Hotel Keur Saloum
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Travel Blogs from Toubakouta
We were supposed to go to Dakar first but due to election we aborted and spent longer in Gambia - this meant for a far more pleasant holiday.
Little bit difficult to review this hotel as it seems to suffer from a conflict of identity. It is in a truly 5 star setting, with wonderful views and gardens, Pool & restuarant setting all very …
... both of us packing away these items, directed by Maxwell House, yet it is just as easy for one person to perform this task without any direction at all. However, you do need at least two very strong people and full direction from Maxwell House in order to install the tent upon its roof. We love our roof tent and awning very much.
Our Eezi Awn roof tent is second hand and used to belong to a ...
... the mangrove put in an appearance, (yes the mangrove and not the doggrove or indeed the womangrove), with a green bushy head of hair balanced upon many bandy thin grey legs. Toubakouta was the name of the human habitation which fed upon the strange fruit of this mangrove.
Outside a certain shop of Toubakouta, which sold many wooden objects, (but no sticks), we met a female and male human couple, the In Loves. The In ...
We had a nice afternoon walk – we did see some birds, but mostly towards the end of our walk.
Birds seen today: Western Reef Heron, Hooded Vulture, Green Wood Hoopoe, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Shrike, Common Bulbul.
We had a great walk before breakfast today, and saw loads of birds so we were happy! A quiet afternoon by the pool, reading and watching the bee-eaters.
Birds seen ...
... were immediately obvious. The boat missed the concrete slipway three times and then landed at such an angle that the impatient lorries and trucks had to inch in diagonally and minutely aboard.
It was one of the best African travel farces. Imagine a bunch of drunk teenage boys who didn't know each other finding a ferry and deciding to attempt to run it for a day. Now imagine their first go at it. Give them pirate hats to complete the effect. A few ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Little bit difficult to review this hotel as it seems to suffer from a conflict of identity. It is in a truly 5 star setting, with wonderful views and gardens, Pool & restuarant setting all very good. The rooms are 2-3 star as expected, the room is nice, and bathroom big, but a bit tired looking. Breakfast is disappointing and I have had much better in hostels and then dinner is like a family guesthouse or pension. And all this at a 4 star price...
Towel card used to get towels which is a bit out of sorts with the guesthouse aspects of this hotel.
Past guests have complained about lack of English speaking. Bare in mind this is Senegal! That said, the receptionist spoke English, as did the general manager, who is a Swiss guy who greeted us personally and also gave personal farewell. The service was very good in this respect. One of the two shopkeepers could speak English. The rest of the staff are being taught English, and most can speak a bit, but a little French may be useful. All good fun though.
We went half board, which I would recommend. . No need for a guide in the village, everyone friendly enough, and 'prettier' than the coastal Gambian villages/towns.As for food in the hotel... breakfast was breads and fruits, which was fine, but seemed out of place with what the place is trying to be, and desperately lacking compared to the much cheaper hotels in Gambia. We noticed Belgian/French tourists brought their own yoghurt! To match a decent hostel breakfast they need to provide a boiled egg and some cereal; to become cheap European hotel standard they need to add cold meats/cheese on top of this. The more I think about that breakfast, the more rubbish i think it was!! There was no local foodstuffs except a soft drink. Gambian hotel breakfasts are brilliant!
Dinner was a bit weird. It was like a guesthouse, where you get what you are given! The day's food is shown on a board (you couldn't call it a menu, as there is no choice!) so you know what the food is in advance, but it is in French.. we used a translater which came up with steak, which we thought would be ok, however it was fish steak, which was not so good as I don't eat fish (and did inform the manager of this at check-in). On a positive note, they were happy to change it, and cooked up a decent steak pretty quickly. Would be good to get a choice in advance though, even if it was just one or two options. I've just remembered that on the first night, they tried to fob me off with an omlette instead of the fish for dinner; I was pretty shocked by that - would have been the most expensive omlette of my life!!!
This place could be truly great if they sorted out the dining issues, as it stands it is still recommended and a good place for a couple of nights whilst in this part of Senegal.
Banjul to Toubacouta took about 3 hours including ferry and border crossing. We paid 10,000 CFA (about £12) for taxi each way to and from Toubacouta to border. Then paid 200-225 dalasi (about £4.25) to get to Barra by taxi, ferry was 10D (20p) each, and then taxi to Atlantic coast in Gambia about 20 mins and 250D (£5). So total cost less than £11 each - brilliant!
Toileteries were not provided except soap from dispensors, this does not bother us. Mosquitos are about at dusk and can be annoying. Pool a bit cold, but once again, that view is lovely!
Tips - Wander round the village, and talk to the locals. Keur Boum for lunch.Outside the hotel, many of the local tourist shop owners can speak good English, and this is where we spent a lot of time. We had tea with the locals and he translated so we could talk to kids etc. We spent about £2 in his shop and were with him for almost 2 hours...more ». It was nice. However be careful about going on trips in pirogues with locals, some are good, but others are note - we had a leaky boat, with a busted motor! Hotel trips are fairly priced and use good boats; however the boatman could not speak English, hence we were tempted by the locals!as for lunch you can try Keur Boum in the village. They have a limited menu, but the steak I had (£5) was very good and with one of the best sauces I've had in a long time. You can also pick up cheap local stuff in the village, but French will be useful here. Crisps etc about 20p a pack in small shops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.