Dakar is a major West African city located on the westernmost coast of Africa. One of the most important shipping ports in all of Africa, Dakar Port is viewed as the crossroad between North and South America, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. A number of airlines fly directly to Dakar's International Airport, Léopold Sédar Senghor.
A ferry trip to tour the Island of Gorée will be a highlight of your trip to Dakar!
Dakar-Yoff -Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport is the main airport servicing Senegal and is located just 11 km from Dakar. Short and long-term parking is available. The airport also has restaurants, duty-free shopping, a bureau de change and a tourist help-desk. Hertz, National and Avis are some of the car hire agencies available at the airport. Buses and taxis are available from the airport on a regular basis.
Domestic flights are available through Senegal's national airline, Air Senegal, which services all major towns. There are also companies for private flights, like Aerotaxi, sometimes a very smart solution (see in blue boxes below).
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
Train services throughout Senegal have been cut in recent years due to track deterioration. The Dakar- Bamako train is the only service operating currently. However, it is only departing every eight to nine days and is not running to any set timetable. The train leaves from Dakar train station, stopping at various cities along the way, including Thies, Tambacounda and Kayes before reaching Bamako, Mali approximately two days later. It has first and second class seating and sleeping compartments which could accommodate up to four people. A restaurant is also available providing inexpensive drinks, snacks and meals. Take plenty of drinking water with you as it often sells out.
Dakar is a peninsula and adequate transport is thus necessary to reach certain parts of the city. Therefore different companies offer inter-city as well as outer-city transportation.
Various passenger services leave from Dakar Harbour on a regular basis. There are three ferry ships servicing the link between Dakar and the Island of Gorée, operated by LMDG ("Liaison Maritime Dakar Gorée", "Dakar Gorée Sealink"). Services leave approximately every half an hour and take just 20 min to reach the island.
There are also several private dugouts belonging to different associations responsible for the crossing to the island of Ngor from Dakar.
Dakar is connected to the Casamance region by the ship Aline Sitoe Diatta, which departs twice weekly from Dakar arriving in Ziguinchor. The ship has a capacity to accommodate approximately 460 passengers. Armchairs, 8-bed cabins, 4-bed cabins and 2-bed cabins can be booked, with very clean and large bathrooms per cabin, a gastronomic indoor (AC) restaurant and an animated outdoor bar.
There are numerous options for road travel in Dakar. Blue and yellow vans, known locally as "Car Rapide" (which means "quick bus" although they are not actually that quick!), act as the bus service for the city and its suburbs. They are a great option for short journeys and a chance to travel with the locals. There are no defined stops on these services, only a known final destination.
White vans, known locally as "Ndiaga Ndiaye", can take you from one part of the city to another. In fact, it can take you all over the country. There is no better way to travel with the locals and experience their way of living while travelling. To find out how to optimally use those, where to get one from a point to another, just ask us, we will tell you all you need to know.
SOTRAC buses, blue coaches with numbers (e.g. don't say "19", say "Peh 19"), regular stops and more comfortable seats, known locally as "Dakar Dem Dikk" ("Dakar come and go") can be a good tip to enjoy an inner "sightseeing" tour of Dakar, especially some of them like "Peh 8" from airport to Plateau. It travels like a snake, crossing almost all peninsula quarters except coastal ones!
Seven seat (pronounce "set plass") cars (usually Peugeot 505 and sometimes even old 504) with three rows are available. To take these, just go to Pompiers ("pomp-yeh"), at the end of the Dakar entry and the beginning of downtown Dakar - Patte d'Oie ("pat-dwah") highway. In order to sit comfortably, don't hesitate to buy two seats if you are alone, or three seats (the whole row) if you are two people. Hereby you do not have to wait for a long period of time, as the car leaves when it is full, and you enjoy comfort!
Taxis are readily available. It takes little more than stepping out onto the street for a taxi to stop and offer its services. Most urban taxis determine their rates by making use of a meter, but because of strong competition, you will be given the opportunity to practice your bargaining skills.
A number of car rental agencies can be found at the international airport and throughout major cities. Well-known names include Hertz, Europcar and Avis. Obtaining insurance is highly recommended. A smart solution is to use well-insured local rent a car companies like Sacha locations (see blue boxes below).
Driving in Senegal takes place on the right hand side. Roads are generally in good condition, despite being very crowded and narrow. The streets are not the sole domain of cars either! Pedestrians, motorbikes, carts, donkeys, goats and sheep cross the roads in all directions. Traffic in Senegal can be chaotic as lane markings and speed limits are often ignored, and people try to overtake even when there is oncoming traffic. Driving at night is not recommended, as street lighting in some areas is quite poor and roads and can be poorly marked. A tip would be to hire a cab, sit next to the driver and watch how things run before driving yourself!
City miles Price Pax
Dakar - saly 85 90 € 1 -3
Dakar - city 10 35 € 1- 2
Dakar - ST louis 264 250 € 1-3
Dakar- Saloum island 140 170 € 1-3
Dakar - Kaolack 193 210 € 1-3
Dakar - Tambacounda 467 385 € 1-3
Dakar - Kédougou 702 600 € 1-3