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Travel Blogs from Kotu
Day 10 Mon Spent time on the beach and finished off in the pool bar where I met some Uni students from Lincoln and two Swedish lasses. Met UK in Paradiso, tried the Carbonara was delisheous, then we did some bars, met some more Uni students this time from Birmingham Uni who were doing Animal conservation. One of the girls was from Portsmouth, Ness her name and very fit indeed. Finished off playing pool in the Jazz Cafe. Expecting a bad head in the ...
... per journey as opposed to per head as is the case in Sierra Leone. The general conduct and discipline of taxi drivers is astonishingly high in the Gambia; I noticed all taxi drivers wearing their seatbelts and insist that front seat passengers do the same. Our driver from the Senegambia Highway to Banjul actually took us right to the gates of the Albert Market on our last minute request. If we thought that was a one-off, we were proven wrong when another taxi driver on our return ...
Omg what a headache.! Breakfast was strong coffee, ham and cheese with toast. Pulled up a sun bed at around 10 am,, spent rest of the day getting a tan and drinking the local Julbrew. Out again about 7 to the Bar but home by 9 after a good few beers and 2 servings of a huge fish caught by the Scouser, the fish was a beautiful taste. But I was shattered and headed back where I was asleep in a few ...
... out our bags and we were soon being whisked into the departures area and the queue to pay the departure tax - £2 well spent and I would advise this option to be able to get quickly from the coach to the queues!
Next queue was check-in, then security and an hour or so wait before we took off for Manchester at 01:30, almost 9 hours late.
So, in summary, we had an amazing first visit to ...
... list went on an on.
After the busy morning we had a lovely 3-hour chill out during the heat of the mid-day and relaxed around the pool. The hotel groundsmen made sure we saw the resident monitor lizards - they weren't scared of us that's for sure so we were able to get some good pictures. The tortoise wasn't seen today!
Our bird total for the day was an amazing 88 species:
Osprey, Firefinch, Shikra, Hooded Vulture, Black Kite, Pied Kingfisher, Giant ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Badala Park Kotu
Ya tengo ganas de volver al Badala
El hotel Badala Park es un hotel pequeño y de estilo simple. No es el más lujoso, pero está muy limpio y ordenado. Lo que hace que el hotel sea tan estupendo es en 1 lugar el precio, alojamiento y desayuno por menos de 300 dólares durante 2 semanas, y en 2 lugar, el personal es simplemente fantástico, han amenizado nuestras vacaciones año tras año. Hemos estado yendo durante más de 10 años, espero que sean otros diez. ¡Comida estupenda, servicio estupendo!
Not quite what we expexcted
not quite what we expected is a bit of an understatement. i know this is a third world country and wasnt expecting the ritz but when confronted with cold water everyday to wash and bath with it gets a bit much. also the breakfast (IF THATS WHAT IT WAS) left a lot to be desired, we had stale french bread every day with jam, meat and cheese, occasionally eggs sausages and beans, which i couldnt eat . the staff were really friendly though so that was a bonus. bumsters and hassle were an everyday occurance but just say NO loudly and they soon get the message. overall a nice holiday just a shame about the hotel!!!
Alternative view to badala park
I booked my holiday to the Gambia a couple of days before departing. (A week came up where me and missus could get away didnt fancy Spain etc again) I found this site after booking and having read some of the reviews of Badala park was apprehensive to say the least. Bearing in mind it is a one star hotel I only expected basic facilities and just prayed for it being clean. Our room was just that basic, clean and everything worked (after a fashion). The only problem was the heat and as per previous reviews we upgraded to a room with air-con. This was tempermental to say the least but we found that with a bit of fiddling it made the room more than bearable. Agreed we had to pay extra but for the price we got a room twice as big as the original. Perhaps I was lucky but nothing was hanging off the wall, but in fairness most of it was hanging on for dear life! I had a chat with the guy who cleaned the room and basicaly agreed with him that if he looked after us I would look after him. As a result we got clean sheets and towels every day, the room was spotless. I came back one day and he had even cleaned my shoes, I had to tell him that wasnt part of the deal. Bearing in mind these people make about 1000 dalassi a month (£20 ish) a pound a day tip aint a lot to keep you and them happy ( plus any left over toiletries etc).
