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“A little bit of paradise in the Gambia”
Review of Ngala Lodge

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Ngala Lodge
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 November 2012

Just come back from staying in the Ngala Lodge for two weeks. Although it was rather "hot" for us, there are plenty of shady areas, little gazebos with comfortable settees and cushions, extremely pretty gardens with plenty of sunbeds and parasols available. I would add that the sunbeds are extremely comfortable and the parasols are very good and of a substantial quality unlike those I saw at Coco Beach which appeared more flimsy. Everyone is extremely kind and willing to make your stay a pleasant one. Nothing is too much trouble and they aim to please.
People return on a regular basis so they must be doing something right. The Gambia itself is too third World for me and we only ventured out on one trip. Up until then I was fine but against my better judgement lunch was served on a boat excursion - !! or it could have been the heat.
I just have one little criticism for Jenny and Peter, it would have been helpful to us "old" folk -
and they get quite a few "oldies" to have a handrail down the centre of the steps into the swimming pool. I am quite able-bodied but felt nervous getting in and out in case of slipping on the tiles. The beach is secluded and any "bumsters" are quickly disposed of by the security guard. You are not hassled by the staff either to buy drinks, or for tips and our chappie remembered G & T's at 12.30 with a shared baguette. I would not stay anywhere else but possibly at the Mandina Lodge just for 4 days for the experience. PS, marvellously comfortable beds, I wish I knew whose they were.
Mrs Horgan

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank dominofananas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 3 December 2012

Thank you, Rita, for your kind words. It was a pleasure having you both to stay and we enjoyed celebrating your birthday with you! Come back and see us soon!

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Reviewed 23 November 2012

We spent a week at Ngala lodge in march so decided to go again in november, we got back late wednesday night 21st november.

Flight, we flew with Thomas cook, the plane was a two hour shuttle plane and really not fit for a six hour flight, because we had booked through the Gambia experience we were not allowed to book extra leg room, that pleasure is reserved exclusively for Thomas cook customers but the word is that Monarch will be flying from manchester soon.
Banjul international airport is a nightmare, we waited approx 35 minutes just to see the first suitcase appear on the conveyor then the fight to put all your luggage through the single xray machine which it would appear that no one even watches.

hotel

Jenny the new manager meets most daytime arrivals with a glass of grapefruit ice, your bags are taken to your room and that's it, nothing else to worry about for the duration of the holiday, the room (17) was spotless, huge and perfect, we never used the safe our room maid was Fatu whom we have had before and trust her implicitly, the grounds are kept immaculate by the army of gardeners.

food
there is nothing i can say that has not already been said in every other review, Jonathan and his crew of chefs and waiters do a fantastic job.

staff
this is where Ngala lodge excels, the staff make this hotel the best i've ever stayed in, nothing is to much trouble, absolutely nothing, if you manage to pour your own glass of water or wine the waiters seem offended, the beach boys look after all the guests in the grounds and on the deck down on the beach, i can only comment on our room maid Fatu but if i could take her home i would.
If your really lucky you will be invited to join the tanka tanka club the worst kept secret in the Gambia.

trips out
we don't take official trips, we don't like staged performances, if you want to see Gambia you have to go with Habibe, if you want to go local ask any member of staff for the doctor, he is informative and interesting, he deals with bumsters quickly and quietly making your tour a joy.

surrounding area
Bakau is a must see with a guide, crocodile farm, fish market then the calypso bar all real eye openers.
Senagambia personally i would give this a miss, old overweight white women pawing very young Gambian men and old overweight white men pawing young Gambian women are not my idea of a good day out,

special thanks to Ja, Ansu, Fatu, Malik, Dembo, Abraham and everybody at tanka tanka for making our stay so perfect, barracuda party next november, Tanka Tanka

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank ukmike1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 November 2012

Thank you, Mike, for your wonderful review! It was a pleasure having you both stay and all of the staff look forward to your return!

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Reviewed 22 November 2012

We have been eating at Ngala regularly for the last ten years and have seen the quality go up and down in that time. We visited last week as we had heard that a new GM had been taken on. We were treated to such a lovely evening, Jonathon (chef) came out of the kitchen to greet each guest individually and Jenny (the new General Manager) did the same, both our meals were faultless and in fact we enjoyed our experience so much we returned three days later. The staff seemed very happy with the new management and everything was clean and sparkly. We will be back next month!

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank suehampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2012

Thank you very much for your kind words! We look forward to welcoming you back to Ngala!

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Reviewed 19 November 2012

We have just returned from 10 days stay at Ngala Lodge, and apart from a few niggles, it was a very good holiday. This is our fourth trip to The Gambia but the first time at this hotel. The staff are truly excellent, and the food is outstanding (Thank you Jonathan - wonderful as always). The beach decking area is perfect and is cool given the sea breeze from the Atlantic, although the drinks service there was a bit hit and miss and if I had the power, I would ideally ban the use of mobile phones on the otherwise peaceful decking area! At times it was like being on the 18.40 out of Kings Cross! A few tuts and 'I wish he would shut up' comments did the trick though.

All of the entertainment was good but one band in particular (Monday nights) was truly outstanding.

The only things I would change are.........(1) having a designated smoking area away from the restaurant terrace (one of the outside bar areas was closed) and the only smoking area was on the terrace, I find ingesting smoke when I am eating a meal pretty vile. (2) The inside bar area was quite crowded so perhaps the other bar for Wing guests should have been open. (3) We had a leak in our bathroom which had to be reported several times before someone stuck a towel under it to catch the leaks. (4) Kids in the pool - admittedly this was only on one ocassion, but I booked a kid free holiday for a reason.

