Senegal Gambia Guinea-Bissau – the Gateway to Africa – 12/16 days

Africa
|
12
days | 2 - 12 people in a group
tour description

nature, history, culture, sightseeing

The area of the current countries of Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. used to be called the Gateway to Africa. It is one of the most cultural and historical interesting areas of the African continent. During our trip, we will visit most important cultural and natural attractions of the three countries visit.

We will also try to comprehensively present to our travellers the unique cultural, ethnic and religious mosaic of Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau that have shaped the contemporary image of these countries. We will also visit local markets, delve into the secrets of salt mining and go to Touba – one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Senegal Muslims. For nature lovers, especially birdwatchers, a definite highlight will be the visits in the Saloum Delta National Park and Djoudj National Park and Orango National Park.

itinerary

Flights to Dakar usually take place in the afternoon and evening. After arrival, visa formalities. Transfer to the hotel and, after a short rest, an organisational meeting and dinner.

D.

After breakfast, we will take a ferry to the Gorèe Island. It is a small volcanic island that between the 16th and 19th century was a fort and one of the largest slave markets in West Africa. Owing to its unique history and architecture, it was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List. After lunch, return to Dakar. We will go for a sightseeing visit of the city, during which we will see one of its oldest districts, the Plateau District. In the capital of Senegal, we will see the Independence Square, the presidential palace, the cathedral and the railway station. At the end of the day, there will be some time for shopping at the Soumbedioune Artisan Market. Dinner and night rest at the hotel.

B. L. D.

After breakfast, we will leave Dakar and set off for Noflaye. We will visit the centre for conservation and reproduction of desert tortoises. Then we will drive to the Pink Lake – Lac Ratba. If anybody wants, it will be possible to take a bath in waters of the lake that owes its pink colour to blue-green algae, the only organisms able to live in its highly salted waters. Lunch in a hotel on the lakeside. In the afternoon, a drive to a salt mining site. We will also visit the nearby villages on the ocean shore. Dinner and night rest in the hotel located near Lac Ratba.

B.L.D.

Before breakfast, the avid photographers will have an opportunity to take a morning trip to see a beautiful sunrise. After breakfast, we will leave the Pink Lake and set off for Lompoul. En route we will stop in Thiès where we will visit the local small factories and artisan workshops and have lunch. Then we will continue our drive to Lompoul. We will stay there for the night in tents at a desert camp. In the afternoon, a walk around the dunes and an option of a ride on off-road vehicles or camels. Dinner and night rest in our desert camp.

B.L.D.

After breakfast, we will leave the desert camp and set off for Saint Louis, a city located on the Senegal River which provides a natural border with Mauritania. It was founded in mid-17th century by French colonisers. To the beginning of the 20th century, it was a capital of French colonies in West Africa. We will see the unique colonial architecture protected by UNESCO. We will visit the local souvenir market and a fishing port. Dinner and night rest at the hotel.

B.L.D.

In the morning, we will set off to the one-day trip to the Djoudj National Park, one of the most valuable bird sanctuaries in West Africa. We will visit the park on foot, by off-road vehicles and from the boat deck. Depending on the season of the year, many species of birds that flew there from Europe can be encountered in the park. It is one of the most important places to spend the winter for them. We will also encounter many African species for which it is one of few nesting sites in this progressively drying part of Africa. In the afternoon, return to Saint Louis. Dinner and night rest at the hotel.

B.L.D.

Early in the morning we will leave Saint Louis and set off to the south of Taubacouta. En route we will stop in Touba, where the largest mosque in Senegal is located. Touba is the second largest city after Dakar and a capitol of the Sufi Mouride brotherhood. During our stay, we will visit the grand mosque. We will go for lunch to Kaolack on the Saloum River. It is the location of the second largest covered market in Africa. It is the agricultural capital of south Senegal. We will drive to Toubacouta where we will stay for the night.

B.L.D.

In the morning, we will set off to the one-day trip to the Saloum Delta National Park. We will visit it on foot and by boats. We will see the protected area of mangrove forests which provide the habitat for many animal species. There we can meet African manatees, which is a species at the brink of extinction because of hunting and loss of habitats, along with marshbucks and numerous species of birds and amphibians. In the evening, return to Toubacouta. Dinner and night rest at the hotel.

