Highlights of the Eastern Senegal & Gambia tour include a safari in the Niokolo Koba National Park with its varied wildlife and birdlife, visits to Peul, Bédik and Malinké villages, the cotton fields, the Dindéfélo waterfall, Kédougou market, colonial Georgetown, the River Gambia national park, the stone circles of Wassu and the Pink Lake.
Arrive in Senegal – Dakar
On arrival you will transfer to your Dakar hotel. La Madrague (or similar) which is set overlooking the beach at Ngor with wonderful views of the island of Ngor and the ocean. Depending on the time of arrival, you can relax by the pool. You are free to take dinner at the hotel (not included) or a restaurant of your choice.
Departing from Dakar at 6am we will stop for breakfast at Kaolack then drive for 475 km along an un-tarmacked road to Tambacounda where we will stop for lunch. Moving on to Wassadou we will be staying at a camp on the edge of the park overlooking the River Gambia. The amazing scenery and luxuriant vegetation will take your breath away. A pleasant walk along the banks of the river will take us to a banana plantation where we will be able to observe hippos as well as monkeys. We can relax on the banks of the river whilst watching the sunset and the mischievous baboons. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Niokolo Koba Safari Park
After an early wakeup call so we can enjoy the waking up of the wild life, we will then be driving towards Dar Salam, the gateway to the National Park of Niokolo Koba, and then along a track as far as the Mare De Simenti. Here we can monitor the wild life at a drinking hole from a viewing point on a bend the River Gambia in the Simenti Camp and enjoy a refreshment break. Lunch will then take place by the river where we will be able to observe the hippos in the water. We will carry on through the forest until Ba Foula Be crossing a monkey bridge above the gorges of Niokolo Koba where we can see baboons, monkeys, different types of antelope, warthogs, numerous birds, hippos, crocodiles…….. The last safari of the day will be in the direction of Gué de Damatan. From the viewpoint we can take in the magnificent scenery of Gambia as well as the varied birdlife before returning by road through the gateway of Dar Salam. Continuing on by road to Kédougou and arriving late at our hotel situated by the River Gambia. Accommodation will be in comfortable “Bassari” huts and dinner will be served overlooking the river.
Ethouwar – Dindéfélo Waterfall - Kédougou
We’ll set off early in the morning along a track to Bandafassi, a Bédik camp, home to Léontine, a young man who is supported by Origin Africa’s aid programme. His brother, our Bédik guide. will take us on a climb of one hour to the Bédik village of Ethouwar perched high up and will explain to us the history and the customs of the Bédik people. From there we can mingle with the villagers and enjoy a magnificent view over the entire valley.
We head up a stony track towards the Dindéfélo waterfall at the foot of Fouta Djalon. Here we will enjoy a picnic and can go swimming in the water hole at the foot of the waterfall.
In the afternoon we will visit the “Market of Kédougou”, a typical and colourful market of the area. Later we can enjoy a relaxing time at the swimming pool or possibly a nice walk. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Gouloumbou – Bassé Santa Fu – Baboon Islands
We will set off early to cross through Niokolo Koba by road observing all the animals waking up. We will stop at Tambacounda and Gouloumbou which is well known for its cultivation of bananas then on the road again toward Gambia via Velingara and Bassé, the most eastern town, situated on the banks of the river. Lunch will be in this old colonial centre, which flourished as a commercial crossroads between Gambia, Senegal, Mali and Guinea. We will continue along the south bank road of the River Gambia crossing through the most beautiful Gambian forest to get to Badi Mayo, the Chimp Rehabilitation Project on the banks of the River Gambia. Here we will spend the night in a comfortable safari tent with some amazing views across the river and Baboon Islands. Dinner will be in the dining room by the river and the night will be spent in this exclusive natural paradise.
National Park of the River Gambia – Baboon Islands
The morning will be spent on a walk to discover the rich birdlife and fauna in this area of dense vegetation. After lunch at the camp, we will go an exceptional excursion by pirogue along the river to observe numerous animals, crocodiles, hippopotamus, baboons and most of all, the wild chimpanzees, which are protected by the Chimp Rehabilitation Project. We will then return to the camp for a second night in this natural paradise.
Wassu – Kaolack - Toubakouta
You’ll travel by road alongside the river through Kuntaur, to discover the megalithic circles of Wassu and then the marshes of Panchang. Continuing on to Toubakouta in the heart of the Saloum Delta National Park, we will have lunch at Hotel Keur Saloum (or similar) which stands overlooking the mangroves and the river. You can relax by the pool or take a trip in a pirogue in to the heart of the mangroves towards a huge mound of shells (a funeral tumulus) and a nesting place for birds.
We will return at dusk to our hotel for dinner.
Toubakouta - Dakar
We will set off after breakfast to discover the Pink Lake (Lake Retba), the strange lake saturated in salt, which is extracted by the salt collectors. We will cross the lake in a pirogue and take lunch on the other side in a panoramic restaurant overlooking the lake. The afternoon is for relaxing, with the option of visiting Gorée Island (+€15) if there is time before transferring to the airport or your chosen hotel.
THE ITINERARY MAY VARY SLIGHTLY DEPENDING ON WEATHER, TIME OF YEAR ETC.