The log cabin - 'Kaira Bungo'
from £42 /night help Price for guests, Nights
from £42 /night help Price for guests, Nights
Estimated nightly price based on a weekly stay. Excludes fees (if applicable). Enter your dates to see the total cost.
House / 2 bedrooms / sleeps 4 Home 249828
Availability Your dates are available
House / 2 bedrooms / sleeps 4
In its lush tropical garden of citrus, mango, banana and flowering shrubs, this unusual house provides a perfect getaway in the African bush. It offers closeness to nature, especially the rich bird life, but also the amenities of a friendly Eco-lodge (Footsteps) a 2 minute walk away. These include an excellent bar and restaurant, fresh water plunge-pool, and friendly, welcoming staff to help with activities and trips. (NOTE: THE LODGE IS CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT FROM MAY - OCT 15 BUT SELF-CATERING IS STILL POSSIBLE AT OUR HOUSE AND A COOK COULD ALSO BE ARRANGED. CONTACT US IF YOU'RE INTERESTED).
The house is off the beaten track and a world away from 'package holiday land'. Sandy paths lead to the local village in one direction, the sea and its beautiful deserted beaches in the other. Both are about a mile away - a half hour walk, or 10 minutes on the bikes provided. With its high thatched roof and shuttered windows, the house is relatively cool and airy. A shady verandah runs along the its front and beyond this lies a thatched seating area (bantaba) with sunloungers and hammocks.
All services in the house and lodge are ecological. Gunjur is 1 hour from Banjul airport and approx. 40 minutes from the main tourist areas. Local transport is by walking, cycling, donkey or bush taxi, but driver and car can easily be hired. With the the ocean surf as a distant background, the ambiance is peaceful and relaxing. With its 2 double bedrooms and simple self-catering, the house makes a perfect base for unwinding, and for walking, bird-watching, beach-fishing, and exploring the surrounding area.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Nearest beach||Straight down the lane from Footsteps! 1.5 km|
|Will consider||House swap, Long term lets (over 1 month)|
|Access||Car not necessary|
|Nearest Amenities||1.5 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Banjul International Airport (Yundum) 40 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
Features and Facilities
|Pool||Shared outdoor pool (unheated)|
|Furniture||Double Beds (2), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 5|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Shared outdoor pool (unheated), Balcony or terrace, Private garden, Bicycles available|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
~ Local hand-made furniture.
~ Local hand-printed fabrics.
~ Gravity water supply from own water tower (low but adequate pressure).
~ Electricity 12v DC and 220v AC via inverter. 3-pin plugs for AC and 12v caravan type connectors for DC. Does not support power hungry equipment (hairdryers, etc) but OK for laptops.
~ Simple cooking facilities - 3 x gas hob only.
~ Ecological toilet - no flush.
~All house linen provided, but please bring your own beach towels.
~ An extra bed for a child can be provided for a small charge.
NB. We have ticked the box which says "great for kids", which it is, but obviously small children will need close supervision, and the health risk in a tropical area needs to be taken into account when making a decision. Medical facilities are not brilliant and the nearest hospital is nearly an hour away.
|Further details outdoors|
~ A verandah runs the length of the house - small bistro table and 2 chairs.
~ Well-stocked tropical garden giving good degree of privacy.
~ Thatched circular seating area ('bantaba') a few yards from house.
~ 2 sun-loungers, 2 Mexican hammocks.
~ 2 bicycles provided free of charge.
~ All lodge facilities including fresh-water (reed-filtered) plunge pool available to guests (BUT SEE ABOVE RE MAY - OCT 2015).
~ Lodge staff available to help with planning and organisation.
~ 24 hour security.
~ Internet connection available at Lodge on request for small fee.
~ Please bring your own beach towels.
The West Coast Division region
Gunjur lies in the South Kombo district of the Western Region and the lodge is only 12 km from the Senegalese border across the Hallahein River. A lovely day trip can be made down the river into Senegal by motor boat or dugout - a wonderful chance to see the amazing bird-life along the river banks.
