How To Get From Dakar To Banjul Using Public Transport

Calling all adventurous souls and intrepid travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path journey through vibrant West Africa! Brace yourselves for an exhilarating expedition as we uncover how to get from Dakar to Banjul, traversing the heart of Senegal and The Gambia using nothing but the exciting world of public transport.

Get ready to immerse yourself in a tapestry of diverse landscapes, captivating cultures, and a multitude of unforgettable experiences along the way. This is your chance to step out of your comfort zone, embrace spontaneity, and embark on a remarkable odyssey that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime.

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How To Get From Dakar To Banjul Using Public Transport

Embarking on an unforgettable journey from Dakar to Banjul through public transport is not only an exhilarating adventure but also surprisingly easy once you know the proper steps to take.

To kick-start your journey, it’s crucial to begin early in the morning. Catch a taxi from Dakar city center, around 8 am, heading towards Beaux Mariechers Gare Routiere De Dakar, with a fare of approximately 4,000 CAF. Inform the taxi driver that you intend to go to the “Sept Place” taxi area for The Gambia, and they will drop you off accordingly.

Once you arrive, seek out fellow travelers and locals, expressing your desire to head to Banjul or The Gambia. The helpful individuals around will kindly point you in the right direction, which happens to be located at the rear, tucked away under some metal awnings. Beware of individuals attempting to assist you with your bags, as their intentions may lead to demands for payment.

senegal road

After finding the lineup of cars designated for the journey, inquire about the fare. For a place on the back seats, the cost is 6,000 CAF per person. If you want to sit on the front expect to pay an additional charge of 500 CAF.

Once the journey commences, you’ll find that the group consensus holds sway. At some point, the driver will inquire whether everyone wishes to take the fast route. A democratic decision-making process unfolds, with each passenger voting on whether to pay an extra 500 CAF for the quicker path, saving an hour or two of travel time. The collected sum is then utilized to pay the highway toll booths along the way.

It’s important to note that although the sept place drivers claim to go all the way to Banjul, their actual destination is the border itself. So be prepared for this slight detour and make necessary arrangements for crossing the border into The Gambia.

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Border Crossing

Upon arrival at the Senegal border, prepare to have your passport scanned, fingerprints collected, and passport stamped, signifying your official exit from Senegal. While the fingerprint scanning process may occasionally require a few minutes of adjustment, the border officials are generally helpful and accommodating.

After completing the exit procedures, a short walk will lead you to the Gambia border post. It’s important to note that if you require a visa for The Gambia, depending on your nationality, you will be directed to various offices to fulfill the necessary visa requirements.

shops senegal border

Travelers have been cautioned about the “pill search” at the Gambian border, highlighting the significance of proper medication packaging. To avoid any complications, ensure that all medications, including over-the-counter options like Advil or Tylenol, are stored in their original prescription bottles and clearly labeled.

Border authorities pay close attention to these details, and any deviations from the proper packaging and labeling can lead to allegations of drug trafficking. In such cases, the medication may be confiscated and sent for testing in the capital unless a bribe, disguised as an “on-the-spot fine,” is paid.

It’s important to be aware that this process lacks transparency and doesn’t provide an official receipt. To prevent unnecessary complications, it is advisable to adhere to the regulations and carry all medications in their original packaging.

As you enter The Gambia, it’s worth mentioning that our personal experience involved a smooth passage without any searches or issues during both entry and exit. It’s possible that factors such as appearing legitimate, traveling with a spouse, or carrying a rolling bag instead of a backpack contributed to a smoother process.

Alternatively, it could be that our appearance conveyed a less affluent image. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to approach each border crossing with caution and strict adherence to all regulations.

Gambia Section

Once you’ve successfully crossed the border into The Gambia, your journey to Banjul continues with an exciting leg that involves catching a share taxi and embarking on a memorable ferry ride.

As you exit the Gambia border post, you’ll find share taxis waiting outside. Hop into one of these taxis, where the fare is 200 Gambian Dalasi per person, based on a car accommodating four passengers. Interestingly, you have the option to use CFA currency if you prefer to continue using it from the border to the ferry.

Once you arrive at the ferry terminal, situated on the north side of the river just before crossing to Banjul, keep an eye out for a green building that houses an ATM. It’s an opportune moment to ensure you have the necessary funds for the next phase of your adventure.

banjul ferry

At the ferry terminal, proceed to purchase your ticket for a mere 25 Gambian Dalasi per person. Note that you may be required to pay an additional 10 Dalasi for luggage, which will be weighed.

Set foot on the ferry, and let the sights unfold before your eyes. From military vehicles to buses, and even the occasional goats, the ferry accommodates an array of fascinating passengers and cargo.

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The ferry journey itself is a delightful experience, showcasing the vibrant tapestry of Gambian life and the picturesque landscapes that envelop you. As you approach Banjul, anticipation builds, knowing that you are moments away from reaching your final destination.

How Long Does The Whole Journey Take?

A spectacular experience is promised during this overland journey, starting with the first leg of approximately 5-hour ride from Dakar to the border. A little under 30 minutes and about 20 kilometers are covered on the second phase of your trip, which takes you from the border to the Barra ferry port. Finally, a 45-minute ferry ride from Barra to Banjul brings the journey to a close.

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