Read all about Andy & Lorraine's holiday to The Gambia in February 2016, which turned out to be rather romantic.
During a rather warm afternoon at Mandina Lodges nestled in the Makasutu Forest, my colleagues and I got chatting to Andy and Lorraine, a couple who were holidaying in one of Mandina’s unique floating lodges. It was their third trip to The Gambia and would perhaps become their most memorable, as the evening before they’d become engaged. After getting to know them a little better over a cooling glass of Sprite, they kindly agreed to share their very own Gambia experience with us…
“This is the third time we have visited The Gambia - first in 2003, 2011 and now 2016. Once again we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and although we’ve noticed that there have been lots of changes over the years, it’s still the lovely, friendly country it has always been. On this occasion, we booked an 11-night stay, spending the first 7 nights in the Senegambia Hotel. We stayed in a superior room which is perfectly comfortable and had all the amenities we needed for the first part of our holiday. We chose to use this hotel as our base as we like to, where possible, get involved with the locals, by taking long walks down the beach and enjoying a bit of hassling and conversation from the local fruit ladies. This, followed by a glass of fruit juice from one of the many juice bars along the beach, is a lovely way to spend part of an afternoon.
During the evenings, we visited many of the local restaurants just outside the hotel, where all meals we experienced were of a good standard, most costing roughly 1500 Dalasi (around £26 for two, including drinks).
On one of our evenings at around 5pm, we also popped into a local bar where we experienced some traditional African drumming and enjoyed a JulBrew (local beer) or two. We then moved on to Mandina Lodges, for a completely peaceful and tranquil finale to our holiday.
We stayed in a floating lodge along the river, and each morning we were brought tea or coffee at a time of our choice. If you like you can then go for a long forest walk with a guide, or float down the river on one of the Pirogue boats. We would highly recommend the Sunset Cruise or a trip in a canoe to the local village, where you can visit the health centre and school. Here, the children welcome and sing to all the visitors in return for a few pens and pencils, or in our case a couple of footballs we’d brought along.
Above: the school in the local village
Above: the floating lodge
The food at Mandina is five star - from the three course breakfasts to three course evening meals, served at large metal tables with throne style chairs under thatched canopies. My long-time partner also proposed to me at dinner on our first evening, so it will always be a special place to us. We will definitely be back to The Gambia soon, and who knows, it may be for our honeymoon…”
Above: sat around the firepit
To book your very own Gambia experience, visit Gambia.co.uk.
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