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Tourism: Why is Africa’s, smallest country Gambia a perfect spot for a Winter escape?

by Atqnews
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Gambia, the smallest destination on the entire African continent is focusing entirely on tourism in winter 2021/22 for good reason.

According to openpr.com, the African country on the west coast of Africa is regarded as a thoroughly progressive, open-minded travel destination and, despite its economic malaise, impresses with a low crime rate and particularly friendly people.

Here you can still experience genuine African hospitality – and that with year-round summer temperatures. The Atlantic Ocean attracts with water temperatures of 28°C, the air temperature is on average at a pleasant 26°C – 30°C.

Combined with a consistently warm friendliness of the people, the country gives any traveller to The Gambia a sure sense of welcome.

READ: Africa: Gambia, Guinea ink MOU deal to enhance, promote regional tourism

Gambia’s population is predominantly Muslim. Christians are not disadvantaged in their religious practice in this tolerant country, they live and peacefully with the Muslims in harmony.
The country of Gambia is also attractive as a year-round tourist destination.

The population of the smallest country in Africa is really warm and friendly. Again and again a white person is asked “From where do you come from sir?” and if you then answer that you come from UK, Norway, Sweden or other countries of Europe, you have the sympathies of the Africans for sure. In September 2021, it was exciting to find out what makes Gambian’s tick. What do people think about the Corona pandemic? What do people in The Gambia expect from the future?

In the immediate vicinity of Camara Gardens Lodge, vacationers will find great beaches . We get to the bottom of the questions:

Many people from Europe have moved to The Gambia. One of the reasons is the tolerance of the people in the country, the year-round pleasantly warm climate and the beautiful Atlantic beaches combined with the amazing biodiversity with a whole variety of animals and birds, many are not aware of the diversity, especially along the Gambia River, with its variety of endemic plant and animal species.

Many Europeans fell for the magic of the country and the tolerant population, and it drew them to Gambia, as was Denise, who I now had the pleasure to meet for an exclusive interview. Many great plans were drawn up and executed here in the Gambia, such as the extraordinarily successful accommodation project of the very experienced and passionate hotelier, Denise.

Denise from Manchester, UK spent years of planning and the development, ‘Camara Gardens Lodge’ which opened in 2018, wonderfully quietly located with four wonderful apartments, in the middle of a beautiful garden. From the beginning this very well-equipped lodge has run very successfully and today I want to find out more from Denise the stories behind her successful design and operation of ‘Camara Gardens Lodge’.

READ: Tourism: West African Country, Gambia, placed among Britain Amber list of nations

The ‘Camara Gardens Lodge’ can be described as an extraordinary tourism success story. In the short time since leaving her exciting and professional career as an international hotel manager, Denise, a Brit, managed to fulfil her dream of opening the beautifully located and very attractive Camara Gardens Lodge in Brufut just three years ago.

Interview with Denise from Manchester, UK, owner of the Camara Gardens Lodge in Brufut, The Gambia.

Not far from the cosy Camara Gardens Lodge you will beautiful, peaceful beaches with inviting waves.

Years ago, Denise, together with her husband Bax Camara, who passed away in 2010, started to plan everything: they bought the generous plot of land and built a very attractively landscaped property with beautiful green tropical vegetation.

Denise explains:
“It was a piece of land full of grasses, weeds and plants, and we made the most of it.” Despite Bax’s death in 2010, my Gambian and British family and friends supported me in creating the beautiful lodge with the significant name “Camara Gardens.” Along the way to the now stunning lodge, there were some setbacks, many headaches, lots of fun, laughter, and a lot of love for each other and the dream we wanted to achieve.”

Denise continues:
“The dream of having our own family-run and top-notch lodge became a reality in 2018 when we finally opened our doors and hearts to our guests. However, we were not naive, but planned everything in detail. My experience as a manager for TUI subsidiary Thomson also came in handy.”

“I have worked all over the world in hospitality and tourism for over 20 years. I am from England and speak English and French. I came to The Gambia back in 2004 to work as a manager for Thomson (TUI UK). I fell in love with Gambia, my husband, my family and the Gambian people.

After visiting The Gambia many times over the last 15 years, I finally moved here in 2018 to make my dream come true! Before opening Camara Gardens, I worked as a manager for reputable travel companies in various tropical beach destinations and ski resorts. I am very friendly and have an extensive knowledge of the tourism industry and all the wonderful things to see and do in The Gambia.”

