The smallest destination on the entire African continent is focusing entirely on tourism in winter 2021/22 for good reason. 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 28C, the air temperature is on average at a pleasant 36-30°C.
Combined with a consistently warm friendliness of the people, the country gives any traveler to The Gambia a sure sense of welcome. 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 Germany, Austria or Switzerland, you have the sympathies of the Africans for sure. For us, it was exciting to find out what makes Gambians tick in September 2021. 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 braches
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 also the beautiful Atlantic beaches and as a special feature, the underestimated from the biodiversity Gambia River with a 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. So did Denise, whom we now meet exclusively in an interview. Many a great project took its course here, such as the extraordinarily successful accommodation project of the experienced full-blooded entrepreneur Denise. Her website shows why guests can feel particularly comfortable here:
So also Denise from London after years of planning and development of her in 2018 opened a wonderfully quietly located ‚Camara Gardens Lodge‘ with four wonderful residential units, in the middle of a beautiful garden. From the beginning this very well equipped lodge ran with very good success and today I want to find out why Denise had the right nose with her ‚Camara Gardens Lodge‘ and why the guests are so happy at this nice place…
The ‚Camara Gardens Lodge‘ can be described as an extraordinary tourism success story. Besides her exciting professional career as a full-blooded hotel manager, Denise, a Brit, managed to fulfill her dream of opening a beautifully located and very attractive Camara Gardens Lodge in Brufut three years ago.The oasis of well-being badin: the great pool of Camara Gardens Lodge…
Interview with Denise from London, owner of the Camara Gardens Lodge in Brufut, The Gambia
Not far from the cosy Camara Gardens Lodge are to find nice beaches and iviting waves
Years ago, Denise, together with her husband Bax, 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.
„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 resonant 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 vision for once. Because the ‚Camara Gardens Lodge‘ had very good references from the beginning…“
„Denise, good references are increasingly important criteria for holidaymakers. What do your guests write about your Camara Gardens Lodge?“
„We are really very happy there. That we have obviously met the taste of our international guests so well. We have especially those visitors with us who appreciate the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of Camara Gardens Lodge. Who want to use the pool to cool off and sunbathe in peace. Who also want to enjoy the luxury of a well-equipped European living unit.“
„Can I ask you to quote the opinions of your clients for once?“
„Yes, with pleasure. I’ll read once before…., for example, a guest named Martin, he came from Salzburg in Austria: ‚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 travelers with transportation etc. We had a great time with Denise and her team. We will be back again.‘ Or another nice reference had been written by Mariama: ‚The best place to stay! Amazing great accommodation style, clean, friendly hosts, this is the second time my family vacationed here and they loved it. A very nice place to stay for a short or long time‘. Fortunately, this is also how it draws positively for us on relevant websites across the board. We take that as an incentive to 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 closet 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 telephone connection, a dining table with chairs and a fan. Each apartment has its own balcony or terrace with table and chairs, so you can relax with a cool drink or just listen to the birds singing. I think without the pool and garden we would have 50% less happy guests and visitors, Oliver!“
„It really is an excellent feel-good atmosphere that you offer to the discerning clients and guests here in Banjul. I am very taken and can only confirm it, 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 they find it so great and ask for an extension. If something is free, then that also works out. But since we only have four accommodation units in the lodge, it’s often tight with availability, especially in the high season.“
„Exciting. Finally, let’s talk about Corona. How did 2020 turn out, and what’s the mood 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 and … we were knocked back from almost 90% to about 50% occupancy in March 2020. Since we only have four nice apartments, they are also sometimes quickly rented to local visitors. From this point of view, we have survived the Corona crisis, especially compared to other lodges. In 2021, we were able to increase to 55% occupancy to date. But we had to reduce investments in sustainability.We had to cap our solar energy plans, after all we generate hot water with solar assistance. And 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. By the way with us, visitors are in safe hands … , everyone gets maximum privacy.“
„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…“
„Thank you very much for the behind the scenes insights of your highly recommended https://www.camaragardens.com/. 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 skillful way. Good luck to your staff and big family and your lodge ….. Denise, where do vacationers find Camara Gardens Lodge?“
„In the Brufut district of the capital city of Banjul, in The Gambia.
And this is our website:
Some impressions of the Camara Gardens Lodge can be found here:
„Thank you Denise for the interesting interview and all the best for the future…“