Hello “Style Revolutionists”, welcome to my first post on Ono’s Diary for the year! Yipeeee….Also, to let you know that I now have my personal Instagram page @onodiary where I will be posting daily about my Style, Life and Travel.
This post is long overdue….So I was seeking for some inspiration and rejuvenation and decided to take a one week holiday after all the Christmas and New Year celebrations which is one of the busiest times in my line of work. I carefully researched for places to visit as I made up my mind to travel around Africa more and I wanted somewhere warm with nice beaches and visa free. After much research I settled for Banjul in the Smiling Coast of The Gambia, which is also in West Africa as Nigeria and is widely know for its crystal clear legendary beaches and some of the warmest people, it is a real tropical gem. My trip started on the 11th and ended on the 18th of February.
Let’s dig in proper into my holiday with tips on How to Get There, Where to Stay, What to Wear, Where to Eat, Indulge and Explore.
How to Get There: The flight time from Lagos to Banjul, The Gambia, is about 5hours, 30minutes and the only airline that flies from Nigeria is Fly Mid Africa. An economy ticket n the airline costs around N250, 000. My experience with this airline was all that pleasant mostly because the ground staff at the Lagos Murtala Mohammed Airport have an attitude and are extremely rude – oh well, that’s a story for another day. The 5 hours 30minutes flight itself ran smoothly and was okay, the cabin crew staff were polite too. I made sure to get an exist sit which gave me more leg room and was asleep most part of the flight time.
Where to Stay: There are loads of hotels to stay at overlooking the beach in Banjul, my first choice was the Coco Ocean Resort and Spa, its an amazing 5 star hotel but for the during of my stay, it was fully booked so I couldn’t get a room. The trip about getting nice hotels is to book at least two months before your date of travel as they go pretty fast, as a lot of tourist from Europe, the United Kingdom and America frequent Banjul. It’s also best and cheaper to book through travel websites like hotel.com which is where I booked the Kombo Beach Hotel, a 3 star hotel I later settled for located at the nice Kotu Beach Strand, Kotu is one of the best beaches in Banjul. The Kombo for me was more like a nice nice bed and breakfast, I don’t think its meets the standard of a 3 star hotel, however the rooms are clean, staff friendly and I made sure to get a room with a nice balcony really close to the beach front.
What to Wear: Gambia is a Muslim country, however, it is a tourist destination, so the people are not strict on dressing. You want to pack comfortable clothes, it gets really hot during the day so best to go for light clothing- Shorts, light dresses, lots of colours and prints is advisable, also, do not forget your swim wear, there will be a lot of lazy days by the beach or pool, and of course, you must have sun-screen. However, it tends to get really windy and cold at night so it’s advisable to have a cardigan or jumper just in case you get cold.
Where to Eat: The major area for tourist is the Senegambia strip and it has loads of restaurants. However, I truly enjoyed everything about these ones;
Gaya Art Cafe: I went here twice before I left Banjul because the food was too good. Gaya Art Cafe is located in the Serrekunda area of Banjul close to the Senegambia Strip where you find a lot of the restaurants. Gaya is just a little homely restaurant, however food here was the best I had during my stay.
Ngala Lodge: This hotel is in the Bakau area of Banjul on a cliff overlooking the Fajara beach. It’s a pity I couldn’t capture the stunning romantic view from the restaurant because it was dark, it’s really lovely. The food however just got a pass mark for me.
Captain’s Table: This is located in the Kotu area, and was just opposite my hotel. Try the seafood, it was nice, however, be ready to wade off mosquitos or rub some repellent
Coco Ocean Beach Hotel: This is the most luxurious hotel in Banjul, its located in the Serrekunda area. I had lunch at the beach restaurant and the food was good.
Indulge: You must unwind and relax here, spend your days on the beach and by the pool-side. Also indulge in an array of spa treatments. Most hotels have a spa, however, the best spa in the city is at Coco Ocean Beach Hotel. I had the Moroccan Hammam and some deep tissue massages and they were heavenly. Make sure you book way ahead of time because they are pretty much booked all the time.
Explore: There are so many places to explore here. I visited the Craft market in Senegambia and Kotu. Also, the Kachikally Sacred Crocodile Pool, Monkey Park, Fishing Village at Tanji are places you have to visit. I also travelled about a few hours out of town to Fort James “Kunta Kinteh” Island to soak in some Slave Trade history.
See some photos from my holiday below!
Some beach reading
Couscous with stir fried fish for lunch
Jul Brew is the popular beer
Outfit by Nigerian designer Amede paired with caged bra from Brief Essentials and handbag by Ghanaian designer Pearl X
A quick morning run on the beach
Ready to explore the city wearing Nigerian brands Maison de Helen Shirt and print shorts by Tiskies
Art shopping at the Senegambia Craft Market
Print dress by Amede
Relaxing on Kotu beach
A horse carriage ride on Kotu beach is quite nice
The Monkey Park
The Crocodile Pool
The Crocodile Pool guide
Ankara print wrap top by SGTC Clothing
Dress shirt by Maison De Helen
Print skirt by Tiskies
The Fishing Village
Fort James “Kunta Kinteh” Island
The people in Banjul are very friendly and lovely people, and it is a safe place to travel alone, however, as a woman you will get advances from the local men, which I found annoying. A lot of older women from America and Europe visit to find “love”, some of them end up marrying the men and take them back to their countries, so I guess it’s a thing there. Without doubt, I will definitely be visiting again!
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