Senegal

Visited here March 2014

$1CAD = 450CFA

Getting into Senegal (and out of Mauritania): Nouakchott to St. Louis

More here on crossing the border.

The mother and daughter of the lovely family who helped me cross the border into Senegal. On the pirogue (small fishing boat) to bring us across the river into Rosso.

The mother and daughter of the lovely family who helped me cross the border into Senegal. On the pirogue (small fishing boat) to bring us across the river into Rosso.

  • private taxi from the Auberge Sahara to the Rosso Garage (south of the city) — 1000MRO
  • seat in SUV (10 passengers), NKT to Rosso (Mauritania side) — 2500MRO + 500 for bag
  • You pay nothing to cross the border!! The stamp is free.
  • pirogue across the river — 300MRO (or the ferry is free if you wait)
  • shared taxi to Richard Toll (for the nearest ATM to the border – I didn’t have enough cash left to change for the ride all the way into St. Louis so I had to go here first) — 500CFA
  • cheap public bus to St. Louis (didn’t write down the cost! Oops!)

St. Louis

See here for more on arrival in St. Louis.

Where to Stay
The lovely room at the Auberge Pelican on the Hydrobase

The lovely room at the Auberge Pelican on the Hydrobase

  • The Atlanticide/Jeunesse Hostel was closed at this time. I was referred to another nameless, half-completed establishment on the island, which I don’t particularly recommend, but as the only other option in this price range, I didn’t mind to stay here for a night to explore the island. 6000CFA/bed in 5-bed (but empty) dorm. Shared bathroom, cold water. Ask for Paco and he can arrange this place for you.
  • Moved to The Auberge Pelican on the Hydrobase (south end of the peninsula). A huge upgrade for $3 more a night! 7500 CFA (for 1 or 2 persons) for a lovely hut to myself. Double bed, fan, net, with shared bathrooms, but hot water!
  • Island vs. Peninsula: I liked getting a taste of both. The island is better for the atmosphere, life, food, etc., but the accommodation is much better on the hydrobase. The beach isn’t amazing and there is little in terms of establishments outside of hotels; it’s a bit of a walk to do/eat anything.
Eating Out
  • The standard breakfast in Senegal is a fried omelette (with onion, salt, and pepper) in a baguette for 500CFA. On the island there are a couple places that make them; my favourite being an unmarked corner with curtains over the doors, and a guy outside grilling meat (which you can also add into your sandwich, if you so desire).
  • There’s a lot of overpriced food on the island, aimed at tourists. If you scout on the peninsula, you’re sure to find the spots where the fishermen eat their meals, which will be miles better than what I ate!
Getting Around
  • hot tip: the word to use to find a shared taxi is collectif, so you don’t get suckered into paying for your own taxi!
  • taxi from bus stop to the island — should be 500-100CFA but I paid 2000 (like a sucker…)
  • local rides around the island are 500, but you can definitely walk anywhere you need to go.
  • from the island to the hydrobase, they’ll try to charge you 1500-2000, but I think you can cross the bridge to the peninsula and find a shared car for 100-500 max. It’s also fully walkable in about 20 minutes, but can be very windy and unpleasant with all the sand blowing in your face!

St. Louis to Dakar

  • private taxi to the Dakar garage is fixed at 600CFA (which makes no sense when you see how far that is and how close the hydrobase is!)
  • two options to Dakar:
    • 7-place — 5000CFA + 500bag
    • minibus — 3200CFA + “1000” bag (probably negotiate to 500)
  • Most taxis within the downtown should be about 500. 1500-2000 from outside downtown.
Where to Stay
2014-03-01 11.52.28

Look for this sign to find the reception!