In a broader perspective I found the pool and surrounding area to be regularly cleaned and no problem, yes there are one or two tiles missing (little mossaic types) but nothing to detract from its overal purpose. Certainly didnt see any scum on it. The food has received some critisism on previous reviews. We were there on a bed and breakfast basis but didnt make make breakfast so I cant comment. However we did eat on occassions in the hotel and I have to say the food was basic but tasty unlike some of the rubbish I ate else where. There is a chineese and Indian restaurant on the site, we ate in both. The chinese was pretty average however the Indian was one of the best I have eaten in,which suprised me as the cook in the chinese was just that and the cook in the Indian was a Gambian. I found the Gardens of the hotel lovely and am suprised to find a previous reviewer implying it hosted mozzies as I did not find this a problem and we were there at the same time ( mid november). I would concur with others in respect of the electricity supply. If it went off during the day there was a reluctance to switch to the Generator, however on a night time power was restored within minutes. (In case you havent been before the power is off at least a couple of times a day)
Nothing much else to add the "bumsters" were not a problem within the hotel,outside they could be but nothing a firm no and a smile didnt sort out, certainly seen worse elswhere. Trips wise if you are going relatively local e.g. Monkey park or crocodile park the Tourist Taxis are by far the cheapest way to do it but get a good one some of them are very knowlegeable. ( I found a great one but the rules of the site appear to preclude me publishing it)
If you want something more afar you may be better bartering with one of the official guides. Personaly I found the package holiday trips a rip off, but hey each to their own.
If you are staying here and venture down to the beach there is a little bar retaurant called the Kunte Kinte, they do a barby on a sunday for around a fiver (with entertainment) we went and found it great. If you go down arrive about six thirty and watch the sunset from the beach its worth the effort. My missus is veggie and they only charged her half price ( might sound daft but there were loads of veggie choices considering) They even dropped us off at the Hotel afterwards and didnt charge us anything!. Sonias next door to the Badela is also worth a mention they do a good Sunday Lunch and are very friendly.
In conclusion bear in mind this is a third world Country, by far the majority of the locals are genuinely friendly but also out to make a buck or two. ( who isnt?) Many people who read this will gross in an hour or two what they make in a month, your total holiday cost will probably cost a couple of years salary plus to these people. Others have commented on their wide travel experiences and said this place is one of the worst they have visited. Some may have been unlucky. I've been to one or two places myself, this certainly isnt the best nor is it the worst. Expect the worst and I believe you will be pleasently suprised.
Happy Hols, I will certainly be back
Never again at Badala Park
We have just returned from a well earned 1 week break, unfortunately staying at the Badala Park in Kotu (also well known as "mozzy park") Within minutes of us arriving, it was obvious to us both that we had made a horrible mistake, unfortunately it just got worse.The room we were given was like a slum, with no running water, hot or cold, inside the wardrobe was the remains of the previous unfortunates dirty bedding. The only good thing about that room was that we had air conditioning but we had to pay an extra £57 for the luxury for one week. We actually moved rooms 3 times all of which were just as bad as the previous, one of the rooms did not have a proper flushing toilet, and when you are suffering from the "Banjul Belly", like most inmates, that is a must. The pool was in need of repairs with tiles falling off. There was a continuous scum floating on the top of the water. The hotel is surrounded by dense greenery all around you (hence the nickname "mozzy park"). Both my husband and myself became ill the 2nd day into the holiday, my husband was better after 1 day, but I continued to be ill all through the week.Please, please be sure, if you are unfortunate to have to stay here, take malaria tablets, they are a must. The good side to Gambia itself is the locals and the staff, they are extremely accommodating and will bend over backwards to help you,(for a price of course) but if you are used to 3rd world countries, you will be used to this. We have stayed many times in India, and are used to the rougher side of life but I have never experienced anything quite as bad as this. Be aware of what to expect. There are NO home comforts, always check your bed at night before getting in, you never know what you will find in there. You know the saying, "Ants in your pants" that couldn't be truer.
I can honestly say, I have never been so glad to get home
Loved the jungle
we have stayed at badala 5 times and going again in january,
we think it is a friendly and informal hotel. Great location, grounds are well kept and the staff are very helpful, we would recomment this hotel, great value for money.
Bumsters can be a problem out of hotel, as is every where you go.
No problems in the hotel.
Loved it cant wait to re visit
As i stated in past forum reply. Get to know the staff and locals.
Absolutely NEVER again. This place is squalid.
We were very open minded about this holiday, not least because it was reasonably priced and offerred guarunteed sun.
On reaching the hotel, we were quite shocked to see what was going on. The local 'bumsters' (beach beggers) were being permitted to ply their trade within the confines of the hotel. Worse still, was the presence of underage girls soliciting for prostitution, again within the hotel pool/bar areas. Other complaints were poor hygene/cleanliness throughout the hotel complex, poor food quality and a general run down and shabby feel.