B.L.D.

After breakfast, we will leave Toubaucouta and set off towards the border with the Republic of Gambia. We will cross the border in Karang. Then, already in Gambia, we will go to the small town of Jufureh and to the James Island (Kunta Kinteh) with ruins of a fort established in the 16th century. The fort changed its owners many times (Duchy of Courland, the Great Britain, France, the Netherlands). It is entered in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Then we will set off for the small town of Barra where we will take a ferry to the capital of Gambia – Banjul, located on the Saint Mary Island where the Gambia River reaches the Atlantic. Lunch in one of local restaurants. Drive to Bakau, to the Atlantic shore. There will be time for a bath and relaxation. Dinner and night rest at the hotel.

B.L.D.

In the morning, we will leave for the Makasutu Culture Forest where we will see the fauna and flora of mangrove forests on the Gambia River. Along the educational trails we will be able to watch many species of birds and insects. We will also board a small boat from which we will observe the forest. Apart from the natural attractions, when visiting the nearby villages we will have lunch at one of local restaurants. Then we will visit the capital of Gambia. Return to Bakau, relaxation on the beach. Dinner at our hotel.

B.L.D.

Leisure time and relaxation on the beach. For those interested in bird conservation, a trip to the Tanji Nature Preserve.

B.L.D.

After breakfast, last sightseeing and an opportunity to swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic. In the afternoon or evening, depending on the time of departure, transfer to the airport.

B.L.

In the morning we leave Gambia and again entry to Senegal. On the way we will stop for lunch in the border town of Ziguinchor. After a short rest, we will go to the border of Senagal and Guinea-Bissau Depending on the time of arrival, a short city tour in Guinea-Bissau’s capital – Bissau. Dinner at our hotel.

B.L./D.

In the morning, we will go to visit the capital of Guinea Bissau. We will see unique colonial buildings, the Palace of National Heroes, Fort São Josè da Amura built in the 17th century by Portuguese colonists. We will also visit the local market in the colonial part of the city. Then we will go to the town of Quinhámel, where there will be an opportunity to meet the inhabitants of the Papel ethnic group. During the stay, we will learn about the culture customs and traditional ceremony of Papel people. In the afternoon we will return to Bissau. Dinner at our hotel.

B.L.D.

After breakfast, we will go on a cruise from Bissau to Rubane Island, which is one of the most beautiful islands of the Bissagos archipelago. We will also visit the Canhabaque island where matriarchy is still a very important element of culture. We will go in to meet the queen and the king of the island. Afternoon return to Rubane Island relaxing on a paradise beach. Overnight in ecological hotel located on the beach

B.L.D.

In the morning, we will set off to the one-day trip to Orango National Park. The area of the park is protected by a variety of habitats such as rainforests, coastal savannas, mangroves and coastal dunes. There will also be an opportunity to see the isolated populations of hippos and crocodiles inhabiting the island of Orango in the Atlantic Ocean. Afternoon return to Rubane island free time. Dinner and overnight at the hotel located on the beach.

B.L.D.

After breakfast, last opportunity to take a swim in the warm waters of the Atlantic. At noon we will go on a cruise from Rubane Island to Bissau. In the afternoon or evening, depending on the departure, transfer to the airport.

B.L.

Practical information

  • the length of the tour : 12 or 16 days in Africa;
  • start of the trip: Dakar – Senegal
  • end of the trip: Banjul – The Gambia  or Bissau – Guinea Bissau
  • the highlights of this expedition The highlight of the tour will be the visit to one of the most interesting regions of Africa from the natural and cultural point of view. We will also try to comprehensively present to our travellers the unique cultural, ethnic and religious mosaic of Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau that have shaped the contemporary image of these countries. We will also visit local markets, delve into the secrets of salt mining and go to Touba – one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Senegal Muslims. For nature lovers, especially birdwatchers, a definite highlight will be the visits in the Saloum Delta National Park and Djoudj National Park and Orango National Park. The tour will be an expedition to one of the regions of Africa least visited by tourists. It will be oriented on nature, cultural and sightseeing tourism. Because of the special nature of the visited places and of the expedition features, the travellers are required to be physically and mentally fit. In most places, accommodation will be provided in hotels and small eco hotels near the beaches. For one night only, the plan is to stay overnight in tents in the Lompoul area of Senegal. Other difficulties include temperatures around +30°C, high humidity of the air and dust.

