Looking for an incredible and culturally rich travel spot? Well, say hello to Saint Louis Senegal with this awesome travel guide! Saint Louis is like a time capsule filled with history – it used to be the capital of French West Africa! You can feel its amazing culture in the music, art, and crafts you’ll find here.
But hold on, there’s more to Saint Louis than just the past – it’s a lively city with something for everyone. From must-see places like the Faidherbe Bridge and Saint Louis Cathedral to fun stuff like birdwatching and water sports.
And let’s not forget the food! The nearby restaurants serve up some of the tastiest dishes you’ll ever try, packed with the unique flavors of Senegalese cuisine that’ll satisfy every taste bud.
Read more: How To Spend 1 Week In Senegal?
History and Culture
If you’re a history buff, Saint Louis, Senegal, is like a dream come true for your vacation! This city was once the bigwig, the capital of French West Africa. And guess what? The buildings and the whole vibe of the place still carry that amazing history. In fact, it’s such a historical superstar that it’s been crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But Saint Louis isn’t just about history – it’s got some serious music mojo too! You can groove to jazz and African beats all over the city. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like the magic of live music. Plus, if you’re into art, Saint Louis has got you covered with its vibrant art scene. You’ll find all sorts of cool local creations and artwork to check out.
How To Get To Saint Louis?
Saint Louis does have an airport, but right now, it’s not up and running. So, your best bet is to hit the road! If you’re in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, you can hop on a bus. The journey usually takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Loads of bus companies do this route, and a ticket will set you back about 5000 CFA (that’s about 9 USD).
But here’s a fancy option: you can also go for a private transfer. Some companies offer this service, and it costs around $180 USD.
How To Move Around
Getting around Saint Louis, Senegal is quite simple, and you have a few convenient options. You can choose to explore on foot, take regular taxis, or opt for Sept Places Taxis, which are like seven-seat taxis. These Sept Places Taxis are private cars that have been transformed into public transportation. As the name suggests, they can accommodate up to seven passengers and offer a comfortable way to get around.
Unlike other public transportation, Sept Places Taxis don’t make multiple stops; they go directly to their final destination. If you want extra space and comfort, you can even consider buying multiple seats or booking the whole car. And here’s a tip: if you want the best seat, try to get in early and grab the front one because the back seats can get a bit cramped. Happy exploring!
What Can I Do In Saint Louis, Senegal?
Looking for some awesome things to do in Saint Louis Senegal? Well, you’re in for a treat because this place is bursting with fantastic stuff to check out!
First up, we’ve got some real gems like the famous Faidherbe Bridge, the fancy Governor’s Palace, and the stunning Saint Louis Cathedral. These places are not only super pretty but also packed with stories from the city’s cool past.
If shopping is your thing, you’ve gotta hit the local markets! The Guet Ndar Fish Market is heaven for seafood fans, and the Saint Louis Handicraft Market is like a treasure chest of souvenirs and local crafts.
And hey, if you’re all about that outdoor life, Saint Louis has got you covered! Birdwatching at the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is a must for nature buffs – you can spot more than 350 types of birds!
And if you’re in the mood for some adventure, why not try water sports on the Senegal River? Kayaking, jet skiing, and windsurfing are just a few of the cool things you can do here.
Food & Drinks
When you’re exploring Saint Louis Senegal, you’ve got to dive into the local food scene – it’s a must for any travel adventure! Senegalese cuisine is a flavor-packed journey that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance.
First up, there’s Thieboudienne, the national dish, a tasty combo of rice and fish that’s just fantastic. And don’t miss yassa – it’s chicken or fish marinated in zesty lemon juice and onions, a real flavor explosion! And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try some street food like grilled meat skewers or beignets, which are kind of like fried doughnuts – so yummy!
Now, for the foodie explorers out there, Saint Louis has some fantastic restaurants. Seafood lovers, head to Le Rond Point. And if you’re up for a tasty West African treat with a modern twist, La Kora is your spot. But here’s a secret: some of the most authentic and delicious food can be found in those little roadside shacks where they cook up mouthwatering dishes over an open flame.
And don’t forget to quench your thirst with local drinks! Bissap is a sweet and tangy hibiscus tea that’s a hit, and ginger juice is known for its refreshing kick.