Most of Gambia is flat and this area is no exception. The scenery includes dense areas of forest, savannah type bush, farmland, including rice paddies, and marshy wet areas. The river banks are lined with mangroves and are rich in bird life - a good pair of binoculars is a must.
The climate is subtropical with two seasons: a dry season (Nov - May) with hot days (30C) and relatively cool nights (16-20C) - generally quite pleasant; and a rainy season (June -October) with similar day time temperatures but high humidity and hotter nights (20-25C) - generally less comfortable because of the high humidity.
The main tourist season is beginning of November to end of April. However, not everything is stacked against the rainy season. It doesn't rain all the time - there are dramatic storms, followed by sunny periods; and of course everything is lush and green. The birds put on their brightest colours for breeding and many trees are in flower. Fruit is plentiful, especially mangoes, and of course there are no crowds.
Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country and Muslim dress and culture prevails. There is also a significant Christian population and churches can be seen as well as Mosques. The Muslim culture dictates dress codes. On the beach and in major tourist areas, pretty well anything goes except nudity. In more rural areas like ours, it is better to be more discreetly dressed, for example, if you go into the local village or visit the local school.
The Gambians are a mixture of tribes and ethnic groups and at least 5 different African languages are spoken. Mandinka is the commonest of these but English is the official language and most adults speak it quite well. In Senegal, the common language is French.
Gunjur is typical of a larger Gambian village. It sprawls over quite a large area, with mosque, church, several schools, health clinic and colourful market. There are small shops and workshops, a modest supermarket, street hawkers and and local type restaurants. The streets are dusty, potholed, and muddy in the rainy season; the people are colourful, friendly and often curious. It is well worth taking a tour around the village, perhaps with a guide - go to a local school if you can.
You'll find limited resources, but impressive dedication; large family groups that really look after each other ; and more children with big appealing eyes than you've ever seen in your life. There are huge mango trees; old men with wrinkled faces; women with babies on their backs; cows, donkey-carts and bicycles - but barely a car in sight.
Gunjur fishing village is right on the beach and bustling in a different way - brightly painted pirogues, fisherman selling their catch or mending their nets, and an open air fish-smoking operation that leaves you smelling like a kipper.
Kartong, going south towards Senegal, is more compact than Gunjur and almost pretty in an African kind of way. But don't miss the Reptile Farm just before the village. Run by a Frenchman, it houses a representative collection of Gambian snakes and other reptiles, and is not only educative but thoroughly engaging. It is hands on (but only if you want it to be) and you may find yourself doing the unthinkable before you leave - such as holding a large python in your hands and letting it wrap itself around your neck.
Other trips include Sunday performances of African dance and drumming at the Rainbow Bar in Sanyang; visits to one of the Nature Reserves where monkeys abound; or calling in to the sacred crocodile pool where you may get to stroking a crocodile.
Footsteps itself can arrange many activities - batik-making, African drumming, bird watching, fishing from the beach (including hire of gear). The staff will make suggestions to suit your interests. There is free badmington and table tennis. If you are interested in the natural world, go on the early morning bush-walk with Lamin. He'll not only show you birds and animals but will teach you about the medicinal and practical uses of the trees and shrubs that you see.
There is a beautician on site to help you relax with beauty treatments and massage.
Longer excursions can be arranged. The easiest way of travelling is to hire a car and driver (about £20 a day). The drivers know their way about and generally smooth the way in a culture which is different from our own. Brikama,, 30 minutes by car, is a busy but colourful African town with an interesting market and craft market. It is noisy, dusty, vibrant and not to be missed.
The tourist strip (Senegambia) is worth a visit, if only to see what you have escaped! But it also abounds with craft shops and restaurants and will satisfy such cravings should they arise.
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Calendar updated:30 Jan 2016
Based in United Kingdom