Dakar, Senegal

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2,925 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
We would appreciate suggestions for ' must see' ...and if you used a guide service, would you share the name. Paula
807 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by PaulaJK
We would appreciate suggestions for ' must see' ...and if you used a guide service, would you share the name. Paula

Hello Paula,

My husband and I visited Dakar on a Fred Olsencruise in February 2014 so things may have developed a bit since we were there.It is not a common destination for cruise ships so the ‘cruise infrastructure’ isnot developed in the way that passengers are used to in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.The area is relatively poor by western standards and can come as quite aculture shock to people who have not visited this part of the world before. Thelocal people showed us the best that they had which, sometimes, isn’t a lot.

My DH and I did ship’s tours. We often do differenttours as I have mobility difficulties and he is very fit so we find it is moresecure to travel with other passengers.

Below are the notes that I made for my diary whichmay be of use to you.


The City centre is approx 1.5km from dock and aShuttle bus ran from 09.15 to 17.30 on a continuous loop - £5pp tickets fromreception for unlimited use.
Dakar is a huge industrial port and there were taxis on the dock side near **********. There was also a small souvenir market on the dock side where you needto haggle.
The currency is CFA(Senegalese Franc but the € and US$ are widely accepted in souvenir shops.However, I did find that vendors appeared to have very little concept of the conversionrates and initially quoted ridiculously high prices for goods if I was offeringdollars or euros. I went armed with the current exchange rate in writing whichI then showed to the vendor during the haggling process.
The official Language is French and I found my very 'school girl' languageskills to be quite useful.
There were some WARNINGS in the 'Daily Times'. The Medical advice is to weartrousers, socks and long-sleeved tops + insect repellent and not to buy waterfrom street vendors. I was not aware of many insects and had no problem withbites but I did use the repellent quite liberally.
There was a warning about the danger of pick pockets so the advice was to keepvaluables well-guarded and also the fact that we would will be hassled by beggarsand traders.
The Senegal post office had a small stall selling cards and stamps just insidethe ship by the gangway. Postcards were
€1 for 2 cards and stamps were €2. The Post Office official will post them.
Bus was old but had working air conditioning.
Microphone didn't work so guide used a megaphone!
Dakar is a big bustling busy city but relatively poor by Western Europeanstandards.
Road surfaces are poor so ride was bumpy.
We were shown the best that Dakar has to offer which, again, is not a lot ifcompared with some other countries.
There were a couple of photo stops and there were souvenir sellers but theyseemed quite respectful.
There was a 40-minute stop at a restaurant where there was the opportunity towatch the 'sand painting' artist and purchase pictures. A beer/soft drink wasincluded. There were toilets.
The other stops (10 mins each) were at the Presidential Palace and the Monumentof the African Renaissance (a huge statue at the top of one of the only 2 hillsin Dakar).
The tour included driving past the palace, through the University grounds,through the street market, past the cathedral and mosque, along pastIndependence Square and then along the Cornish to see the coastline.
We couldn't go to the market as there was nowhere to park so we were taken backto the ship
There was a FO crew member with us throughout.
Was it worth it? That's adifficult question to answer but, on reflection, I would say yes because Ithink many people would find it quite intimidating to walk around the citycentre. Don't get me wrong, the people seemed polite and pleasant but the roadswere extremely busy and the pavements were really crowded. There didn't appearto be many of the types of shops that we are used to either. I also think youwould have needed to have done a lot of research to know the best places tovisit. I'm not sure how much English the taxi drivers would speak.

DSCN5140 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

DSCN5119 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

IMG_3552 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

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807 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
The bus was air conditioned.
There were 2 guides that took turns to give information. Both spoke goodEnglish.
It was a 2.5-hour drive to the river through interesting countryside .......Villages, farm land and forested areas.
There was a 10 min toilet stop at petrol station.....squat plate toilets
The terrain was very bumpy once off the main road.
Once the group neared the destination they were transferred on to a small canoetype boat which took them to the island. It held approx 14 passengers.
People had to climb in and out of the boat, without aid, from the beach....nosteps etc. The boat ride was approx 45mins.
When the passengers disembarked, they were then given the choice to ride to thevillage by cart or doing a 10 min walk.
Lunch was at the Island Eco-lodge and consisted of….Spring rolls, fish in lightcurry sauce, rice, salad and crepes plus a bottle of water.
This was followed by some free time so people could explore the island where there were quite a few different species of birds and otherforms of wildlife.
There was then a 50 minute ride to the 'shell village' where a local guideexplained the history of the area.
The group returned to the ship by a different route for part of the journey.
My DH said that he thoroughly enjoyed the tour as it gave him an inside intothe history and geography of Senegal.

IMG_3576 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

IMG_3581 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

IMG_3588 by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/]

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2,925 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Wow! Thank you for all of this excellent information. I particularly liked the photos from your husband's tour although I would find the journey daunting. Again, thank you. Paula
Staffordshire, UK
12 Posts
Joined May 2017
Hi Paula,
I have 2 login names...soccerref and izzywiz. I thought I’d let you know so you know it is me!!
I’m glad that you found the information useful. I would have loved to have done the countryside tour....much more my style. I’m not so keen on cities but, unfortunately, I can’t climb into low boats anymore. We do enjoy going to the more unusual places and experiencing diverse cultures so I hope you have a great time there.
Happy travelling