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“Bird-watching paradise”
Review of Bakotu Hotel

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Bakotu Hotel
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Certificate of Excellence
Holmfirth, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Bird-watching paradise”
Reviewed 7 February 2011

The hotel and staff are as good as most of these reviews say, and the whole concept of the hotel as small clusters of buildings surrounded by tropical vegetation works very well. Yes, we saw the monkeys too - and a mongoose which actually came down to take some bread we'd put on our garden wall. A couple of monitor lizards visit regularly, and the staff are keen to make sure you see them. In reception, in fact, they keep a list of wildlife onsite. For naturalists generally, it's a good place to be.
Our room was basic but comfortable. We did not have, nor did we need a fan: the windows were louvred, with a flyscreen outside, and the sea breezes were enough to keep the nights cool enough for sleep. You'd need a fan if nights were warm.
Our room was at the edge of the complex, and several species of bird came to the trees around us. There was a "nature walk" constructed by the hotel which led to apartments with a roof-top observation deck. This overlooked the mangroves and the mudflats when the tide was out in the creek. From here you could see a variety of waders as well as the ubiquitous kites and vulures. A short walk from this path takes you to the golf course, where again there is a host of birds.
Even better, the hotel is a three minute walk from Kotu Stream where the official bird guides are based, and where you can watch pied kingfishers hover before diving into the creek. A short walk into the adjacent paddy fields is all that's needed to see - in our experience - 48 different species including a hamerkop, broad-billed and blue-bellied rollers, yellow-crowned gonolek, Senegal parrot, little bee-eater . . . .
This being our first visit, we used the services of a guide, Modou Saidy, who has been trained and accepted as a member of the Gambian Bird Guide Association. His knowledge and skills were priceless (without him we wouldn't have seen the two sleeping long-tailed nightjars and the Verraux's eagle owl in Brufut Wood). He was totally reliable and made all the arrangements for travel to various locations (not usually in the guidebooks, and often to locations where the small entrance fee went to the local village).
We took some reading books and pencils without any clear knowledge of how we'd choose a school to give them to. Modou sorted that too, by taking his to his old school, a building with 1400 children, no electricity and two standpipes. We know know that exercise books, erasers and pencil sharpeners would have been welcome.

Using guides like Modou is certainly one way of getting to see and at least partially understand Gambia away from the tourist areas, but it's a saddening and humbling experience at times, though one lifted enormously by the generosity and friendliness of the people. They are amazing.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Alan_and_Marie3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
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English first
UK
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 January 2011

We went to the Bakotu in January 2010 and went back in December for two weeks to see the New Year in. This year it was even better. The bumsters from outside the hotel have diminished in number so it is much less intimidating. The hotel has new furniture but the same amazing friendly staff. New Year was incredible and great fun, really good food too and at the end a local marching band came in and as no one can really afford fireworks the pool was filled with balloons which the children from the troupe popped so that they sounded like fireworks anyway! Can recommend this hotel to anyone who likes quiet, friendly, places in a very relaxing atmosphere. Kotu beach is just as unspoiled and breath takingly beautiful. Honestly why travel hours and hours to the far east when just over six hours away a safe unspoiled paradise exists!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank 99redballoons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kotu, Gambia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2011

We did not expect Bakotu to be such a relaxing and peaceful place, but we really appreciated the silence and green area. All the sounds from birds and monkeys made our stay very pleasant. We woke up every morning when the monkeys landed on our roof, we kept calling them 7eleven since they came same time every morning.

Outside Sunset Beach Hotel in Kotu you need to go and find Ousman the Ferryman down on the beach. He runs the fastest ferry cross Kotu stream at high tide and arranges interesting trips around Gambia and to Senegal as well.
Hi has a great knowledge in Gambian history, we learned a lot during our trips.
There is no rush and he let you take your time, he was very patient also with our not always so co-operative children.
The Ferryman really lighted up our holiday, we felt in very good hands and our vacation would not have been the same without Ousman, his dedication for the country and great experience of the same gave us the extra gold shade that is not to be taken for granted no matter where you travel.
One of the high lights of our trips was the one to Tanji, to see when the fishing boats comes in was a colorful experience of one kind.

We had an excellent holiday, the weather was good and the beaches long. After the first days of some hustles we only enjoyed the open and friendly Gambian people, we made some friends that we will keep in our hearts for life.
Even though traveled around during many years this was the first country to leave with tears in my eyes, the only solution for me is to start planning for our next trip to Gambia-and I really hope that it will be really soon.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank wallgren_sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
lincoln
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2010

My partner and myself have just returned from a fab week at this hotel. We wanted a break before christmas, just a nice value for money hotel and i must say we thought it was ideal.
Very pretty grounds, nice clean pool, friendly staff. The room we had was basic but for the price we paid we can,t complain.The bed was very comfy which is important, no noise after about 11pm so a good nights sleep is what you will get ( as long as you rent a fan which costs 500 dalasi but worth every penny). We had breakfast included which was also very basic - bread rolls,cheese, jams tea coffee fruit juice, for a bit extra there,s a wide range of breakfast choices.
We really enjoyed our stay here.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank amandalincoln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
42 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 April 2010

Bakotu Hotel is a lovely smallish hotel.
Hotel safe boxes £40 refundable cash deposit and 500 or 600 dl a wk.
Easter week was quite busy at the hotel but the 2nd week many had gone home and for us this was much better with not so many people around.
Very hot especially during 12 - 3pm where there wasn't too much shade around the pool. There was other shady spots to sit in around the hotels gardens though.

