Where to stay in Gambia
By West African standards, The Gambia has a fairly developed, growing tourist industry. The mainstay are large package-oriented resorts although smaller boutique hotels, are also emerging. The most popular hotels are located in the string of low-key, low-rise beach resorts near Banjul. Standards tend to be modest, but the high-end places have attractive swimming pools, bars, restaurants, shops, sporting facilities, spacious gardens and the option of a room with air conditioning.
Grading: There is no official accommodation grading system. Tour operators classify properties according to their own criteria.
Bed and breakfast
The Gambia has a number of small hotels and guest houses. While some offer only the most basic facilities, the best ones have pleasant pools and gardens. These appeal to those looking for something more intimate and authentic than the larger hotels, which are primarily geared towards package tourists.
The Gambia has no public campsites, but a few of the lodges in the suburban and rural areas allow visitors to pitch a tent in their grounds for reasonable rates. Many have shower and toilet facilities, activities and electricity.
Lodges: Rural camps and lodges are scattered along the coast and up-country. A few of these provide luxury accommodation and meals, and some have made a point of installing alternative energy systems and ecologically sound waste recycling and disposal programmes. Others are more basic. All make good bases for birdwatching, boat trips and cultural tours, exploring the surrounding area with local guides.
Self-catering: Self-catering apartments and bungalows, available in the main resorts and some up-country towns, tend to be geared towards independent travellers and offer a spacious, flexible and low-cost alternative to hotels. Increasing numbers of self-catering accommodations feature AC systems and a swimming pool.