We first stayed in the Bakotu in November 2013 for 10 nights on our return we booked to stay again on 26th March 2014 for 11 nights.
The hotel rooms are basic but spotlessly cleaned everyday (make sure to hand your key in to get cleaned) the beds are very comfortable, plenty of storage for clothes. The bathrooms are small but everything you need the shower is fantastic constant hot water available (if you don't get hot water let them know at reception the heater may not be on). Our room was N2 which was brilliant location right next to the tortoises, also near the pool which could be seen from the room but not over looking (if you want a quiet morning maybe N2 not ideal as other guest bring fruit for the tortoises early in the morning).The rooms have a balcony or a terrace with table and chairs.This room didn't have Air con in November we hired a fan which was more than sufficient but in march it was cooler nights which meant we didn't have to, you can upgrade to Air con at extra cost either on arrival or by emailing the hotel before travel. The Gambia does suffer from power cuts but the hotels have back up generator's and only take a few minutes to start up REMEMBER you are in Africa not Europe.
The hotel is in a fantastic location with restaurant's nearby which include 3 onsite: Baobab, Captains Table and Boss Lady. Across the road there is a Tandoori restaurant and Ali Baba's which serves everything from traditional chicken yassa to English fish and chips. If you are looking for something more relaxed or a take out meal you can go to Dominos which is on the beach front. All the restaurants a very reasonably priced we would spend around £10 for 2 starters, 2 mains and drinks (around the area you will find smaller family run restaurants or street sellers doing food which will cost a lot less).
At the hotel there is a mini market (there is a second mini market across the road) selling most things you would get from home so don't worry if you forget anything, as part of the hotel there are two bars Skippers and Tiger-Tiger which have seats outside which is perfect for people watching or having a lazy afternoon with a cool beer (local beer is Julbrew). Bakotu has a massage studio which also does nails,hair and waxing we've had 3 treatments over our 2 visits which were fantastic. Tip: don't have anything planned for the day other the relaxing as the massage makes you very relaxed. Go see Ade and the girls who do a fantastic job there.
The hotel doesn't have Wi-Fi but the Kombo across the road does which also shows the football, you can also get Wi-Fi at the BB hotel next door, which can be picked up at the Bakotu in certain areas. We purchased a sim card whilst there which we used in an unlocked phone, this is a good/cheaper option if you want to use facebook,whatsapp etc,and is easy to top up with the scratch cards from the mini market.
The hotel grounds are lovely well kept with lots of flowers and shrubs, the pool area is quiet and relaxing with no music so if you like to relax with music take your IPod/MP3 player. Towards the back of the hotel there is a bird watching platform which looks over looks the Kotu stream you can also come out the grounds and walk round the stream. Around the grounds you will see monkeys this could also be on your balcony/terrace. There are few more cats around the hotel now compared to when we went in November this is not an issue they are well kept and not vicious, more often you will see them in the shade sleeping. We didn't feed the cats (although very tempting) as this meant they weren't around the room constantly.
All the staff were very friendly and helpful if you needed anything they were very quick to help. Bi (sorry if not spelt correctly) who works on reception in the afternoon was excellent, we had a problem with our shower head and our fridge (payable locally) was freezing all our food, the knob to turn it down had fallen off, he had these sorted straight away by King Solomon who again was a lovely member of staff always friendly said hello when ever he saw you. The night guard Lamin was also very helpful and friendly.
After reading many reviews about the breakfast we wasn't sure what to expect. The hotel offers three breakfasts Baobab breakfast which is continental almost consist of 2 bread rolls each egg of the day which could be boiled, scrambled, omelette or fried, Jam/marmalade, cheese and fruit with juice tea or coffee. There is also full English or American Breakfast. We had the Baobab every morning and have no complaints there was plenty of it and set you up for the day! The staff at breakfast were excellent and very friendly. Whilst in the Gambia wherever we ate we never had a bad meal and found all restaurants sold a good variety of food to suit everyone.
Kotu its self is a small resort very relaxing but close enough to Senegambia 10 mins by taxi which has a large selection of bar and restaurants for a late night out.
We did several tours whilst in the Gambia which range from lazy day fishing to busy markets of Banjul and Serrekunda. Don't ever think there wont be much to do in the Gambia you can go on an adventure everyday! We did our tours with a local Baka who we found excellent very reliable and trustworthy he also picked us up from the airport on our return. We would have no issue recommending him. Please remember most the Gambians will say they are tour guides but be careful if you are unsure, use one of the bigger companies. All Gambians will want to be your friend they will want to know your name where your from how the family is but don't be alarmed by this. If you don't want what they are selling be firm but be friendly and never admit to it been your first time there, tell them you are a frequent visitor.
We loved the Gambia and The Bakotu Hotel we will never stay at another hotel when visiting, we felt very safe secure and happy at all times in the hotel and outside.
We will defiantly be returning hopefully November this year and see the Gambia and Bakotu as a destination we would always like to visit for many years to come.
Take pound coins for arrival at the airport for tips.
Take any unwanted clothes school books, pens the Gambians are very grateful of this.
If travelling later in the season e.g March take a jumper, Jacket, trousers as cooler in the evening
Becky and Ali
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Renowned and well established, Bakotu is a small, friendly hotel ideally located in Kotu between the beach and the golf course. Facilities include a small swimming pool, sun and shade terraces, reception, laundry, shop, restaurants and bars. Individually decorated rooms, with comfy beds and either terrace or balcony are grouped around mature gardens. The monkeys, squirrels and birds are great attractions. Ideal for those looking for something a little different with good value for money. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Bakotu Hotel Kotu
- Bakotu Hotel Gambia/Kotu