Hidden in the African bush on a mangrove-lined tributary of the River Gambia; a stay at Mandina Lodges is more peaceful and unique than you could ever imagine.
There is nothing quite like Mandina Lodges. Located in the heart of Makasutu Forest, yet only 40 minutes from coastal resorts, guests here are able to disconnect from everyday life and connect with the surrounding nature, which includes monkeys, baboons and reptiles, as well as an array of birdlife. Mandina Lodges were featured in the book '1001 Escapes To Make Before You Die', and for many, an escape here is one they’ll wish to repeat endlessly during their lifetime, a viewpoint that Chris Packham endorses fully.
Comprising eight beautifully designed lodges built both on and off the river, the setting of this accommodation encapsulates an unrelenting sense of tranquillity, relaxation and escape. Accessed by wooden walkways and bridges, the Stilted Lodge and Floating lodges are of mahogany construction with high beamed ceilings while the spacious Jungle lodges are impressive in both size and design. The Mangrove Lodge is a charming, smaller lodge, with an internal shower room and private terrace. Each lodge has a private but roofless bathroom, along with flushing toilet in Jungle and Mangrove lodges and composting toilet in Floating/Stilted lodges - inspired by Swedish log cabins.
The impressive Stilted Lodge is on two floors with separate bedroom, outside deck and lounge area on the lower level plus upstairs day room; fans are employed in all lodges instead of air-conditioning and solar power is used as much as possible.
Exploring this magical setting
Beyond the inviting free-form pool, with its canopied day beds, each guest is assigned one of Mandina’s expert guides, allowing you to explore the forest on foot or the mangroves by canoe, learning about the flora and fauna of the area as you go. Options to venture further afield are also possible, such as a visit to the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust centre, or to witness the street art project 'Wide Open Walls'.
Dinner is served al fresco in one of the thatched dining areas, and sometimes the fire is lit with the dancing flames creating a magical mood.