Whilst Gambia is an emerging tourism destination and very much third world, there was absolutely no excuse for the things that were going on at the Badala Park, and complaining to both the rep and hotel management proved only partially successful in sorting the issues we had with our room.....infested matress on the bed, light fittings hanging out of the walls, a rag as a shower curtain, a sink that was coming away from the wall, damp stains on the walls and cielings and finally signs of a previous break in. Actually, whilst we were there, two young women had their room burgled (despite the alledged 'security' in the complex) and had all of their belongings stolen. To top it off, we were both very ill after eating here, and remained ill for nearly a week after returning home.
Some may find our review somewhat harsh, but on returning home our tour operator first offered us £50 off our next holiday. We declined this, and after a mammoth battle with them, resulting in the tour operators ombudsman becoming involved through ABTA we won over £500 in damages. This sadly did little to compensate for a ruined holiday in what HAS to be the very worst place we have EVER stayed in!
On the plus side though, if you can get away from the crowded resort beaches and find your way to the lesser known ones (get yourself a good and trustworthy local taxi driver) you will find that there are some beautiful areas in The Gambia. Sadly, we wont be returning.
Photographs will be added in due course to our Travel 'FOTOPIC' site:
No redeeming features
The Badala Park in Gambia is easily the worst hotel I have ever had the misfortune to stay in - I've done a lot of backpacking, so I've stayed in some awful places, but none made me feel as miserable as the Badala Park.
The day we arrived we were shown to our room by a man from the hotel. We had to walk for ages in the dark and ended up in a dingy room with the windows open (no aircon but an aircon-shaped hole in the wall) full of bugs and enormous spiders. We tried to settle in the room, but soon realised there was no way we could sleep there, especially when we saw the toilet was broken. So we trudged all the way back to reception and asked for another room, one with aircon, which we were prepared to pay extra for. Finally we got a room closer to all the amenities, with aircon and a working toilet.
The next day we went for breakfast and all I can say is, it's a good job we have a sense of humour. There was some soggy, slightly stale bread and "orange juice" made with fluorescent orange cordial. We asked for eggs which arrived after asking for the third time and they were so overcooked they were green. We attempted one lunch and an evening meal at the Badala Park, which were of the same standard as breakfast and made us very ill, so we ate elsewhere the rest of the time.
We went on a few excursions from the hotel, but they were arranged by an external company and also included guests from other hotels. We made friends with a couple on one of these (very good) excursions and they had a drink with us at the Badala Park one night. They were horrified that we actually had to stay there! In turn, we visited them at the beautiful Senegambia Hotel, which made us very envious! Of course, there is a difference in price, but even for the small amount we were paying for the Badala Park, you expect more than what we got.
The power would shut down for hours at a time (making the aircon fairly useless) and we would occasionally see someone bring a vat of diesel to the generator, giving us power for an hour or so before we were in the dark again. All the other guests we spoke to at the hotel got ill from the food there. We ended up taking a salmonella infection home as a souvenir after we had a last bite to eat in the hotel just before we left as we didn't have the time to go elsewhere.
It's quite a walk from the hotel to the beach, so claims of a beach front hotel (which it said in the brochure) are untrue. This hotel really has no redeeming features - it was dirty, disorganised, unhygienic and run down. The only good thing that happened to us at the Badala Park is that they forgot to charge us extra for the aircon when we left.
Don't get me wrong, we loved the Gambia, which truly is an amzing country. The excursions were fantastic and once you get out of the touristic areas, it's a country of warm, friendly people, amazing nature and so much to see & do. Just don't stay at the Badala Park and you'll be sure to have a great time.
Loved Gambia, disliked the Badala Park
we have returned from the Baladla Park after a week on an educational trip (a group of girls). Gambia in general was great, especially Senegambia. very dissapointed with the Badala Park, we knew it would be basic as we was on a budget but it was dirty and most facilities never worked. Reception often turned off the electricity off from 0900 till 1900 everyday untill we complianed and then it suddently started working. we would advise if you did travel to this hotel please lock your personal belongings away as many items out of our rooms were used and taken. the Gambians are very nice people but can be overly friendly, if you know what i mean!! Would return to Gambia but not the Badala Park.
Can't Wait to go back to Badala
Badala Park Hotel, is a small and simple style hotel. Not the most flashy, but very clean and neat. What makes the hotel so grat is, No1 its price, for under £300 for two weeks bed and breakfast, and 2, the staff are just brilliant, Fanta Johnson the cleaning manager, Alex the bar waiter, Bubba the beach manager, fantastic, have made our holiday year after year. Been going back for over 10 years, hope to make it another ten. Food great, service, great!