Is Gambia beautiful? A few years ago, I read a travel report about The Gambia, “the smiling coast of Africa”, in a Belgian magazine and knew that I absolutely had to visit this place. In November 2018, the time had finally come. Together with a friend, we planned a 10-day holiday in the West African country. And decided to spend half of the trip on the coast and then a few days inland.
The first accommodation I found online was Footsteps Eco Lodge, and the description was pretty much what I had in mind. My friend and I quickly booked a roundhouse and were curious to see what would await us in The Gambia. As I work myself in the tourism industry, travel a lot and am especially involved with sustainability projects in this area, I was particularly interested in learning more about the philosophy and the actual “theory in practice” of this beautiful little eco-lodge.
The expectations were not only met, but they were also greatly exceeded. Their sustainability is not just a slogan, it is actually lived from A to Z. I was thrilled.
David and his team are really committed to avoiding waste. Wherever possible, using ingredients from their own garden and involving the local village community.
It speaks for these efforts that the majority of the staff members have been working here for many years.
This vibe transfers to the guests too – strangers become friends here.
From the first evening, people sit together at the same table, share thoughts and plans, tell each other about their experiences and feel like part of one big family.
Friends for life
Even today, I am still in contact with some of the staff members. I have also met other guests in different countries – just for a beer and to cherish our shared Gambian memories. In November 2018, my friend and I almost regretted spending the second half of our holiday in another part of the country. However, we quickly realised that the Footsteps team would see us again. And so it was in January 2020 and this time we spent a complete week in Gunjur. This trip will certainly not have been the last either.
So, Is Gambia beautiful?
Absolutely it is!
My personal plan is definitely – if the Corona pandemic allows travelling – to return to The Gambia in general and Footsteps Eco Lodge in particular next winter! For me, this place has really become a haven where I can recharge my batteries. Whether fishing on the beach, taking a trip into the wonderful surrounding countryside or simply reading a good book in a hammock.
The Gambia undoubtedly lives up to its name as “the smiling coast of Africa“. And the Footsteps team make sure that I can’t help but smile when I think back to this paradise!
Written by Katrin Erben