As a travel journalist, may I now ask Denise to reveal her inspiration and vision for her project, “Camara Gardens Lodge” which had excellent reviews from the beginning…”
“Denise, good reviews are increasingly important criteria for holidaymakers. What do your guests write about your Camara Gardens Lodge?”

“We are really very happy with the feedback. We have obviously managed to meet the expectations of our international guests so well. We have many visitors who stay with us specially to enjoy appreciate the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of Camara Gardens Lodge, using the pool to cool off and sunbathe in peace, whilst enjoying the luxury of a well-equipped European living unit and the host Denise and family.”

“Can I ask you to quote the opinions of your clients for once?”

“Yes, with pleasure, this is just one of our guests’ reviews …, a guest named Martin, he came from London in the UK: ‘One of the best places to stay – safe and secure with members of the family or staff available 24/7.’

They also have contacts to assist travellers with transportation etc. We had a great time with Denise and her team. We will be back again.’ More fantastic feedback from Mariama one of our local guests: ‘The best place to stay! Amazing great accommodation style, clean, friendly hosts, this is the second time my family had a holiday here and they loved it. A very nice place to stay for a short or long time’. the appreciation from our guest is such a positive thing for us and can be seen on many websites. We take on board any great ideas and feedback from these reviews and conversations with our customers to make us even better, we keep tweaking and tweaking…”

“Very good, respect Denise. What are the special features of your beautiful Camara Gardens – residential units? How much your guests like the beautiful swimming pool and garden area?”

“Each apartment is designed to provide you with all the amenities you need to make this your home in The Gambia. The bedrooms have hotel quality twin or king size beds, super comfortable mattresses, modern wardrobe and dressing table, African fabric bed covers, pillows and curtains to complement the Egyptian cotton bed linen. The very quietly operating air conditioning will save you from the tropical heat. The bathrooms have large walk-in showers with luxurious body showers supplied with hot water from the solar system.

The European kitchens are fully equipped with modern appliances such as stove, microwave, kettle, toaster, refrigerator, etc. In the cupboards you will find all the pots, pans, glasses and bowls you need to prepare and serve your culinary delights. A barbecue is available for outdoor meals.

The living/dining room has a large comfortable leather sofa, a couple of armchairs, a flat-screen Smart TV with Wi-Fi connection, a dining table with chairs and a fan. Each apartment has its own balcony or terrace with table and chairs overlooking the pool, so you can relax with a cool drink or just listen to the birds singing. Oliver, I think that without the pool and garden our guests wouldn’t enjoy it half as much!” By the way with us, visitors are in safe hands … , everyone gets maximum privacy.”

“It really is an excellent feel-good atmosphere that you offer to the discerning clients and guests here in Brufut. I am very attracted to your place and can confirm what a great lodge you have, here is an oasis of calm and I enjoy it very much… How long do your guests stay on average, Denise?”

“Thank you Oliver. My guests often book for three, four nights, then enjoy it so much they want to stay longer and ask for an extension. If we have availability, then it’s a win win situation. Since we only have four accommodation units in the lodge, it’s often difficult to have an apartment available, especially in the high season.”

“Exciting. Finally, let’s talk about Corona. How did 2020 turn out, and what’s the feeling of your family and the general population regarding that, Denise?”

“2019 was very busy, almost 90% for the whole year. 2020 started out very well too then … we were knocked back from almost 90% to about 50% occupancy in March 2020. Since we only have four nice apartments, they have been rented out reasonably well during the Corona period, some were local people staying with us. From this point of view, we have survived the Corona crisis, especially compared to other lodges.

In 2021, we are probably back up to about 55% occupancy so far. Unfortunately as a result we had to reduce our investments substantially. We had to cap our solar energy plans, after all we generate hot water with solar assistance. Many people live on the income of Camara Gardens Lodge, we use it to pay school fees and medical care for a large African community. From this point of view, the guests of Camara Gardens Lodge take care of more than 30 people and we want to keep it that way. Because the people of The Gambia depend on tourism.

“A word about my personal assessment of Covid-19. The issue hardly plays a role in the country. The population doesn’t seem to be rattled by it. But everyone is hoping, of course, that the tourists will find their way back to us… the Gambia needs the tourist back”

“Thank you very much for the behind the scenes insights of your highly recommended website This place for me, ideal for those vacationers who want to be self-sufficient and like to cook, but also do not want to do without the usual upscale standard. An all-around successful interior, which certainly mixes the British and African style in a particularly skilful way. Good luck to your staff and big family and your lodge ….. Denise, where do vacationers find Camara Gardens Lodge?”

“We are in the Brufut area of The Gambia.


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