Travelling from Banjul to Dakar – pt 1

Originally posted 2023-05-30
Time goes quick! Soon I´ve been here for a full month already and the rain period is coming closer. So we decided that now would be a good time to visit Dakar!

The Gambia is a small country and it is totally surrounded by Senegal. The strange borders are a deed of colonialists dividing the land among them selves. To travel across the border is quite easy, just don´t forget to bring your passport and book of vaccines. A man at the customs said that they like to see that you have the Yellow fever vaccination.

gambia_senegal_casamance borders
Map of Gambia inside Senegal Image by EIU

Ways to travel from Banjul to Dakar
    There are a few different options for getting from Banjul to Dakar. To fly is of course the quickest way, but its also the most expensive and maybe the one that has the worst effect on the environment. Most people travel by some kind of car and taking the bus is the most common.
    Here are the different options:

  • Take the bus from Kanifing to Dakar. 7-8 hours. Cost approx: 1200GMD (218SEK)
  • Take the ferry from Banjul to Barra, take a car to Karang. From Karang take a setplus bus which is like a small van that can take 6 passengers. 4-5 hours. Cost approx: 700GMD one way (127SEK)
  • Take the ferry from Banjul to Barra and hire your own driver who will drive you back and forth to Dakar and also be your personal driver whilest in Dakar. Cost approx: 16000-30000 GMD (2900-5400SEK) depending on how good connections you have or how good you are at haggeling. (OBS: book the driver before you come to Barra!)
  • Fly from Banjul airport. 45Minutes. Cost at least: 13300GMD (2400SEK)

You can of course also rent your own car if you prefer to drive your self.
The cross over with the ferry takes 30-40min and the drive from Barra to Dakar takes approximately 6-7 hours. Which ever way you chose just remember though that this is Africa so anything can happen and everything always gets delayed, so bring snacks and water.

Villages along the way from Barra to Dakar

We chose to get our own driver since we wanted to be able to stop on the way. We got recommendations for a driver who could drive us from Barra to Dakar and back and also take us to the tourist attractions we want to see whilst in Dakar.

Our trip

The trip started at Banjul ferry terminal. Even though we were there quite early in the morning the place was already buzzing with people. People coming to take the ferry, vendors selling nuts and water, men carrying bags with live chickens, controller controlling that no one sneaks in to the terminal without a ticket etc etc

People waiting for the ferry at Banjul ferry terminal

A one way ticket on the Banjul-Barra ferry costs 35 GMD which is like 7 SEK. We also had a suitcase so that costed an additional 10 GMD ( 2SEK). On the inside of the terminal the women were selling delicious newly baked sponge cake, pancates made of couscous, individual biscuits in plastic, or why not a charger for your phone or a gucci bag copy?

The rules of the ferry are – first come – first served, so everyone wants to get onboard as soon as the doors open. We managed to get good seats with some shade on the top floor of the ferry.
The ferry was full of people, including some tourists from Germany and Netherlands who were going to Fathala national park to see giraffes.


We stopped by a village called Karang to get stamps in our passport from both the Gambian- and the Senegalese immigration. (This town is also the town where you can take the Setplus van option I mentioned earlier in the post.)

Then we started driving towards Dakar. We passed some villages and we crossed a huge landscape with nothing!
I was mesmerized. I somehow always have long for the desert. The nothingness. The quietness. The absence of life.
The nothingness was located in the region of Fatick. (Like fatigue) And is caused by a phenomenon of land degration due to salinization. According to this article (in french) it affects the lives of rural populations in the area.

Fatick from car window

Hotel Farid

After a long day we finally arrived at hotel Farid. We went out for some chicken and chips on Rue Pompidou before diving to bed.

Finally in bed at hotel Farid

Part 2 coming soon…

xoxo/ Salla V

A link about different kinds of land degradation

Originally posted 2023-05-30