Classic Senegal & The Gambia
Merging cultural experiences with important histories and stunning landscapes, this 10-day tour through Senegal and The Gambia brings you to a part of Africa that’s seldom explored. Learn about daily life in a local Wolof village, immerse yourself in Gambia’s important slave history, and get time to relax on sandy beaches in between. Experience what West Africa has to offer before the rest of the world gets to these unique destinations.
Goree Island tour. Lake Retba visit. Lompoul Desert stay and traditional Senegalese dinner. Saint-Louis calèche tour. Djoudj National Park boat tour. Local Wolof village visit. Touba Grand Mosque. Tour of Jufureh and Kunta Kinteh Island. Half day Banjul city tour. Mbour fish market visit. Free time at Somone beach. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Visit historic Goree Island, see workers collecting salt at Lake Retba, spot pelicans and flamingos at a bird sanctuary, relax on the beaches of Banjul, get a taste of Senegal at the local fish market.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, be your conduit to the local culture and experiences of this tour, recommend some local eating venues, help the group with translation when visiting local communities, and introduce you to our local friends. In West Africa, we actually use the term “guide” more than Chief Experience Officer (CEO), as it comes from the equivalent word in French, which is used regularly there.
In addition to managing the tour itself, you can expect your CEO to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, but compared to many places, the quality of local guides in this region is low. (Remember very few tourists actually visit these areas. Your leader will speak english, but often English is the 3rd, 4th, or 5th language of our guides. As such, please be patient – English speakers in the French speaking countries are rare.)
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 8.
9 breakfasts, 5 dinners
When an evening meal is not included, your hotel will have a restaurant or your will be advised of a good local restaurant. Breakfast in the hotels are usually French style: coffee or tea, and bread with butter and jam. Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival.
Please note all bottled drinking water and other drinks will be at your own expense.
Private minibus, ferry, 4×4, boat, walking.
About our Transportation
We use a minibus for this tour, normally Toyota Hiace, or for large groups Toyota Coaster.
With sliding windows, bench seats, and an aisle on one side, these vans that we use are common in the region and comfortable.
Road conditions can run the full range of conditions from relatively new in the cities to old, deteriorating, very poor, and even almost non-existent. During dry seasons, the roads can become very dusty.
This style of travel is by no means luxurious, but the seats are comfortable and having our own private vehicles allow us the flexibility of making stops when needed and visit far out of the way destinations.
Please note for your own safety it is mandatory to wear your seat belt at all times when in a vehicle.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Standard hotels/guesthouses (9 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Accommodation in West Africa is not always to the standard of Europe, North America, or even other parts of Africa, where tourism is more developed. Hotels don’t always have much character, as they are made more functional than decorative and the choice is limited due to both lack of local and foreign demand. As such customer service standards can be lower, due to lack of a large tourism industry and lack of exposure to western service standards. Plumbing can be simple and not always reliable and water pressure is weak, especially in dry season. Safety, location, and cleanliness are our top criteria when choosing hotels. We choose the best one that meets our criteria, and constantly evaluate the options that are out there.
Please ensure that you bring enough toiletries as most hotels do not supply them.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Francisca Gómez Molina) – 24 hours
From outside of Senegal: + 34 670 61 6885 (WhatsApp) / + 221 77 66 986 90
From within Senegal: + 34 670 61 6885 (WhatsApp) / 77 66 986 90
G Adventures Local Office (Nairobi, Kenya)
From outside Kenya: +254 727 208 832
From within Kenya: 0727 208 832
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labeled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, or sports bag, maximum 15kg, plus a daypack. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles is limited. Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear shorts or skirts.
Hand washing of clothes can be done at most of the hotels where we stay. We recommend you bring a non polluting/biodegradable soap, as well as a roll of simple string to act as a drying line for your clothes. If you arrive in the late afternoon, or if there is poor weather, it may not be possible for your clothes to completely dry. Your start/end hotel, as well as the hotels in Saint Louis and Banjul, may also have a laundry service for a fee.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The CFA Franc, the common currency in many West African countries, is the currency of Senegal.
The CFA Franc has a fixed rate exchange with Euro: 1EUR = 655.957 CFA.
The Gambian Dalasi (GMD) is the official currency of The Gambia.
The Gambian Dalasi has a current exchange rate of: 1EUR = 57 GMD
Cash is the best method of money in West Africa. Travellers cheques are not accepted. Many ATMs do not accept foreign cards, and ATMs are generally hard to find outside of Dakar.
American Express is the most commonly accepted credit card in Senegal, but Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club cards are also sometimes accepted.
