosen a better place to celebrate. We were made so welcome by all the family and staff. The rooms are clean and comfortable, the food is delicious, especially the Gambian dishes and the lovely pool, which is cleaned every morning, is a welcome relief from the heat and a great place to relax, as are the gardens. We really enjoyed our trips out and about in the land rover with Sene - what a brilliant guide he is. Thank you so much to you all for making my birthday week so special and a huge thank you to Charlie and Jenny for my birthday cake - what a fantastic surprise! Till the next time :) xx

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank MamaD1952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Gunjur Project Lodge

Address: Red Rd | nr Gunjur Village, Gunjur WD 2233, Gambia
Location: Gambia > West Coast Division > Gunjur
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Gunjur
Price Range: $53 - $56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Gunjur Project Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Gunjur Project is a lodge with an ethical approach to tourism and works to reduce its carbon footprint. The lodge is set in the heart of the community and is only a short stroll from endless sandy beaches. Accommodation briefly consists of 6 en-suite comfort chalets, restaurant, bar, pool and caters for individuals and groups. The professional staff team help visitors enjoy a real taste of West African hospitality at reasonable prices. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Gunjur Project Lodge Gambia

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