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West African Holidays?

I'm going to book a 7 day holiday for February half-term and I'm considering the Gambia. Has anyone been there or maybe suggest another destination that's no more than an 8 hour flight away? We really need hot weather and a beach.

Comments

  • Former British colony - and they speak English.
  • Gambia Experience.co.uk is worth looking at.

    I stayed at the Kairaba Hotel which is one of the better hotels in Gambia, it had a decent pool and is situated in nice tropical gardens. The staff are very friendly and helpful. There is a sister hotel opposite which you can also go in if you want to use their facilities.

    There are some decent restaurants a short walk from the hotel as well. I'm always concerned when eating at places outside the hotel in these types of countries but they are very good and run by Scandinavians and Europeans.

    The locals will ask if you want a cab or tour etc but they are ok and except a no thanks.

    My cousin had business connections in Gambia and it was him who advised me of this hotel.

    If you want a rest and sun without too long a flight its worth trying. There were a couple of day trips which we went on but if you want to just laze around the hotel is comfortable enough.

    However don't forget it is a third world country.
  • Brilliant! Just the sort of feedback I was hoping for, thanks SF.
  • Went Feb 2009 and was very disappointed.
    Got more hassle there from the locals than any other country been to - really had the feeling that everyone was out to make out of you.

    little things such as their money being really tatty and cash points only taking visa cards and then the ATM network going down several times leaving you stranded if you needed cash as credit cards not widely accepted.

    we are both well travelled and not 'spoilt Englishers' who want a fry up and karaoke, but was our most disappointing holiday out of 8 in last three years.

    The one hotel that we visited and looked nice was Hotel Senegambia which is in heart of the restaurant/strip area.
  • Cape Verde is worth a visit, should be hot-ish at that time of year
  • Good friend of mine is Ghanain and absolutely raves about the place.

    Once he started telling me about the security his father had to have as he was semi successful I kind of crossed it off my To Do list
  • I can safely say that Ghana is the worst place that I have ever been to. I booked a fortnight there and came back after 7 days. At least I "beat" my mate who came home after 6. Absolute toilet.
  • [quote][cite]Posted By: ads[/cite]Cape Verde is worth a visit, should be hot-ish at that time of year[/quote]

    If you go there take some warm jumpers for the evening, there is always a wind in February which isn't a problem during the day as the heat of the sun off sets it but in the evenings it is cold.

    Thompsons have twin hotels the Garopa & Funana which are all inclusive you should get a discount for Feb. The food is excellent and plenty of it which is it's saving grace as there is nothing to do at Cape Verde, but good for relaxing by the pool. The beaches are sandy but the sea can be a little chopy that time of the year. Don't waste your money going on the trips they are expensive and a waste of time, I found out the hard way. Especially the Blue Eye trip.
  • I'd also recommend The Gambia Experience as travel agents. They've been running tours there for many years. The Senegambia and the Kariba hotels are very close to each other and were probably the best we saw while out there 6 years ago.

    As SF said, it is a third world country and there's plent of locals who try to make a living off the tourists, and I don't blame them. We got very friendly with one guy who spoke four languages, had worked in Holland, Germany and the UK and was supporting his family in Gambia from the tourist trade. Very smart guy and very streetwise.

    We took a trip to see his home and met his family, left enough money, can't remember if it was the equivalent of £5 or £10, to buy a goat to celebrate the festival of Tobaski which happened the following week.

    Great weather, don't try and swim in the ocean, the currents are very fierce. enjoy the experience, have a good time if you go.
  • Top tip on visiting Gambia from a friend who is a travel agent. Tobaski means 'rip off the fool foreigners' in the local lingo, so be careful if you hear that word used.
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  • Got a bout of Amoebic Dysentery from visiting Gambia some years back.
    Never again!
  • if you go to Nigeria, could you speak to a guy called 'James' for me?

    He is the son of the former President and still hasn't transferred the sum of $20,000,000 US Dollars into my account like he said he would.
  • Not West Africa amd not eight hours but if you want a life changing experiance ........http://www.kogelotours.org/

    The main man is a mate of mine and a long standing Wet Spam man.......but he has built a special holiday for those who want something a little bit different

    ( no financial gain for me )
  • [quote][cite]Posted By: Steve Dowman[/cite]Top tip on visiting Gambia from a friend who is a travel agent. Tobaski means 'rip off the fool foreigners' in the local lingo, so be careful if you hear that word used.[/quote
    The Senegalese celebrate Tabaski, called Aïd el Kébir in much of the Muslim world, to honor the sacrifice of Abraham’s son.

