My husband and I stayed at Feel Free Lodge in December 2014 when the lodge was just getting ready to officially open. Parts of the lodge were under construction at the time, but even with some work yet to be completed, it offered a relaxing and informal atmosphere.

The round bungalows are basic but comfortable with western toilets and double beds, the staff are friendly, and the food is delicious (chicken and rice or fish and rice). At the time of our visit, there was no running water so 5-gallon buckets of water were available. Lights in the bungalow after dark are supported by solar panels. Electrical devices can be charged during the day.

Of course, a highlight of any stay will be the opportunity to walk/run/bike along the miles and miles of deserted sandy beach. This is a unique part of The Gambia that has somehow been preserved from the tourist development elsewhere. If you have the time and can spare a few days, this is a special part of the country not to be missed.

I hope the management will establish a reliable service for getting to and from the lodge. Transportation we arranged through the lodge was with an independent contractor who did not have a fixed price for a safari jeep pick up/drop off in Barra. This became confusing and somewhat uncomfortable – and created unnecessary hassle.