There is plenty to see and do in Senegal. The country offers intimate encounters with lions and other Africa's iconic animals; the hustle and bustle of modern Dakar; the eye-opening historic sites of slave trade; elegant and surprising colonial cities like Saint-Louis; national parks filled with millions of migratory birds; and - of course - unique culture and fantastic beaches.
Fathala Wildlife Reserve
Just 7 kilometres north of the border with The Gambia, in the delta of the Great Gambia River, there is the Fathala Wildlife Reserve, a safari park offering game rides and intimate encounters with the lions, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, warthogs and countless antelopes and emus.
Dakar and the Gorée Island
A return road trip from The Gambia to Senegal's bustling capital city of Dakar, can be done in one, very long day. The 300 kilometres distance can be done in about 5 hours. Starting before sunrise south of the river, taking the first 06:00 a.m. ferry from Banjul to Barra, and returning on the last ferry from Barra to Banjul at 11:00 p.m., leaves about 6 hours to rush through Dakar and the infamous, yet very pretty, Gorée Island. If ones does not want to rush, it is better to reserve two days for the trip.
Saint-Louis and the Djoujd Birds Sanctuary
The two UNESCO-listed sites of Saint-Louis and the Djoujd Birds Sanctuary (Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj), both on the banks of the Senegal River, are absolute gems of West Africa. The photogenic Saint-Louis is 260 kilometres north of Dakar, which takes 4.5 hours to drive. The birds' sanctuary is 65 kilometres farther north, requiring at least 1.5 hours more. From Barra, it takes 7 hours to drive to Saint-Louis or 8 hours directly to Djoudj National Park. With enough stamina, one could do the following:
Day 1 - 06:00 Banjul/Barra ferry crossing; 13:30 arrival in Saint-Louis
Day 2 - 06:00 Saint-Louis to Djoudj; 14:30 latest departure from Djoudj to Barra; 23:00 Barra/Banjul ferry crossing
Casamance, Senegal's 'betrayed province'
The southern province of Casamance, called the breadbasket of the Senegal, south of the border with The Gambia, offers endless wetlands boasting thick mangroves, as well as fantastic beaches and flamboyant resorts. The land is filled with unique culture, photogenic villages, and is a dreamland for birdwatchers. Casamance was promised independence, which never came.