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“Great for birders”

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Footsteps Eco Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great for birders”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2012

Stayed at Easter with my two sons for a week's bird watching. On arrival, because there was only one other family staying at the lodge, David kindly offered an extra room at no charge to save fitting a third bed into the one room we'd booked. The rooms are very simply furnished but clean.
The setting is fantastic, the immediate countryside is easily accessible for walking/birding and the varied habitat makes walking to the beach a real treat. Our first attempt to reach the sea took hours simply because there were so many new birds to see. After spending a day walking from the lodge we teamed up with Lamin the lodge's bird guide and over 4 days took trips to Lamin Lodge, Abuko, Brufut, Marakissa River Camp, Tanji, Kotu Bridge and Bakau. These day trips were arranged through the lodge and were previously available as a week's programme. By splitting them guests can dip in and combine preferred locations. This suited us as we also enjoy doing our own thing.
With Ousman driving, Lamin had us away early each morning and by the end of the week we had seen 190 species of birds (over 110 within walking distance of the lodge). Lamin was helpful, great company and very informative.
We ate each night at the lodge for convenience after a long day spent out birding. The food was fine, although after a week became a little samey, but this was no big deal given the beautiful surroundings we found ourselves in.
Being towards the end of the dry season we didn't encounter a single mosquito and in fact insect life in general was low.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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2 Thank AlanG_MK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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143 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
london
Level Contributor
55 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2012

I stayed here for two nights and found it welcoming, peaceful, safe and simple - just what a single traveller needs.

To be woken up to a chorus of birds was wonderful.

The owner is very visible and it is obvious that his staff are happy and enjoy working for him -that's rare in Africa. They were all very friendly and accommodating.

Best part of the holiday was probably my walking tour with Lamin - make sure you do it!

There is a massage therapist on site, reasonably priced. Recommend the full body massage if you are tired but not the head one.

Breakfast was simple and I opted for pancakes on the first day but was disappointed as it hadn't been cooked properly. Breakfast is a choice from : pancakes, muesli & yoghurt or egg and toast. The local dishes and juices are worth trying and were tasty.

Room Tip: Do the walking tour with Lamin
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank zinizana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester uk
Level Contributor
111 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2012

We stayed here for a week after a week in Kololi and it was super. I realise that talking about isolation, mud huts, cool showers and composting toilets wouldn't recommend it to everyone but we loved it - the hut and its bed was incredibly comfortable, the toilet didn't smell and you could wander around the area freely without fear of bumsters (and, other than bumsters, Gambians are invariably friendly and not overtly on the make). The other guests tended to stay for shorter spells and were invariably interesting people who you could chat to all night, and the staff were really professional even when the owner David wasn't on the scene.

Another contributor has said that the food was expensive and you could eat much cheaper elsewhere, but I couldn't see an "elsewhere" within several miles, although we did go up the coast to Sanyang one day by bush taxi. I could be critical here and say that the website, when we booked, was out of date in this respect - main European-style meals were 450D, Gambian stew-based meals 330D and vegetarian 285D and there's always one of each on the main menu with starters and desserts at 150D - of course, all ingredients have to be got in down bumpy tracks, all meals cooked to order and the food standard was very high. Breakfast is a bit odd, being muesli OR eggs OR pancakes with full English at a supplement - after a week at the tourist coast where you stock up for the day on everything that's available this was a bit restricting but the portions are quite large.

The birdwatching was superb - we managed over 60 species just within the lodge area plus around 20 more on local walks. You can get to Sanyang, Brikama and beyond by bush taxi (if you're brave enough), and unlike many places in the resort areas that would actually be encouraged. The resort doesn't take plastic cards or change travellers cheques and there's nowhere within very easy reach which does, and Gambian ATMs don't always work so bring your money with you (it'll be very safe here), however David's quite accommodating if you do run short of Dalasi. You can book local trips with local guys but you can also do a lot of stuff for free if you like walking and nature, I spent hours in the tower bird hide or exploring the local paths.

I thought the whole experience was fairly priced (some places with eco-credentials are crazily priced) and will definitely be on our list for future visits.

Room Tip: Avoid the one which backs on to the all-night disco (just joking!)
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Neilmcc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicestershire, England
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2012

We booked this holiday as a change from the Canaries when we were in search of winter sun and what an excellent choice we made! We had never visited the Gambia and so really didn't quite know what to expect. We were drawn towards the idea of a non-touristy resort having stayed in some disappointing hotels in the past, and Footsteps proved to be the polar opposite of everything we had disliked about those Canarian hotel resorts. What we found was peace and quiet, sunshine, birdsong, courteous staff, excellent locally sourced, cooked to order food and a lodge dog that stole our hearts - yes Annie that's you! All of this provided within a lodge that was eco friendly. Our biggest concern prior to going was the idea of using compost toilets but having spent a week using them we can say that they really are not a problem. Prior to arriving we would have struggled to identify a blue tit in England - however after a week of slowly becoming birdwatchers we can now identify loads of them - at the risk of upsetting reguar birders we have to say that Gambian birds are so much more colourful and watchable than our sparrows! What can we say we loved it - so stay away so we can enjoy it all to ourselves!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank David483
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fareham
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 March 2012

Stayed here for a week with my partner, was just the sort of place we were looking for, might be a bit too far off the beaten track for some but for us it was great.

Accomodation was clean and comfy,staff are all fantastic and nothing is too much trouble for them, Sarani was our guide for most of the week and he looked after us very well so dont hesitate in using his services!

I like what the owners David and Linda are trying to achieve with the whole sustainable tourism program which is one of the main reasons we stayed there, they too made sure all the guests were being catered for and enjoying there holiday.

Food at the lodge was always very nice and some comments on here say maybe slightly expensive but no more than other establishments catering for the tourists.....

We really enjoyed our time in Gambia and im sure we will be back and will definitely stay at footsteps again.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank knight99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Footsteps Eco Lodge

Property: Footsteps Eco Lodge
Address: South Kombo Lane, Gunjur, Gambia
Region: Gambia > West Coast Division > Gunjur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Gunjur
Price range (per night): ₹ 2,241 - ₹ 4,897
Hotel Class:3 star — Footsteps Eco Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
African style accommodation. Built to a high standard as an ecological lodge, all ensuite with their own terrace, an extra bed can be added at no extra cost. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Footsteps Eco Hotel Gunjur

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