Senegal and The Gambia: A Cultural and Wildlife Odyssey

Senegal and The Gambia: A Cultural and Wildlife Odyssey 1190 , 10 Days

Desert lands, tropical forests and magnificent coasts. On this unique holiday in West Africa we discover two different nations: tropical Gambia and exotic Senegal. We walk through French colonial towns, see prolific birdlife and visit the megalithic stone circles at Wassu. We also explore some of the region's finest wildlife parks, cruise down the Gambia River and venture into the Saloum Delta by traditional pirogue canoe.

Highlights:
♦ Djoudj - one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the world
Saloum Delta - explore the river delta by a boat through mangroves and aquatic birds
Isle de Goree - a tranquil island with tragic history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

View Route Map

Itinerary:

Day 1. Dakar
Arrival to the capital of Senegal - Dakar. Transfer to the hotel for overnight. -/-/-

Day 2. Dakar - Île de Gorée (Gore Island) - Dakar.
We will start the day with a city tour in Dakar: the Cathedral, Presidential lodge, Monument of African Renaissance, National museum, Sandaga market, Kermel market and Simboudioune market. In the afternoon, we will take the ferry to the historical Gore Island where we spend a couple of hours. The island used to be one of the biggest slave-trading centers on the African coast. It is estimated that about 20 million slaves passed through the island during its most active years - between 16th and 19th century. Here we will see The House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) - the place where hundreds of slaves were held before boarding the ships to be exported. Nowadays it functions as a museum and a memorial to these horrific times. There are no sealed roads and no cars on this island, just narrow alleyways with colonial brick buildings. Back to Dakar for overnight. B/-/-

Day 3. Dakar - Mbour - Toubakouta
Our first stop for the day is the town of Mbour, about 80 kilometers south of Dakar. It is home to one of the largest fishing ports in the country and fishing plays a central role in the everyday life of the locals. Here we will learn more about the local life, the traditional way of fishing and visit the local fish market. After that, we continue towards the village of Toubakouta, located near the Saloum Delta. The rest of the day is dedicated to exploring the delta - a unique ecosystem that boasts an abundance of wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers. It is home to over 200 species of birds, including the iconic pink flamingos, pelicans, and various migratory birds. Overnight in a camp in Toubakouta or nearby. B/-/-

Day 4. Toubakouta - Sipo Village - Bird island - Toubakouta
Today we will dive deeper into the local culture of the delta. We will start with a short boat ride through the mangrove forests to reach the island village of Sipo, home to a small community of about 100 people. We will walk around the hay houses, enjoy the beach views and soak in the tranquil atmosphere and the slow life of the village. Until just a few years ago, Sipo was the only village in the region that had a female chief - the famed and respected Queen of Sipo. She had been the queen of the island for more than 70 years and was known as a healer in her community, helping local women in childbirth. She was also looking after the Serer prayer places and happily received courtesy visits from travelers, which made her a kind of celebrity in the adventure travel community. When she passed away in 2019, her son inherited the chiefdom and continues to welcome travellers to his community and spread his mother's legacy. We will then continue with a visit to Bird Island, where we can spot many of the bird species the region is known for, including pelicans and migratory birds. We will then head back to Toubakouta for overnight. B/-/-

Day 5. Toubakouta - Georgetown (the Gambia)
Today we have a long drive ahead of us (8-9 hours). We will cross the border between Senegal and The Gambia and drive to Janjanbureh (formerly known as Georgetown) where we will spend the night in a camp. B/-/-