 

Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned end of the tour.

  1. No visa is required for the Republic of Senegal for UK and EU citizens.
  2. We get a visa to the republic of Gambia when crossing the border with Senegal
  3. We obtain a Guinea-Bissau visa for UK and EU citizens in Senegal before crossing the border with Guinea-Bissau

You should take with you for the trip a photocopy of your passport (the photo page) and an additional ID document.

It is not necessary to take the vaccination booklet with you with the valid vaccination against gold fever, however, infections with yellow fever have been reported in both countries

Before departure, we recommend a consultation with a family physician and a tropical medicine specialist.

Vaccination against yellow fever, tetanus, diphtheria, viral hepatitis A and B, meningococci and typhus is recommended.

Malaria prevention measures (Malarone or Lariam) are necessary.

In some regions, there is a risk of ebola but curently it is very low.

There is a risk of dengue and tuberculosis at the places planned to be visited during the trip.

We recommend visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries.

During our expedition, we will drink only bottled water. You should avoid ice in your beverages and eating raw or under cooked foods. In the Senegal Gambia and Guinea Bissau it is possible to obtain medical care only in in the capitals of the visited countries and in larger cities

The cost of a private medical visit is usually over USD 100, and a day of hospitalisation costs between USD 100 and 200.

Because of difficult travelling and accommodation conditions and particularities of the country, good physical fitness is necessary. Furthermore, your patience will definitely be tested and you should prepare for hardships of long journeys, lassitude and discomfort.

Please take with you a first aid kit and a sufficient supply of your regular (prescription) medicines, if any. Some useful contents of the first aid kit:

  • insect repellents – absolutely necessary
  • medicines for malaria prevention
  • high sun protection cream (recommended SPF 50)
  • disinfectants, wound dressing materials
  • analgesics and antipyretics
  • antibiotics, as a precaution
  • anti-diarrhoeals, electrolytes and vitamins

Currently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is moderately stable. In some regions of the country, there is a risk of armed conflict and terrorist threat. However, we design our itineraries so as to avoid places that are potentially dangerous (the north-eastern region – border area with the Central African Republic and South Sudan – and region the south-eastern region – border area with the Angolan Enclave of Cabinda).

The Republic of Senegal, the republic of Gambia and Guinea-Bissau are currently relatively stable and relatively safe countries. In some parts of the country there is a terrorist threat or a threat related to an armed conflict. However, we arrange our travel programs in such a way as to avoid potentially dangerous places (eastern region, border area with Mali).

It is very important to stay vigilant at such places as markets and crowded streets, because of pickpockets and rare robberies. You should avoid walking alone, especially after dark.

Owing to the good relations we have with local contractors, we keep following the news to be aware of any potential threats and safety risks. We also recommend you to read the latest news on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

During the tour, please take seriously the instructions of our contractors, guides and tour leader.

It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws and regulations. You will receive the necessary information on an on-going-basis from your local guides and the tour leader.

It is strictly prohibited to take photos and make video recordings at military and police installations and at airports. You are also not allowed to take photos where people in military/police uniforms are present!!!

Photographing people is possible only when they expressly agree to it. Taking pictures when the subjects have not allowed it often ends up with escalating aggressive behaviours.

The legal tender in the Senegal and Gambia  is West African franc. The legal tender in the Republic of Guinea Bissau is  dalasi. Currency exchange is possible at the airport and in banks. Using payment cards is possible only in hotels and in restaurants in capitals of both countries. Caution should be exercised because of frequent data theft scams. The best foreign exchange rate is for euros and US dollars. UK pounds are not generally exchangeable. Apart from big cities, payments are possible only in local currencies.

For current foreign exchange rates see www.xe.com or install xe.com on your phone.