The staff were wonderful and so helpful especially once it had become clear we were delayed due to the volcanic ash (5 days delay in all).
We were on Bed & Breakfast basis up until our delay which as previously mentioned on other reports consisted of two fresh rolls with butter, cheese and jams, very sweet orange juice, tea or coffee. (Tinned carnation milk or similar used). Once delayed, we were on full board c/o Thomas Cook.
The bed was the most comfy nights sleep ever.
Shower a bit iffy but we got the hang of it as time went on.
I'm so pleased we decided to opt to stay at Bakotu and not the very very busy Kombo across the road which was a more expensive.
I would say this hotel is more for couples than families really with nothing much to do other than the swim pool for the children who were on holiday there, although I have to say the children that were guests were as good as gold here.
The hotel is located a short stroll away from the beach but you get used to being hassled en route for the beach hence just the 3 blobs for 'location'.

Ask for Kabirou Barrow taxi driver working at Bungalow Hotel taxi rank who is a fantastic guide, so knowledgeable of local tourist sites with a lovely sense of humour too. We, along with two other English couples had the fantastic experience of eating at his compound which really was the very best meal all holiday. (He is a trained chef).

I'd definitely recommend this hotel for a first taste visit to The Gambia.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank news12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Solihull
Level 4 Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2010

Enjoyed our stay at this lovely 'African' hotel. The monkeys in the garden, frogs chorus at night and the birds singing in the mornings added to the experience. We enjoyed the fresh rolls and cheese each morning and didn't need to add to the breakfast. Our service was fast and always with a smile.
We ventured to a different restaurant each evening and thoroughly enjoyed the local culture and food. We were not hassled by 'Bumsters' and the fruit sellers on the beach were friendly.
We used the local travel guides form the office opposite the hotel who were helpful and took us just where we wanted to go at a very reasonable price, Shariffo was our guide and was very friendly and considerate.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank jcedwardsSolihull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Banbury Oxfordshire
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2010

Just returned from a 2 week stay at The Bakotu hotel in Kotu, it was a bit like staying in an african village in the jungle. The rooms are so arranged that it feels that you are staying in very intimate and tropical commune. The human guests share the hotel complex with the resident 16yr old watchdog "Pino" totally deaf but still very alert, a family or two of cats, a rare Genet cat, large lizards, bull frogs, tortoises, terrapins and a family of monkeys along with babies.
The rooms are basic but quite spacious and kept very clean by the staff, the odd powercut and strange workings of the shower did not deter from the overall experience, although the nighty chorus of the bull frogs took some getting used to!
The pool area is well maintained and the pool bar/restaurant provides a reasonable menu. Be warned though that breakfast can be a hit & miss affair with staff darting about but often forgetting key things such as milk, cups and breakfast... The included choice never varies, tea, coffee, fruit juice, bread rolls and cheese slices every day although you can order a la carte if you want something else.
The hotel has a small supermarket but the one just across the road is cheaper with more choice. There is also a money exchange next door which we used and contrary to what we had been told did not charge commission or try to "rip you off". They will exchange most currencies at a good rate, we brought dalassi from home as advised but would have done far better to have waited until we got to the resort.
The beach is a very short walk, with a choice of little bars and restaurants. We particularly liked The Paradise beach bar, great service and food, very reasonable too and you can order from your sunbed if you're feeling very lazy. Dominos on the beach does good food as do Ali Babas & Vee Jays just across the road fro the hotel.
A few last comments, the sea is great but quite rough and not suitable for lenghty swimming but great for paddling and generally splashing about, it also washes up a random assortment of rather large jellyfish as the tide changes which the locals say are not dangerous but we gave a very wide berth...Be prepared to have to speak to everyone you meet and to be offered a taxis,guides,trip organisers etc etc, after a few days you get the hang of being polite and saying no, oh and don't forget the mosquito spray at night - jungle formula extra strength ment no bites for either of us.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Beaue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bakotu Hotel

Property: Bakotu Hotel
Address: Kotu, Gambia
Region: Gambia > Banjul Division > Kotu
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Kotu
Hotel Class:3 star — Bakotu Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 80
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 
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Also Known As:
Bakotu Hotel Kotu
Bakotu Hotel Gambia/Kotu

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