Mandina is a property for those seeking peace and tranquillity, with excellent wildlife-spotting opportunities. Here are our expert's top 5 reasons to book a stay.
Mandina Lodges is a hidden gem is tucked away in the African bush yet within easy reach of the coast. As your transfer picks its way down narrow dirt tracks, you gradually enter the forest, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, you arrive! Upon entering this haven, you will be greeted with a stunning view of the hotel’s uniquely shaped pool with the beautiful River Gambia creek in the background.
Being tucked away in the African countryside has one major perk: birdlife. You will be able to hear the birdcalls whilst you are relaxing by the pool or enjoying a drink at the bar. However, to get to see these birds up close, a trip on a pirogue dug-out paddle canoe is well worth it. You will be accompanied by a guide, whose extensive knowledge of the native birdlife will create a fantastic experience. As you glide along the river you will be able to spot various birds, witness amazing scenery and most likely meet locals going about their day on the river too. As you return to Mandina the temperature will be starting to increase, so a dip in the pool and a refreshing drink will be most welcome to start your afternoon of relaxation.
2. The Sunset Cruise excursion
This excursion is extremely popular with guests at Mandina, all information is available in your rooms upon check-in and payable locally. This is a 2.5-3 hour trip, accompanied by your guide and Mandina Lodge's boatman. During the cruise, you will sail to Bird Island, with the opportunity to spot many species with the aid of your guide. The excursion is a relaxing way to end your day in the tranquillity of the river setting.
The rooms at Mandina are unique, each built with a vision: for guests to enjoy the landscape up close and experience the feeling of being immersed in nature. The floating lodges are sat on a platform right on the water with a private al-fresco bathroom and shower. The canopied area outside the lodge is a wonderful place to relax. Then you have the stilted lodge, a spacious room with an open-air but private bathroom, the great thing about this lodge is the open-air lounge area, where the cooling breeze provides the most magical place to relax. On the second storey, there is a day bed, which is the ideal place to watch the world go by. If you would rather be away from the river and set within the lush tropical grounds, then a jungle lodge is perfect for you. These distinctive-looking buildings are decorated beautifully with vibrant stain-glassed windows and open-air private showers. A garden lodge with vaulted ceiling and the mangrove lodge, ideally poised for wildlife spotting on the mudflats, complete the impressive selection of lodges where you can relax after a day exploring or relaxing in the African sunshine.
4. A fantastic, unique experience
Mandina is an exceptional property, exclusive to The Gambia Experience’s collection and is unlike any other on offer! It oozes Gambian culture, with traditional buildings, colours, and a chance to immerse yourself in the fantastic wildlife. Each guest is also assigned a guide, a great perk of staying here. Your guide will help you to make the most of the nature around you during guided forest walks and trips on the pirogue dug-out paddle canoes. Food is fresh and served by friendly locals offering their own charm to your experience. Due to the hotel's remote location, packages are sold on a Half Board basis.
Mandina is home to the Makasutu Cultural Forest, translated to "sacred forest". Created by James English and Lawrence Williams who founded Mandina, it was an ecology project and a place for tourists to visit and learn about the local Gambian culture and people. As a 1000-acre tropical reserve, it is a magnificent place to explore as a tourist and encompasses five different ecosystems: forest, savannah, mangroves, palm forest and wetland. A wildlife lover's paradise, home to plenty of bird species, monitor lizards, baboons, monkeys and even crocodiles or mongooses. As a guest at Mandina, all this is right on your doorstep!