Again, cash is the best method of money in West Africa.
Please bring cash money, in foreign currencies (EURO is best), to change for CFA locally at the start of the tour.
Exchange is available in smaller towns, but just EUR.
Large denominations are better, as they receive better rates. If you have USD, new bills from the year 2000 or more recent are best, as older bills may not be accepted.
Foreign currencies are rarely accepted outside of the capital cities, and as such, you will need CFA for your tour. It is advisable to change your foreign currency to CFA in Dakar, and as soon as possible upon arrival.
When changing money, please ask for small notes, as small denominations are important, as local vendors rarely have change. You should ask for “monnaie” (pronounced “mah-nay”) in order to ask for smaller bills. Notes of 1,000 and 2,000 are important.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Tipping during your tour is optional, but the gesture is expected as a way to show your satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour.
Although it may not be customary for you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, as an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. It is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the communities that you visit.
Giving a tip should be seen as a formal ‘thank you’, and the action should in no way be awkward. The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye. A suggestion would be for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting their tip into an envelope. This often works the best and the group as a whole should gather to present the gift to the recipient(s), offering their thanks and showing their appreciation. This method brings the action out into the open, allowing for a friendly and appreciative interaction between the group and the recipient(s).
You may use the following as a guideline, all given in a per client format:
G CEOs and drivers: $3-4 USD each, per day worked.
Restaurant/Café servers: 10% of cost of bill, especially when in a large group (no envelope required).
Local guides: $1 USD for every couple of hours
No optional activities
We recommend you contact your family physician, or your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date health information at least one month before departure. Travellers should also carry a basic first-aid kit and hand sanitizers/antibacterial wipes on their travels. Medical facilities are basic throughout these countries. For your own safety, we strongly recommend that you advise your tour leader of any medical condition that may affect you while travelling with the group. Your tour leader will be able to inform you of local health advisories (e.g. drinking water quality). Please ensure you have all the inoculations recommended by your doctor.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear shorts or skirts.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: DGSG, ID: 25028
Day 1 Dakar
Arrive at anytime.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Goree Island (1B)
Continue your exploration on a guided tour of Dakar in the afternoon.
Goree Island Excursion
Ferry (0.50 hour(s))
Day 3 Lake Retba/Lompoul Desert (1B, 1D)
Opt to explore the surrounding dunes on foot, jeep, or camel, and in the evening sit down to a traditional Senegalese meal.
Lac Retba visit
Lompoul Desert stay
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 200km)
Day 4 Lompoul/Saint-Louis (1B, 1D)
Free time in the morning to explore the Lompoul Desert, then drive north to Saint-Louis, the historic French capital of Senegal. Enjoy a tour of the Saint-Louis island on a caleche (a traditional horse drawn cart).
Saint-Louis city tour
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 135km)
Day 5 Djoudj NP (1B, 1D)
Spend the day exploring the the water ways of Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, keeping a look out for 400 species of birds, including pelicans and flamingos.
Djoudj NP is sometimes closed due to flood waters, in this case we will visit Langue de Barbarie NP as alternative.
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Day 6 Saint-Louis/Kaolack (1B, 1D)
Visit a local Wolof village, then continue on to the holy city of Touba, to visit the Great Mosque. Overnight in Kaolack.
Wolof Village visit
Great Mosque of Touba visit
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 285km)
Day 7 Kaolack/Banjul (1B)
Cross into The Gambia, and visit Jufureh and Kunta Kinteh Island (formerly James island), two important stops in The Gambia’s slave history. In the afternoon, continue to Banjul.
Border Crossing (Senegal – The Gambia)
Kunta Kinteh Island visit
Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 225km)
Ferry (0.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Banjul (1B)
Embark on a guided city tour of Banjul in the morning, visiting the Arch 22, National Museum, and Albert Market. Spend the rest of the day exploring on your own, or relaxing on the beach.
Day 9 Banjul/Somone (1B, 1D)
Cross back into Senegal and head to the beaches of Somone, for some well deserved relaxation. Stop at the Mbour fish market for a glimpse of the thriving industry, and authentic taste of Senegal living.
Border Crossing (The Gambia – Senegal)
Mbour Fish Market
Ferry (0.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 235km)
Day 10 Somone/Dakar Airport (1B)
A relaxing morning at the beach before heading to the airport, where the tour ends on arrival.
The tour ends on arrival at the Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in the late afternoon. If you need to travel back to Dakar city, you can book a transfer with your agent/GCO.
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 30km)