  • Annexe Kingz Plaza is the only hostel in Dakar. It is very clean and professionally run, though difficult to find (the “plaza” resembles nothing of a plaza, in my opinion). It is located in the area called Sacre-Couer 3, which is near the airport (resulting noise from said airport is my only complaint here). It is located behind the Hotel “Les Residences Mamoune”, and you check in at the main Kingz Plaza hotel. 6000CFA/night in 6-bed dorm with shared bathroom and hot water. Also, good and free wifi!
Eating Out
  • For breakfast, you can go out to the main road (not the highway), turn right until you reach the little “supermarket”. Here you’ll find a breakfast joint offering the standard omelette sandwich, but also spaghetti, if you like! (I declined, but this alternative breakfast trend continues as you head farther south). Next to this is also a “fast food” place for at night, but I’m not entirely sure what they make.
  • Located on the next main road behind the hostel is both a bakery and a restaurant. The restaurant offers good local dishes for in the afternoon and evening for around 1500CFA.
Getting Around
  • Sandaga market/city centre: there is a bus stop on the highway outside the hostel, slightly to the right. From here, you can catch the white #4 bus to the Petersen gare routiere (bus station), which is in the heart of downtown — 200CFA. Taxi should be about 1500-2000.
  • Visiting the Renaissance African statue and lighthouse (Mamelles): I took a private taxi for 1000 there, and caught the #49 bus back (it didnt take me directly into S-C-3 but close enough to easily walk without getting lost!) Bear in mind that you’re not missing much if you don’t see these! The statue is nice to see because you’ll understand why people don’t like it! It’s massive and pretty hideous. The lighthouse is totally ugly and the views aren’t great unless the sky is clear. But if you’ve got nothing better to do…
  • Leaving Dakar: Petersen, Pompeii, and beyond. #4 bus to Petersen GR (200CFA). Find the #55 bus, tell them you are going to Pompeii GR (100CFA), and they will let you off in what seems to be the middle of nowhere on the side of the highway, but will also tell you which direction to find the garage. This is where many cars can be found for a variety of places.

Dakar to Ndangane (via Mbour + Joal)

  • 7-place from Pompeii garage — 1000CFA + 1000bag (+ random 200 once on the road… I assume they took a poll and decided that we would collectively pay for the toll roads to make the trip faster; no complaints here!)
  • shared taxi to transfer to the other garage (this is very common) — 100CFA
  • 7-place to Joal — 750 + 500 bag
  • Stopped for lunch at the first Joal garage. Delicious theiboudienne across the road for 600CFA.
  • Transfer to other garage in Joal, shared taxi — 100CFA
  • Joal-Fidoult to Ndangane — 1000 + 1000bag (seems like too high a price to me, but the “roads” were rough).
  • tagged along for a transfer to the campement side of the town, free!

Ndangane (pronounced dahn-gahn, unlike any other attempt I tried)

Room at the Barracuda

Room at the Barracuda

See here for why I did not like this place!

Where to Stay
  • Everything is crazy expensive in this place. The prices of Le Barracuda have nearly doubled since the production of the LP guide, but they are still at the lowest range of prices in the area, plus they gave me a great deal anyways. Standard price is 12,000/15,000 for s/d. I got 15000 for 2 nights (being near-to-tears helps). Room was very clean and comfortable, with private bath and hot water.
Eating Out
  • It’s totally possible to walk to the other side of town (for the working class) to find some good cheap food, but I got so frustrated that I just had a loaf of bread and a fanta.  Otherwise your options are overpriced local food or even more overpriced attempts at European food.
  • However, the bar across the street from Le Barracuda had large cold Gazelle beer for 1200CFA.

Ndangane to Tambacounda

Decided to high-tail it outta there and head inland, to cross the eastern border in to Gambia

  • owner of the hotel drove me to the other side of town for free (very nice man)
  • minibus to Ndiosmone — 900CFA + 300bag
  • waited about 20 minutes for a bus to Kaolack which just kind of rolled by.. (grabbed breakfast while waiting) — 1000CFA
  • taxi collectif to transfer garages in Kaolack, 200CFA
  • minibus to Tamba, 5000 + 500bag (bad decision! It took at least 4 hours to fill the remaining 6 seats, and took about 7 hours once we were on our way)
  • sept place for Tamba was only 6500 plus bag. Would have been well worth it.
  • shared taxi to hotel in Tamba — 1000CFA (high, but it was after 1am!)

Tambacounda

Read here about how much I LOVED this place!

Where to Stay
  • Bloc Gadec is the hostel in Tamba. It’s clean and comfortable, enough. Hard bed and fairly hot, but not so bad if you get the bed by the window (and keep it open)! — 4000CFA/night in 4 bed dorm. Free continental breakfast (bread, jam/butter, and nescafe/tea). Hot water.
Eating Out
That guy hustles!

That guy hustles!

  • It’s about 20 minutes walking to the centre of the town (where the highway passes intersects the main road). Near to the garage is a line of hustling omelette stands. These guys are pretty incredible just to watch!
  • Headed in this direction, I came across Le Baobab, a local pub, which looks like nothing on the outside, but opens up to be huge inside, and looks to have a sound system set up for weekend dancing. 700CFA for a large gazelle.
  • On the way back from here, I found rows of tables on the main road, and got some couscous with some sort of sketchy fish sauce for 500. Lady was super cute though! Loved it.
Getting Around
  • I walked everywhere, but there is a stand of charming guys on the corner offering moto-taxis to anywhere in town, for I’m sure 500 or less.