We had the Caylani suite in the Atlantic Wing which was very large and comfortable, and apart from the leaky tap and the leak onto our patio area from the Jacuzzi above us, it was fine.

I would recommend this holiday for couple who just want some peace and quiet and to get away from it all for a while with lovely food and great service. Steps to the decking area are quite steep so this wouldn't be suitable for anyone with mobility issues. We prefer The Gambia in October when it is not quite so busy, and although you sometimes have rain, it doesn't affect the holiday at all.

One mroe thing, there is security lookout over the beach at all times. When the locals approach, the security guard is there in an instant bless him.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MelindaCambs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2012

Thank you for your review - we are glad you enjoyed your stay and hope to see you again soon. Thank you for the suggestion regarding smoking areas - we shall look into creating a designated outside smoking area. The wing bar remains closed at the moment pending work to the floor - hopefully not for much longer! As to the reported leak in the bathroom - several of us tried to identify the source and couldn't. So I suggested that a cloth be placed under the sink to avoid mishaps caused by water gathering on the floor. It may well be a design fault of the sink rather than an actual leak. Children in the pool? Peter being the kind hearted, generous soul that he is could not resist the beseeching request of 2 youngsters on the basis that there were no guests using the pool at the time. Busted Peter!! And on Tripadvisor!

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Reviewed 18 November 2012

We visited gala lodge for my husbands 50th birthday,and my were we pleased on arrival we were met at the door and took to our table the gardens and seating area outside is fabulous,the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous there was live African singer on adding to the lovely atmosphere the service and food and wine list are first class. All I can add is we carnt wait to go back next year thanks to everyone, mark and Jane tudor

Room Tip: We cannot comment on the hotel we only ate one evening,but I can only imagine it will be gorgeous
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank winniedog1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2012

Thank you for your comments. Our rooms are indeed unique and gorgeous! Next time you visit I will try and show you available suites. Thanks again!

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Reviewed 18 November 2012

We spent 11 nights here.
Atlantic suites are spacious & well appointed.
Everything (apart from the slow internet - not the hotel's fault...it just works in African time) worked as it should. The lighting, towel rails, hooks & fittings are just where they should be - to hand.
Plenty of space in the restaurant & grounds & lots of sunbeds meant no one encroached on one's personal space. The tropical gardens leading down to the sandy beach & warm sea were well cared for.
Excellent food and service with a smile.
All in all, a real oasis in the chaos that is The Gambia.

The owner, Peter Engels, was on site and spent much time studying how he could improve things and the new manager, Jenny, was attentive and on-the-ball.
There's a nice walk south towards Paradise Beach. Don't be worried about the bumsters - a polite but clear "No thanks but you have a great day" did the trick every time.

Bird watching was excellent. The weather was sunny & warm... if a little humid, although we understand it's not normally so humid in November.

We didn't bother eating out since, compared to the hotel, nowhere appeared very appealing.
Tips: Lamin Lodge is currently closed...as is the African Art Centre. Don't bother taking pound coins to tip - it's too high a tip & they don't want pound coins which they can't change back into Dalasis... they want Dalasis which you can easily exchange at 50 to the £.

If it's peace and quiet you're after you'll get it here since they don't take children.
The evening entertainments were low-key and really very good - one more tip - don't forget to take some loose change down to dinner since I'm sure you'll want to show them your appreciation!

Room Tip: We liked the Atlantic Suite but all the rooms seemed to be good.
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank nigeldrz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2012

Thank you for your review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and look forward to welcoming you back to Ngala Lodge!

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Reviewed 9 November 2012

The Gambia - A safe and friendly country.
The Gambian People - As warm as the weather.
The Gambian Experience - One small hiccup dealt with quickly & superbly.
Ngala Lodge - Welcoming, intimate, a calm oasis.
Agnes Suite - Immaculate, airy, comfortable, cool.
Grounds - Well-established exotic trees and shrubs & quirky artwork combine to delight and amuse.
Restaurant - Fantastic food wonderfully presented- well done Jonathan and Team.
Staff - Made us feel the most important people there. Special thanks.
Tours - Habib is The Man. Will forever remember the Tabaski Ram.
Unofficial Tours - Many thanks to Ebrima for taking me to the Tabaski Ceremony.
Walking - Hot but interesting. A wonderful experience at the fish market and with the people we met on the way .
Tuk Tuks - A joy to capture the breeze on return from Backau to Ngala Lodge (for only £1).
Sea - As warm as the pool but loads of waves to jump. Keep a hold of your costume though! (p.s. anyone found my acid yellow jellie yet?)
Birds - Vultures & Black Kites glide on the thermals as you breakfast.
Other Guests - Thoroughly entertaining time (thanks everyone) but still extremely peaceful!
And not forgetting Rastas, Ngala's cat who even charmed my anti-cat partner!

Room Tip: Don't think you'd make a mistake which ever suite you chose but Agnes was perfect for us!
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Reterpinel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ngala_Lodge, General Manager at Ngala Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2012

Thank you very much for your kind words! We are delighted that you had such a wonderful holiday with us - and look forward to seeing you here, again - soon!

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Additional Information about Ngala Lodge

Address: 64 Atlantic Boulevard | P.O. Box 4091, Fajara, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Fajara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Fajara
Price Range: £129 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngala Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1995, Ngala Lodge - an intimate, child free, boutique hotel of just 18 unique, magnificent suites, set in tropical gardens, overlooking the Atlantic is the perfect place for a romantic break. Recently voted the 4th most romantic hotel in Africa by TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, with arguably the best restaurant in the Gambia, our guests find it hard to leave.Ngala Lodge - where romance isn't just for Valentines Day! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngala Hotel Fajara
Ngala Lodge Gambia/Fajara

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