In the Republic of Senegal, the official language is French. In the Republic of Gambia, the official language is English. Portuguese is the official language of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. In addition, Wolof and Arabic are in common use, along with many local languages in different parts of both countries. In the case of a group trip, the tour leader will speak French or English. In the event of an individual trip, knowledge of English and French is essential. and Portuguese.

Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau are countries inhabited by many ethnic groups professing different religions. In Senegal, the followers of Sunni Islam are overwhelmingly dominant. The law and customs in many Senegalese regions are based on religious law, which translates into the prohibition of drinking alcohol in public places and the need to wear appropriate clothing covering the body. In Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, a large proportion of the inhabitants are Christians belonging to various Protestant churches and the Catholic Church. Traditional African religions are an essential part of the customs and beliefs of individual ethnic groups and local communities.

It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws. You will receive the relevant information from your local guide or the tour leader.

The tour dates are proposed in periods of the best possible weather conditions at the sites included in the itinerary. The best time for trips to the Senegal Gambia and Guinea Bissau  is the period between November and May. Temperatures are up to +38°C during the day and +24°C at night. High air humidity and rainfalls, sometimes heavy, should be expected. A considerable difficulty is the bad quality of roads, especially the mud after rainfalls.

For detailed information see https://www.meteoblue.com/en.

Mobile network coverage is available in most towns and villages. In areas outside of large towns, mobile network services are practically unavailable. Purchase of a local SIM-card is complicated and of little benefit. Before the trip, please enquire with your mobile network operator whether they have a contract signed with operators in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau. To avoid a nasty surprise, we recommend disabling mobile data usage.

Wi-Fi is available only in hotels in the capitals of both countries.

Additionally, we recommend taking a capacious power bank, solar charger or car charger. In national parks and in the course of car rides, it will be possible to charge electronic equipment only from vehicle power supplies.

    • Senegal              power sockets of type C, D, E,      Voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz.
    • Gambia              power sockets of type, G                 Voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz.
    • Gwinea Bissau  power sockets of type C, E,            Voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz.

For climatic and cultural reasons, loose garments will be most appropriate: long trousers, long skirts, long-sleeved shirts, which can be easily washed and will quickly dry. The most comfortable footwear for the tour will be lightweight boots. Palladium brand boots are recommended. You may walk in open sandals but in towns and desert regions this may be uncomfortable because of stones, thorny plants and sharp grasses. Light hiking boots may prove useful. The following are worth taking:

  • aluminium sleeping pad or light self-inflating mat and thin summer sleeping bag; we provide a mattress during the trip but taking your own pad or mat will improve your sleeping comfort
  • sachet for documents and money
  • wet wipes for body cleaning and antibacterial gels
  • dry shampoo
  • polar fleece jacket or warmer blouse, especially useful at evening and night times
  • head cover and sunglasses – mandatory, the sun is no joke!
  • comfortable summer clothes, useful during practically the whole trip
  • light T-shirts/shirts
  • useful odds and ends: torch, Swiss Army knife, sewing kit (usually is not needed but is not heavy and does not take much place), chargers, mug (for special occasions); inflatable neck pillow, useful on the plane and during car rides; small wallet for the local currency; books to pass the time on flights and car rides

Price

Price depends on number of participants. Please refer to list below:

Program – 12 days Senegal, Gambia
  • £ 4690  p/p  – group of 2
  • £ 3590  p/p  – group of 3
  • £ 3290  p/p  – group of 4
  • £ 2890  p/p  – group of 5
  • £ 2690  p/p  – group of 6
  • £ 2490  p/p  – group of 7 – 8
  • £ 2290  p/p  – group of 9 – 10
  • £ 2190  p/p  – group of 11 – 12
Program – 16 days Senegal, Gambia,  Guinea Bissau
supplement
  • £ 1790  p/p  – group of 2
  • £ 1690  p/p  – group of 3
  • £ 1590  p/p  – group of 4
  • £ 1490  p/p  – group of 5
  • £ 1390  p/p  – group of 6
  • £ 1290  p/p  – group of 7 – 8
  • £ 1190  p/p  – group of 9 – 10
  • £ 990  p/p  – group of 11 – 12
Price includes

During the tour, we will  we will travel by passenger cars or minibuses, and also, if necessary, by off-road vehicles. Our cars may not be equipped with air conditioning or the air conditioning system may be switched off because of too much dust particles in the air. Speed depends on the road surface conditions, terrain characteristics and number and length of stops.During our trips we plan cruises on motor and rowing boats in Senegal, Gambia and cruises between the islands in Guinea-Bissau.

