Hotel Nemasu
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Directors Blog

January 18, 2017

Today marks a big change in Gambia- we're mixed with a sense of excitement and happiness that finally we'll be finished with the old regime, but worry that the transition may be prolonged or violent. Of course we hope that the new Government takes over peacefully and quickly, tomorrow, the 19th.

 

Guests- please be aware that Nemasu is far removed from any of the City problems. You couldn't find a more peaceful place.

 

So - if flights are still arriving- I ask that you PLEASE come down and take your holidays here. This country is dependent on tourism; the Gambian people, who courageously voted for change, are the innocent victims in this political standoff they need your support. If you can come, please come.

 

November 24, 2016

Big change yesterday; the local internet company Gamtel installed a new 4g internet tower at Nemasu. We now have internet speeds and relaibility that rivals many 1st world systems. The wifi modem transmits to nearly every building on our property. This will be bittersweet to some- but it does mean that business people, and others who need a solid connection, can now come and stay and be assured to stay connected to home and work.

 

Other news: we now have a third vehicle- we have our citroen van, a Honda Transalp motorcycle, and we just bought a Volkswagon passat wagon- it will make shopping & driving guests easier & more reliable. We hired a great 3rd chef, in anticipation of the busy Christmas period. We are now training him in Western standard of health and sanitation; how to cook with less oil, less salt and sugar, and to manage orders and inventory so food arrives quickly and is healthy & tasty. We are beginning planning & building hand pressed mud blocks for 2 new buildings on our new land adjacent to our current land. We hope it will be functional in around 3 months. We have built 12 new beach beds- we now have 24! Also new hand made mahogany furniture from off-cuts of mahogany; and we added 2 panels to our solar array. 

 

It's thanksgiving day (at least in the USA)- just a note of thanks for all we have- it's not always easy, and things rarely turn out as we expect or even would like, but there is so much to be thankful for- I'm thankful for my friends and family; grateful for the priveledge and chances that I've had in life; and glad and lucky to be healthy. I wish a happy day to everyone.

June 22, 2016

Starting to ramp up preparations for the 2016/17 season- new roofs on roundhouses, new fencing to keep the cows out, gardening to take advantage of the rains coming. We're also preparing for the summer turtle egg laying season. We'll be hiring guards, collecting and protacting eggs. If you are interested in this wonderful way to protect these incredible creatures- come down and be a volunteer! Or, at least check out what we're doing. It can be a fun addition to your holiday.

 

December 20, 2015

A few observations, having arrived in Gambia from USA just a few weeks ago.

We've gotten some great reviews over the last year- Seedy has done great, not just maintaining the status quo, but making several key improvements over the last few months. It's important to note that not many managers are African locals, given complete freedom to run the place as he would see fit. Most managers are expat owners from UK or Europe. We've tried to empower Seedy and the staff with the skills, tools and resources to excel at what he does.

 

We've also received a few negative reviews- including:

-no hot water for showers;

-poor breakfast;

-rooms not satisfactorily serviced.

-poor internet

I mention this not because I want to raise awareness of our faults, but point out that we're trying to improve and progress.

 

As a result of these reviews, we have:

-installed a solar hot water system, currently servicing half our houses;

-added to our breakfast menu handmade jam, local honey and peanut butter, and  2 eggs cooked in any style. This is in addition to local baguettes, tea/coffee, butter & jam. Of course, we have menu items you can order at regular prices, including oatmeal, muesli, bacon, fruit salad, and full English breakfast.

-we have emphasized to our staff that rooms are serviced daily, unless a guest requests otherwise. Sheets are changed before a new guest arrives, and every 3 days for long term guests.

-internet!?! Well, we're trying. Service is poor in all of Gambia, but particularly poor in rural areas. We have service, but it's slow. We'll do all we can to improve it.

 

September 1, 2015

A year on from the last blog, and it;'s great to be a year removed from the goings on of last year.

 

We're gearing up for a great season at Nemasu- it looks like tourists will be coming in force to enjoy the sun, sea and smiling faces here on the Smiling Coast of Gambia.

 

In Nemasu, we haven't been idle; we're currently upgrading the electrical system; will be installing a few hot water heaters, for those sensitive types ;-), and working on our farms and infrastructure. Late last year we added grass to the entire restaurant roof, giving it a tropical flair, as well as making it much quieter during the summer monsoons. We added a solar pump to our well, meaning we now have a sustainable, non polluting water supply.

September 1, 2014

A few people have asked about the ebola outbreak, and I think it's important to address it here.

 

I won't talk about the disease itself- as we all know, it's a horrible disease, and this outbreak is one of the worst- as of September 1, it looks like over 4000 cases of the disease have been detected, and that number will likely triple.

 

Let's be clear, however- no cases have been reported north of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia (one reported case of a Guinean man stopped in Senegal). The west is finally providing serious aid in the form of money, medical assistance and logistical support. African nations are taking it seriously as they never before have, and an effective vaccine has been developed and is about to be made public.

