Discovering the amazing Casamance region in West Africa is a really cool experience that you should definitely try. Lots of people love to visit the southern part of Senegal, but there’s a small problem called the Gambia that gets in the way and separates the Casamance from the rest of Senegal. But don’t worry! Even though it might seem a little tricky, exploring the Casamance is totally worth it. The awesome things you’ll see and do there make any troubles along the way totally worth it! But, do you know how to get to Casamance?
Why You Should Visit Casamance?
The Casamance region is distinguished for its rich cultural legacy. The residents are kind and like having visitors. You’ll come across a variety of customs when touring the Casamance, such as special festivals with live music, traditional ceremonies, and even markets where residents sell their handcrafted goods. It’s like a bright treasure chest bursting at the seams with culture!
Even though Casamance is a bit out of the way and doesn’t have much to offer tourists, it’s actually pretty simple to get there. You have several ways for getting there without fully bypassing it. One option is to travel through the Gambia, a country in the center, and use its transit infrastructure to continue south. That way, you can share in the Gambia’s allure. However, if you don’t have much time or don’t want to walk through the Gambia, there are alternate ways that bypass it entirely, allowing you to travel directly to the Casamance.
When you visit the Casamance, you will uncover a whole new world that few people are aware of. It’s like venturing off the beaten route and discovering something truly unique. You’ll enjoy incredible experiences and see lovely sites that are still relatively unexplored by tourists. The Casamance will astound and excite you whether you choose a thrilling excursion through the Gambia or a more direct path. So, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit this hidden part of West Africa and make memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll get to visit the natural beauty of Casamance and learn about its interesting culture.
How To Get To Casamance From Dakar?
You have a variety of transportation choices to get from Dakar to Casamance. Southern Senegal includes the area of Casamance. The following are the methods of travel that are most popular:
The nightly ferry service between Dakar and Zinguinchor is provided by three different vessels. The Aline Sitoe Diatta, however, is unquestionably the finest choice. This ship distinguishes out because it provides individual cabins with beds and facilities inside. The Aline Sitoe Diatta has a set schedule, leaving Ziguinchor on Thursdays and Sundays at 13:00 and Dakar on Tuesdays and Fridays at 20:00.
The boat cruise itself takes around 16 hours, so you may have a relaxing overnight trip. The cost of ‘pullman’ type seats is CFA 15,500. Alternatively, you can choose to fly in a private cabin that can hold 8, 4, or 2 persons for a fee of about CFA 60,000. It is advised to get your tickets in advance because the boat has a tendency to sell out rapidly, especially during busy travel times.
Along with a small bar that serves snacks and drinks, onboard facilities include a restaurant where you may enjoy meals while traveling. A comfortable and convenient travel between Dakar and Ziguinchor is guaranteed when you choose the Aline Sitoe Diatta boat.
For those seeking to travel to Casamance by air, the most convenient choice is a direct flight from Dakar to Cap Skirring. This route is serviced by three airlines: Flexflight, Air Senegal, and Orenair. The flight duration typically spans around 45 minutes, offering a swift journey. One-way fares begin at approximately 55 USD, providing an affordable option for travelers. It is advisable to check with the respective airlines for the most up-to-date schedules, ticket prices, and any additional information pertaining to the Dakar to Cap Skirring flight route.
By Road Through The Gambia
To travel from Dakar to Banjul, the capital of Gambia, here’s a simple guide. From the bus station in Dakar, you can take a shared taxi called sept-place to Keur Ayip. It’s the last village before the border, and you can enter the Gambia with a transit visa. The fare for the sept-place is around 5,000 CFA francs, which is much lower than the 50,000 CFA francs they may ask for at the Banjul border.
After going through customs in both Senegal and Gambia, you’ll find a minibus to continue your journey to the Gambia River. Thanks to the newly constructed bridge at Farafenni, road travel from Dakar to Casamance has become incredibly convenient. Gone are the days of depending on unreliable ferry services at Bara or Farafenni. Now, you have the opportunity to cross the Gambia River on a modern bridge, which was inaugurated in January 2019. This development has greatly simplified the journey, allowing for a smoother and more efficient route to Casamance.