We are not able to guarantee a uniform accommodation standard at each of the planned sites during the stay in the Senegal Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Our priorities are your comfort, appropriate location, character of the site and historical, cultural and natural values. We always place emphasis on the support of local community when selecting the sites for our accommodation. In general, rooms will be assigned on the assumption of two people sharing a twin room (rooms with individual bathrooms). The surcharges for single rooms are quoted in the “Price” section. During our tour, we plan accommodation in capitals of both countries in 4- and 3-star hotels, depending on availability.

  • In addition, there will be one overnight stay in traditional Moorish tents at a desert campsite near Lpumpoul – Senegal.
  • In Guinea-Bissau on Rubane Island, accommodation in small eco hotel by the beach

Meals are included in the tour price, as specified in the itinerary. B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner. In most places we will visit, shops and markets are well stocked but prices of some goods – especially the imported ones – may be higher than in most European countries.Cuisine of Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. it is extremely diverse, reflecting the local specificity and culture of the countries we will visit. Fish and seafood will have a large share in traditional dishes.

For information about the local costs of living see https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/.

Services of a tour guide,  local and special guides in national parks

All entrance fees and permits to visit national parks and reserves in the itinerary

The price includes the cost of tips and porters’ fees.

Trip preparation, documents necessary to obtain a visa

Price does not include

Costs of the main flight to Dakar – Senegal  and from Banjul- Gambia or Bissau – Guinea Bissau

Costs of flight tickets are not covered by the tour price. BTP Adventure does not directly arrange and buy tickets for international flights. However, we may suggest the best connections and airlines. For this purpose, contact us by e-mail or call us.

  • Visas for the visited countries:
  1. No visa is required for the Republic of Senegal for UK and EU citizens.
  2. We get a visa to the republic of Gambia when crossing the border with Senegal
  3. We obtain a Guinea-Bissau visa for UK and EU citizens in Senegal before crossing the border with Guinea-Bissau

Insurance is not covered by the tour price. Having valid insurance is a condition for taking part in the trip. We recommend taking out insurance that will be appropriate for the planned itinerary and for your individual state of health and needs. Please send us the proof of your insurance contract.

You can purchase insurance on your own on the website of Axa or any other insurance company: https://www.axa.co.uk/travel-insurance/.

BTP Adventure may help you obtain adequate insurance cover. If you want our help, please contact us.

Meals other than those listed in the final itinerary.

Personal expenses and souvenirs.

  • Surcharge for a single room and a single tent Senegal Gambia 12 days : 350 £.
  • Surcharge for a single room in Guinea-Bissau 150 £

supplementary payment for the additional accommodation  In the case of  arrival or departure on a different date,

We will keep updating the detailed information on the safety and final itinerary of the tour. Before you decide to submit the booking form, please learn about the current political and sanitary situation in the Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, especially at the places on the itinerary of our tour.

The planned expedition is an exclusive proposal prepared on the basis of our experience and knowledge of the local peculiarities and major sightseeing attractions of the Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau .

We are committed to ensure the best possible and safe and, as far as feasible, comfortable travelling through this rarely visited and extremely interesting country which is the Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.

Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.

The Senegal Gambia and Guinea-Bissau tour may be combined with the trips to Nigeria, Mali, Liberia, Niger or Cameroon. Ghana Benin Toga and Mauritania  If you are interested, please contact the office.

We can arrange a self-guided tour – if you are interested, please contact the office.

With any questions please contact BTP ADVENTURE

dates & prices
19/11/2022 - 30/11/2021
04/12/2022 - 15/12/2022
15/01/2023 - 26/01/2023
26/02/2023 - 09/03/2023
10/09/2023 - 21/09/2023

2190 £ group of 11 - 12

We can arrange a self-guided tour – if you are interested, please contact the office.

The trip can be combined with an expedition to the Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Ghana, Togo, Benin or Niger  for this purpose, please contact the office.

you can find price for the group in description
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