Day 6. Baboon Island - Wassu Stone Circles - Tendaba
Our first stop for today will be the Wassu Stone Circles, also known as The Circles of Senegambia - one of the largest groups of megalithic stone circles in the world and probably one of the most mysterious sites in Africa. The stones are believed to date back between the 23rd century B.C. and the 16th century A.D. There are many, sometimes contradicting beliefs about the purpose of the stones among the locals. Some believe that they were created by gods at the beginning of time, others believe that even nowadays there are home to evil spirits. The most common explanation, however, shared both by locals and archeologists, is that they were burial markers used by a mysterious prosperous, and highly organized ancient civilization with great geological and technical knowledge. There are some theories that they marked mass graves - probably victims of battles or epidemic diseases. To get to the stones from Georgetown, we need two boat transfers, as well as a public bus, shared with the locals. We will then continue with a boat trip around Baboon Island - one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in The Gambia. Here we will have the chance to see some more of the local bird species, as well as hippos and manatees. Thanks to the efforts of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Camp project, the islands are now also inhabited by over 100 baboons, some of which, if we are lucky, we can see from the boats in their natural habitat. Since the island is a conservation project, it is not allowed to land on it and it is off-limits even for the staff at the sanctuary. In the evening we are heading to the region of Tendaba in the west of the country, where we will spend the night in a camp. B/-/-

Day 7. Tendeba - Touba
This morning we will have some free time to relax and enjoy the scenery before we head back to Senegal. We will spend the night in the city of Touba - the second most populated Senegalese city after Dakar. The city is a holy place for the Mouride brotherhood - a large Sufi order mainly in Senegal and The Gambia. The order was founded by Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba in 1883 and the city of Touba was built by his son and followers a few years later. Here we will visit the Great Mosque of Touba - one of the biggest mosques in Africa, with a capacity of up to 7000 people. The mosque is home to the tomb of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba, which makes it a pilgrimage for followers of the order. Overnight in a hotel in Touba. B/-/-

Day 8. Tuba - Saint Louis (Senegal) 
Today we are driving north to the city of St.Luis - the city was the capital of the French colony of Senegal and was an important economic center during that period. It has preserved a lot of its distinct colonial architecture, and thanks to that it was added to UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. We will have a tour of the historical parts and spend the night in a hotel in the city. B/-/-

Day 9. Saint Louis - Djoudj National Park - Lompoul
Our first stop today is Djoudj National Park - a sanctuary for hundreds of migratory bird species, pelicans, and flamingos. Here we will have a short boat trip and learn more about the amazing wildlife of these wetlands. After that, we will continue driving toward the village of Loumpoul - a gateway to the Lompoul desert. From here we will take a 4x4 truck to the desert camp where we will spend the night enjoying the romantic atmosphere and tranquility of the desert.  B/-/-

Day 10. Departure
Today we are heading back to Dakar. We will drive straight to the airport to finish the tour. B/-/-

Looking for an extension to this trip? Check our Guinea-Bissau tour, which can easily be done after the end of this trip. Click here to see the Guinea-Bissau itinerary and more details. 

Click here to see a photo diary from our most recent trips to Senegal and the Gambia.


Price Includes:
8 nights standard hotels/camps/ lodges rooms with private facilities
1 night in a tent camp in Lompoul (2 people in a tent) with private open roof bathroom
breakfast from day 2 to day 10
all transport
local English speaking guide
tour leader from Penguin Travel (at min. 8 p)

Not Included:
international flights
insurance
tips and personal expenses
entrance fees
drinks and meals not mentioned in the program
visas
additional activities ordered and paid on spot

Additional Services:
Small Group Supplement (4-5 persons travelling together): 170 EUR per person


Gallery


Senegal and The Gambia: A Cultural and Wildlife Odyssey (Rated 4.79 / 5 Based on 409 Reviews.)
Price
1190 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
220 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
This tour can also be organised as a private tour on a date of your choice. Please contact us for a quote and more details.
Price
1350 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
280 EUR
Status
Open for booking
This tour can also be organised as a private tour on a date of your choice. Please contact us for a quote and more details.
Price
1350 EUR
Duration
10 Days
Single Supplement
280 EUR
Status
Open for booking
This tour can also be organised as a private tour on a date of your choice. Please contact us for a quote and more details.

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
6-12
Reservation System Code
Senegal/Gambia
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