Best Places To Eat
When it comes to enjoying delicious local food in Saint Louis, you’re in for a treat! One spot you absolutely must visit is La Linguere. Here, you can savor mouthwatering dishes like Yassa Poisson or Yassa Poulet, which are bursting with flavors from onions, garlic, and lemon, served with your choice of chicken or fish. And don’t miss the chance to try the national dish, Thieboudienne (pronounced cheb-oo-jen), a seemingly simple but wonderfully complex mix of fish, tomato, rice, and vegetables. Fun fact: Thieboudienne is said to have originated right here in Saint Louis, so it’s the perfect place to taste it. Also, make sure to sample Thioff a la Saint Louisienne while you’re there.
For a quick and tasty bite while strolling through Saint Louis’s charming streets, head to La Crepe Saint Louisienne. They offer a variety of delicious options, both savory and sweet, and pair them with some fantastic juices.
If you’re a coffee lover or simply enjoy unique cafe experiences, Ndar Ndar Music Cafe is a must-visit. They serve real brewed coffee (no instant stuff here), feature cool artwork, offer specialty drinks (ever tried camel milk?), and serve refreshing Senegalese juices. It’s a great spot to take a break from your city explorations, soak in good vibes, and admire their stylish decor. And don’t forget to check out their collection of CDs for sale in the back – they have everything from Jazz to Afro beats.
If you’re traveling on a budget, guesthouses are a smart choice! They’re not only affordable but also give you a warm, personal experience. Plus, you get to meet friendly locals who can spill the beans on the coolest things to do in Saint Louis. Check out places like SAM RESIDENCE Jamm ak Cofeel, where a night’s stay is around $46 USD, or Oasis Fishing at $48/night.
Now, if you’re in the mood for some extra comfort, Saint Louis has some snazzy hotels. These spots offer comfy rooms and all the modern goodies you’d want. Take a look at Hotel Mermoz, where a night’s stay is about $70 USD, or Hotel La Residence, a fancier option at around $114 USD per night.
Is It Safe?
Safety is key when you’re traveling, even in Saint Louis Senegal. But don’t worry, with a few easy steps, you can keep yourself safe and sound.
Here’s the deal: Be aware of what’s going on around you, especially if you’re out and about at night or in quieter spots. It’s always a good idea to have a buddy with you. And speaking of buddies, don’t carry around too much cash, and make sure your stuff is secure.
Money, Budget & Costs
Senegal uses a currency called the CFA franc. It’s short for “Communauté Financière d’Afrique,” which means “Financial Community of Africa.”
1 USD = 600 CFA
If you’re planning a midrange trip to Saint Louis Senegal, here’s an idea of what you might spend: around $60 to $90 per day. This budget covers things like a comfy guesthouse or a budget hotel, getting around town, eating at local restaurants, trying street food, and even visiting some cool places and doing fun stuff!
There are several options for exchanging money in Saint Louis Senegal. Here are a few of the most common:
- Banks: Big banks like Banque Atlantique, Société Générale, and Ecobank can help you exchange different currencies like US dollars, euros, and British pounds. Just keep in mind that their hours might be a bit shorter, and you might have to wait in line.
- Exchange Bureaus: You’ll also find exchange bureaus, often called “bureaux de change,” in Saint Louis. Places like Forex Bureau, Express Exchange, and Amadou Exchange offer competitive rates. Plus, they usually have longer opening hours and might have multiple locations in the city.
- Hotels and Guesthouses: Some hotels and guesthouses might offer currency exchange services for their guests. But be aware that their exchange rates might not be as good as what you’d get at banks or exchange bureaus. So, it’s good to compare your options!
How Much Does It Cost To Travel In Saint Louis?
Prices of the most typical things:
- Full meal in a local place: 11000 CFA
- Full meal in fancier places: 75000 CFA
- Meals in auberges: 25000 CFA
- Fast food (sandwich): 5000 CFA
- Coffee in a local place: 1400 CFA
- Coffee in a fancy café: 2000 CFA
- Bottle of water (75cl): 500 CFA
- Local shared taxi within Nouakchott: From 11000 CFA
- Bus from Dakar to Saint Louis: 5000 CFA
To sum it all up, Saint Louis Senegal is an incredible place to visit, full of culture and history. You can explore amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites, groove to the lively music, and savor delicious food. Whether you’re into sightseeing, shopping, or just chilling by the Senegal River, Saint Louis has it all. Plus, you’ll find a comfy place to stay no matter your budget. So, get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
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!