Once you’re on the other side of the border, you can find Senegalese sept-places to continue your trip to Ziguinchor, a city in the Casamance region of Senegal. These shared taxis will be available to take you further on your route.
By Road Through Senegal
If you want to avoid crossing the Gambian border and paying for a visa that you don’t need, here’s an alternative route for you. Take a sept-place (shared taxi) to Tambacounda and then another one to Ziguinchor. However, please keep in mind that this journey is quite long. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do it all in just one day, and it will take longer compared to going through Gambia.
NOTE: If you’re traveling from Tambacounda to Ziguinchor, there are two ways to make the journey: by taking a savannah taxi, which will take around two days with a stop in Kolda, or by renting a 4×4 vehicle. However, keep in mind that the road conditions can be rough, and you’ll come across several checkpoints along the way. Sometimes you may even see military activities due to recent conflicts in the area. To ensure a smooth trip, it’s best to only make necessary stops at the checkpoints and continue straight to Ziguinchor.
How To Get To Casamance From Mali?
Embarking on a road trip from Mali to Casamance is an exciting but challenging endeavor. The journey is quite long and requires careful planning. You have two options: taking a bus or driving yourself from Bamako to Tambacounda. It’s advisable to select a reliable bus company that follows the Kenieba road instead of the route through Kayes. This alternative provides a smoother and more pleasant travel experience.
Upon reaching Tambacounda, your next step is to catch a savannah taxi. These shared taxis will take you on an adventurous two-day trip with a stop in Kolda before reaching the final destination of Ziguinchor in Casamance.
How To Get To Casamance From Guinea-Bissau?
Ziguinchor and the border with Guinea-Bissau are only 20 km apart, although there are surprisingly few bus companies that travel between the two locations. But do not worry; there are other means of transportation available, such mini-cars and bush taxis, that can take you there. Using public transportation typically costs roughly 4000 CFA and takes four hours or longer, depending on how quickly you can cross the border.
The tarmac pavement of the road from Ziguinchor to the border is well-maintained, making for a comfortable ride. However, the state of the roads changes after you pass over to the Guinea-Bissau side. Be ready for areas of the floodplain that may have been washed away during prior wet seasons, as well as potholes, tank traps, and other hazards.
How To Get To Casamance From The Gambia?
The Trans-Gambian highway, which goes through Farafenni, is the most popular route for going from the Gambia to Casamance. Other crossing sites are also accessible, though. The smuggler’s path is an option if you only want to travel to Abene and the surrounding region before going back to Gambia. A tranquil crossing to the Senegalese town of Seleti is an additional choice.
No matter where you are in Gambia, reaching Casamance is a breeze. The proximity between the two regions allows for easy and convenient travel.
In conclusion, exploring the enchanting region of Casamance is now more accessible than ever before. Whether you choose to travel by plane, ferry, or road, there are various options available to suit your preferences and needs. From the bustling city of Dakar to the tranquil landscapes of Ziguinchor and beyond, Casamance promises a captivating journey filled with cultural immersion and natural beauty.
By air, you can enjoy a quick and comfortable flight from Dakar to Cap Skirring, while the Aline Sitoe Diatta Ferry offers a scenic overnight voyage from Dakar to Ziguinchor. For those seeking a road adventure, there are routes connecting Dakar to Casamance via Tambacounda or the newly constructed bridge at Farafenni.
Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the vibrant markets, indulge in the delicious local cuisine, or explore the breathtaking natural wonders, Casamance welcomes you with open arms. Don’t miss the chance to discover this hidden gem in Senegal, where the rhythmic beats of traditional music, the warmth of the people, and the stunning landscapes will leave a lasting impression.
I’m a total Africa enthusiast! I’ve been exploring this amazing continent for years and I can’t get enough of its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife. From hiking through the savannahs to sampling local cuisine, I’m all about immersing myself in everything Africa has to offer. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences, and I love sharing my passion and knowledge with fellow travel lovers. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, Africa is the place to be, and I’m here to help you make the most of it!