A Travellerspoint blog

Tanji - Bakotu

A change of scenery

View Galavanting in The Gambia 2019 on Grete Howard's travel map.

The driver who picks us up for the transfer is the most miserable Gambian we have met to date, and a poor driver to boot. His driving style is jerky and aggressive and he travels much too close to the vehicle in front. Thankfully the journey to Bakotu only takes half an hour. I recognise the turning to Kairaba Hotel where we stayed last time we came to the Gambia, some 23 years ago, although most places have changed beyond all recognition.

Bakotu Hotel

We turn off the main road and head towards a small strip of beachside hotels. After the last four nights, this is a bit of a culture shock. There are tourists. Lots of them. Shops, bars, restaurants. Hustlers. Bumsters. Advertising hoardings. Oh my!

Our first impressions of the hotel are not good. The driver 'dumps' us outside and when we enter the reception, it is full of cases with a number of departing guests milling around. We fight our way to the front desk and are allocated a room and a porter to take us there.

Straight through the reception is the pool area, with extensive gardens, pathways, plenty of greenery and lots of artefacts and statues.

I almost feel uncomfortable at the sight of all these semi-naked people and certainly very self-conscious of taking photos. The following images were taken the next morning when the hotel was much less busy.








Our Room

Our room is nice and bright, and we are delighted to find two single beds, which will be a real luxury after the last four nights in one of the most narrow double beds I have ever slept in.

I have just kicked my shoes off when the manager comes knocking, terribly apologetic. This is not our room. Our room is next door, the one with A/C. Oh goody. The bad news it is it not ready yet. Oh well.


There are a couple of armchairs and a table inside the room and a small patio outside with furniture too.


Our room on the left

While the staff sort out the room for us, we take a walk outside the hotel grounds and are immediately accosted by the hustlers. A simple “no thank you” suffices though, they are not as persistent and aggressive as I remember from our last visit.

When we return, the room is ready and our luggage is inside. Time for a shower – with hot water – such a luxury!

Making the most of the A/C, we spend the rest of the afternoon in the room, with a very welcome ice cream from the on-site store.


David is happy too – they have cider!


There is a restaurant and a café in the hotel, we opt for the Baobab Café this evening.


Gambian Groundnut Soup

Pulled Meat Croquettes with Hummous sauce

Sahel Curried Butternut with Coconut

Bourgogne Stew

Peach, Mango and Ginger Pie

The curry is nice, the rest is rather bland and mediocre. The other clientele are mainly chavs and Swedes which in some instances is one and the same.

As we leave the restaurant, we hear an almighty cacophony of frogs emanating from the pond. Mating frogs. What a racket!


We return to the room for more drinks before bed.

Posted by Grete Howard 12:04 Archived in Gambia Tagged gambia hustlers the_gambia tanji bakotu bakotu_hotel kotu touristy

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Fabulous !

by Goutam Mitra

While I completely understand your reservations about this hotel, and can see what a culture shock it was after Tanji, it does at least look a lot nicer than the one we overnighted in before and after our Senegal trip!

by ToonSarah

Thanks Goutam.

It wasn't that bad really Sarah, once we got used to the fact that there were *gasp* people around, we actually quite liked it. Where did you stay?

by Grete Howard

We were at the Kombo Beach Hotel - you may remember a few photos from the blog entry you kindly commented on (https://toonsarahvt.travellerspoint.com/192/) - the rooms were in blocks that looked more like flats than the bungalow style you had here, and the grounds weren't so nice from what I can see in your photos. It was fine for an overnight stop however

by ToonSarah

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