Kololi is a resort town where tourists are spoilt with fun. There are countless restaurants selling every kind of cuisine; shops selling anything you might need on holiday, including pharmacy, exchange bureaux—where you will get a better exchange rate than your hotel, and banks with working ATMs. There are also a couple of nightclubs, casino and internet cafes. However, with a heads-up about the city, you are most likely to set out on the right side in Kololi.
Here is the trick, Kololi can, more or less, be divided into three: The Palm Rima area, the Senegambia area and the Kololi Village. Each area is unique. Any tourists visiting this town will, no doubt, enjoy it best with a prior knowledge about the peculiarities of each area. Good news however is that these areas are not far apart so, why shouldn’t anyone take time out to explore it all?
Looking for the less-crowded-nevertheless-fun-to-be-beaches, head to the Palm Rima area. There is an imposing resort complex that shares the same name with the area. Palm Rima area also offers some interesting low-key places to eat, drink, shop, and if you are a night owl, you can dance the night away at nightclubs located there.
The Senegambia area is Gambia’s busiest tourist strip and it’s almost impossible to visit Kololi as a tourist and reject the temptation to be here. The leading hotels in the country are located here, just as the area has a number of reconstructed beaches that are maintained to restore the area’s vibe after serious tidal erosion almost washed away the beaches some years ago. Anyway, many hotels in this area have nice pools and tourists can use them, especially those seeking exclusive fun.
Seeking more African atmosphere, head to Kololi village. Although this area is part of the cosmopolitan resort area, however, it really does have the real village atmosphere and it’s cool for budget accommodation, though it lacks some creature comforts.
So which is your pick? For me, I love to have a slice of it all; it’s simple. Hit the Kololi village and have a jab at African atmosphere, visit the Senegambia area and get into the busy touristic atmosphere and crown it in a less crowded place like the Palm Rima area.
Anyway, whichever area you visit, the sun-bleached Atlantic coastline town welcomes you with both ‘arms.’ The town is a mixed bag of dignified, low-rise hotels and rustic guesthouses jumbled together with tourist-trap restaurants and brash nightspots. People go there with plans to hit the beach, which is cool as the city has a generous sweep of beach sand that is almost entirely man-made, offering plenty of opportunities including sunbathing, fishing, jogging, working out or peddling fresh juice; and there’s plenty of room for all.
However, there is more; Kololi also has a small nature reserve, the Bijilo Forest Park, located on a cliff edge on the beach right next to the Senegambia strip. It is a nice eco-tourists destination with plenty of birds, primate species and flora.
You can also view art and photography from the Gambia and elsewhere in Africa at the Village Gallery located on a sandy backstreet of Kololi village.
With so much in the offing on a trip to Kololi, one wonders why anyone would miss visiting this town in their lifetime!
Usifo Mike-Alvin is a creative writer with a knack for budget traveling and adventure. He travels across Africa and reports for Afrotourism.