 

Without trivializing the outbreak, the reality is, your chances of contracting ebola in Gambia are almost zero. Even if there were a few cases as yet undetected, with the hightened security around the disease, your chances of death from a car accident, or anything else, are vastly greater. Even from a sub-Saharan perspective, whilst around 2000 people have died from the disease in 6 months, over 282,000 people have died from malaria in the same part of the world, in the same period of time.

 

That this should happen in THE poorest part of the world, is a great tragedy. Gambia is rated 155th of 177 nations on earth in terms of wealth. The countries lower are mostly in West Africa.

 

The greatest thing you can do for West Africa is support their economy. PLEASE, if you have thoughts about visiting Gambia, now is the time to show that support. Tourism makes up 20% of the economy, and a tourism crisis means an economic crisis. Ebola is causing great suffering in this part of the world way beyond those who have contracted the disease, and you can help by looking at the outbreak rationally and intelligently, and if you assess the risk as negligible, come support people who will always welcome you with kindness and humor, and who need you like never before. It's the job of the media to create fear and panic- whilst that's good for attracting aid to affected areas, it needs to be put into perspective.

 

At Nemasu, we take no profit; all of the money you spend goes back into the local economy. If you decide to cancel your booking because of fear of ebola, we will refund your deposit 100%- but please, look at the reality rather than the hype, and help the poorest people on earth survive, and hopefully, prosper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XbF2EC88n0#t=50


 

March 3, 2014

The last few months have seen some great improvements. We're nearly finished with 2 new ocean front buildings: one with king bed and 2 single beds (the 'family' house), and one for couples- a single bed and private porch. Both will be fitted out in traditional African style, but with an emphasis on comfort, and the best view in all of Gambia!

 

We've built 6 new beach palapas and 12 new beach beds; built a grass roof over our bar in the restaurant; several new tables for the restaurant; new closets for the rooms, and a new shared bathroom / toilet block.

 

We've invited Etu Ndow, one of the finest Gambian artists, to help decorate the lodge. He has a great eye for 'organic art'- using sustainable resources, art that blends with the environment, but with an ethnic African flavor.

 

February 16, 2013

We've had some really fun, good people visit, and they seem to love their stay. I got some great feedback from the director of 'hiddenGambia', and a few of his referrals, which I thought I'd include below.

 

Hi Greg,

Just to show you that people are loving your place and to thank you for the great show you’ve been putting on for our guests.

Best wishes & see you soon,

Mark

Hidden Gambia holidays Ltd.
Skype name: hiddengambia
Skype tel. +44 (0)121 288 4100
Gambian mobile: +220 7336570
www.hiddengambia.com

From: Matt Eade [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ]
Sent: 20 January 2013 08:24
To: Mark Thompson
Subject: Great trip

Hi Mark,

I would like to say a huge thank you to you for arranging an amazing trip for me. I really had a great time seeing lots of The Gambia, but more importantly seeing 265 species of bird.

The accomodation up in George Town was really nice, no problems at all, but I do hope for your sake bird safari gets back into your hands. I heard a rumour things are starting to look promising. Although time was cut short up river, it actually suited me as all targets were seen easily with our fab guide Ansu.

Nemasu eco-lodge was one of my best lodges. I would highly recommend this to any person travelling to Gambia. The beach was empty and the birding was really good around there. Long-tailed Nightjar and plentiful Four-banded Sandgrouse around the beach for example.

Il be writing a short piece on my blog and birdforum if you don't mind advertising Hidden Gambia.

Many thanks

Matt

-----Original Message-----

From:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .uk]
Sent: 19 January 2013 03:38
To: Mark Thompson
Subject: RE: W5652 - Payment received / Booking confirmed, thank you

Best Holiday ever.

Everything went very smoothly.

Saw everything I wanted to and more on the boat trip. 

Nemasu was the nicest resort I have ever stayed in. I cant recommend it highly enough. 

Just make sure they aren't booked out when I next want to come back.

Thanks,

Paul

February 1, 2013

We have made some great improvements the last few months; the restaurant is full of potted plants; we have built a great terrace overlooking the Atlantic; and we have a fantastic new Manager- Seedy Touray. Seedy is a local guy who has supported himself through school, graduating & teaching himself plumbing, business management, and construction. He's had experience at Seabreeze hotel, and we're very excited to have him.

 

We've had many guests already; a few groups of car rally people heading to Senegal; many people through Hidden Gambia, and several tourists from UK. We've gotten great response- check out our listing in TripAdvisor!

 

December 30, 2012

2013 is going to be a great year at Nemasu!

We will be continuing our program of improvements & renovations. We will be installing new grass thatch roofs, in the fashion of the wonderful Senegalese / local craftsmen. This will keep the roundhouses cool and quiet, and be in line with authentic local style, as well as environmentally sustainable.

 

We'll also be building handcrafted mahogany furniture, using scraps from the mill where possible, and recycling some of our old furniture.

 

We've planted a huge range of plants, including edible (coconuts, papaya, mango, lemon, orange, cashew & veges); many flowers & trees.

 

Most of our buildings are up & running, thanks to our great local craftsmen & tradespeople.

 

As far as planning for this coming tourist season goes, we'll be open on a limited basis. It's best to email us for information. We plan to close for the season at the end of April 2013.