Getting out of Senegal (and into The Gambia): Tambacounda to Basse Santa Su

The "sept-place" became more like "quatorze-place"

The “sept-place” became more like “quatorze-place”

  • sept-place to Vallengara — 2500CFA + 750 bag
  • mototaxi transfer to Basse garage (they really wanted to sell me on a private car all the way, and didn’t want to tell me there were shared cars at another location) — 500CFA
  • “sept”-place (really there were 14 of us and a guy on the roof) across the border and to the outskirts of Basse — 1400 +500bag
  • visa is free. Border processes are simple and fairly fast.
  • car dropped us a the outskirt of the city. About a 15 minute walk into town and it was hot, hot, hot. Probably should have flagged a car.

Getting back into Senegal (and out of The Gambia): Banjul/Serrakunda to Ziguinchor

  • minibus from Westfield junction (in Banjul/Serrakunda) to Brikama station — 18 dalasis
  • changed money at the station — 415 dalasis for 5000CFA
  • 7 place to border — 50CFA (20 min)
  • 7 place to ziguinchor — 2500 CFA + 500bag

Ziguinchor20140315-154733.jpg

This was also another place that I didn’t love. Very pretty, but two separate guys were extremely persistent in trying to push their friendship upon me – to the point where I was actually followed through town and then into a restaurant where I was trying to get away from him. Really off-putting. But I had to stay to get my Guinea Bissau visa!

Where to Stay
  • Auberge Aw-Bay is somewhat outside the city, but is of better value than some other places I checked out in this price range — 5600/night, dbl bed w/ bathroom, very clean and comfortable. Recommended.
Eating Out
  • Ate mainly around the garage as I was coming in and out. Not too much around the Auberge, but you can find some basic street food in the evenings out on the main road.
Getting Around
  • all taxis should be 500CFA, but they like to get more out of you when you’re a tourist. In my opinion, Senegal was particularly bad for this.

Ziguinchor to Cap Skirring

2014-03-14 19.15.38

  • It’s not a very far trip! There is a junction before getting into the town; if you get down from the car here, Benjamin at Aubergede la Paix will meet you there and walk you in.
  • 7 place — 1700 + 500
  • minibus — 1300 + 500

CBAO ATM machine now operating in Cap. I took out money with my Visa.

Where to Stay
  • Auberge de la Paix was very quiet when I was there, but was a great few days for me to chill on the beach. 6000/night for a dbl room.
Eating Out
  • There is one restaurant serving local dishes at local prices near the junction; ask around. Otherwise, there are meals served on demand at the Auberge for tourist prices, but if you make friends, the staff may invite you to join them for free.
Getting Around
  • private taxi to/from town was 700. Shared is 150.

Getting out of Senegal (and into Guinea Bissau): Ziguinchor to Sao Domingo

  • Get your visa in Ziguinchor.
  • 7 place — 1500 CFA (bag included)
  • customs will look through your bag so long as you keep pulling out stuff to show them. Otherwise, just open a couple pockets, and then move along. Another simple west African border (with all the usual marriage proposals!)

Getting back into Senegal (and out of Guinea Bissau): Bissau to Kolda

  • I failed at this. I am sure that there is a better route to take, which crosses at a different spot, farther east. But this is how I went:
    • Blue & Yellow bus on Enterramento line to garage — 100 CFA
    • 7 place for Ziguinchor (arrived by 10 but it took 2 hrs to fill and 4 hrs to travel) — 4000 (no bag charge)
    • 7 place for Kolda — 4500 + 500 (took another 2 hours to fill and was another 4 hour journey. Would have totally preferred to stay in Zig another night).
    • mototaxi to auberge — 500

Getting out of Senegal, again (into Mali): Kolda to Kayes

  • I have nothing to say about Kolda, as I arrived late and left early, except that if you can avoid it, the Auberge Domaine (the cheapest place, according to the locals I spoke to) was hot, dirty, loud, and extremely overpriced! 8000CFA for a double; shared shower and squat toilet. I recommend stopping in Zig or getting all the way to Tamba, if you can.
  • 7 place to Tamba — 5500 + 1000 bag
  • Stayed again at the Bloc Gadec in Tamba, 4000CFA dorm, 200 mototaxi
  • taxi to gare routier — 1000 (it’s a bit out of town)
  • 7 place to Kidira — 5500 + 1000 bag
  • mototaxi through to the actual border — 1000
  • Malian visa, 30 days — 20000CFA
  • Transportation through border into Mali is found before you pay for the visa. I was given the prices of 5000CFA for a private taxi, 3000 for a 7 place and 2500 for a bus. I did not at first trust this information, or understand the system, so took none of these options (read about my epic fail here) and ended up hitchhiking from the border.

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