    I was chatting to a guy in India last time I was there, and he said the main source of humour and irritation to "the locals" is comparitively wealthy westerners with half a thousand quids worth of camera round their neck haggling over a few pence difference in price and constantly worrying over whether they are being ripped off. Take some extra money with you so you don't have to spoil your holiday being cheap.
  • I've been looking at the Cape Verde Islands. Nice hotels with nothing to do but eat,drink and chill? Sounds perfect. Prices reasonable to, the Rui Funana All Inc looks right up my street. I read somewhere that it's proper All Inc, as in 24hr. Is that true?
  • I was chatting to a guy in India last time I was there, and he said the main source of humour and irritation to "the locals" is comparitively wealthy westerners with half a thousand quids worth of camera round their neck haggling over a few pence difference in price and constantly worrying over whether they are being ripped off. Take some extra money with you so you don't have to spoil your holiday being cheap.
    I lost it with a Dutch couple in Laos once, we had hired a Tuk-tuk with three others to take us out to a waterfall near Luang Phrabang. It was an amazing day, one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. I had agreed a very reasonable price with the driver (about fiver) which is pretty much what he asked for. When we got back this Dutch couple decided they wanted to haggle. I was well pissed off, even more so when I discovered the price they wanted amounted to a 50p reduction. I told them to "F" off and I paid the driver in full plus a decent tip.

    I'm all for having a bit of fun with the whole haggling thing but sometimes you have to remember where you are.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chirpy Red[/cite]I've been looking at the Cape Verde Islands. Nice hotels with nothing to do but eat,drink and chill? Sounds perfect. Prices reasonable to, the Rui Funana All Inc looks right up my street. I read somewhere that it's proper All Inc, as in 24hr. Is that true?

    It was when I went about 3 years ago. Think it was the first year the hotels opened.

    Lovely place, bit windy on the beach and you certainly need a jumper at night.

    We had a lovely time.
  • [cite]Posted By: Chirpy Red[/cite]I've been looking at the Cape Verde Islands. Nice hotels with nothing to do but eat,drink and chill? Sounds perfect. Prices reasonable to, the Rui Funana All Inc looks right up my street. I read somewhere that it's proper All Inc, as in 24hr. Is that true?

    Mate of mine went there a couple of years back - said it was a good place but was bored due to nothing to do except relax, eat and drink - like you, for short break, I think this sounds ideal!

    All inclusive is 24 hours at Riu Fanana..
  • Mate of mine went there a couple of years back - said it was a good place but was bored due to nothing to do except relax, eat and drink - like you, for short break, I think this sounds ideal!

    All inclusive is 24 hours at Riu Fanana..
    Sounds ideal to me. We are looking at all inclusive deals, just want to do bugger all for a week and go somewhere nice to do it.
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  • I went to Cape Verde for some winter sun 2 years ago and let me warn you off the place now... Whilst the hotel (Karamboa) was great and was truly all inclusive, the wind howled across the place... yes it was sunny, but you couldn't sit on the beach, as you were sand blasted.. You were fine in the one heated pool if you kept your shoulders under the water...otherwise any exposed skin would leave you freezing.... You couldn't laze around the pool all day as it was too windy. I'd read some of the reviews on TripAdvisor and thought 'the wind can't be that bad'...believe me, it was. There is also absolutely nothing to do there...usually fine for wife and I, but our (at the time) 4 year old wanted to be on the beach or in the pool.. If it wasn't for that wind, it would be great for a fly and flop holiday...
  • [cite]Posted By: Valley_floyd_red[/cite]
    I was chatting to a guy in India last time I was there, and he said the main source of humour and irritation to "the locals" is comparitively wealthy westerners with half a thousand quids worth of camera round their neck haggling over a few pence difference in price and constantly worrying over whether they are being ripped off. Take some extra money with you so you don't have to spoil your holiday being cheap.

    I lost it with a Dutch couple in Laos once, we had hired a Tuk-tuk with three others to take us out to a waterfall near Luang Phrabang. It was an amazing day, one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. I had agreed a very reasonable price with the driver (about fiver) which is pretty much what he asked for. When we got back this Dutch couple decided they wanted to haggle. I was well pissed off, even more so when I discovered the price they wanted amounted to a 50p reduction. I told them to "F" off and I paid the driver in full plus a decent tip.

    I'm all for having a bit of fun with the whole haggling thing but sometimes you have to remember where you are.

    Had the same with a friend haggeling over 50p for ages in a souk in Morrocco. Needless to say she has not been a travelling companion since!

    I once got thrown out of a market stall in Thailand when the owner opend the biiding for a DVD player at around £100 and I started at a fiver. Apparently this was a massive insult to his trade and he refused to do any business with me!
  • When we went to Magaluf last year there was a few friendly West African ladies out there ;-)
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