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Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plain

The city is served by Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport , located a short drive north of Dakar in the town of Yoff. Dakar is a major West African hub, so there are lots of flights coming from and going to Europe and other African cities. The airport had been an important stop on flights between the US and South Africa as recently as 2009/2010, but most of these flights are now non-stop, with only South African Airline's Johannesburg-Washington and Johannesburg-New York (JFK) flights stopping in Dakar and allowing passengers to leave or join the flight. Be prepared to arrive and leave at any time of the night or day - many flights arrive and depart in the middle of the night. The airport is relatively small and can be bustling if more than one plane arrives at a time. When departing, do not be fooled into thinking that with so few terminals you can arrive later than usual—emigration can be very slow, and you should leave as much time as you would at any airport.

The airport is in poor condition, crowded, and dirty. There is a small hotel in the airport. Taxi rides from the airport to the centre of Dakar are XOF3,000 during the day and XOF4,000 to XOF7,000 at night. Be prepared to negotiate with taxi drivers. A bus ride from the airport to Dakar is XOF160.

From Europe: Brussels (Brussels Airlines); Lisbon (TAP Air Portugal); Madrid (Air Europa, Iberia); Milan (Air Italy, Meridiana, Neos); Paris-Charles de Gaulle (Air France); Paris-Orly (Corsair International) and Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)

From North America: New York City-JFK (Delta Air Lines, South African Airways);Washington-Dulles (South African Airways)

From Asia: Dubai (Emirates, triangle route flying Dubai-Conakry-Dakar-Dubai)

From West Africa (note: some airlines fly multi-city routes and therefore direct flights are only available in one direction to or from Dakar and the listed city): Abidjan (Air Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia Bird, Kenya Airways, Senegal Airlines); Accra (Gambia Bird);Bamako (Air Burkina, Air Mali, ASKY Airlines, Kenya Airways, Senegal Airlines);Banjul (Arik Air, Gambia Bird, Senegal Airlines); Bissau (Senegal Airlines, TACV);Conakry (Emirates-inbound only, Gambia Bird, Mauritania Airlines International, Senegal Airlines); Cotonou (Senegal Airlines); Freetown (Arik Air, Gambia Bird); Lagos (Arik Air); Lome (ASKY Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines); Monrovia (Gambia Bird);Niamey (Senegal Airlines); Nouakchott (Mauritania Airlines International, Senegal Airlines); and Ouagadougou (Air Burkina, Gambia Bird, Senegal Airlines).

From North Africa: Algiers (Air Algerie); Casablanca (Royal Air Maroc); Tunis(Tunisair)

From Eastern Africa: Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines, via Lome); Nairobi (Kenya Airways, via Abidjan and Bamako)

From Southern Africa: Johannesburg (South African Airways)

From Central Africa: Douala (Senegal Airlines); Libreville (Senegal Airlines)

From Cape Verde & Canary Islands: Gran Canaria (Air Nostrum); Praia (Senegal Airlines, TACV)

National carrier Senegal Airlines operates domestic flights from Dakar to Cap Stirring& Ziguinchor in the western part of Casamance—the fork of Senegal beneath The Gambia.

A new airport—Blaise Diagne International Airport—is being built in the town of Ndiass, 40 km southeast of Dakar. The most recently announced date of opening is November 2014, but opening has been pushed back several times (it was first scheduled to open in late 2011). At a cost of €566 million, it should offer a dramatically different experience compared with the current airport. Most airlines will likely transfer operations to the new airport, although Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport will remain in operation—probably for regional flights on local airlines.

Transportation - Get In

By road

The main method of travel around the country is by sept places (French for "seven seats"), questionable station wagons in which they will pack seven people so that you are basically sitting on the next person's lap throughout the journey. You can also come with a group and rent out an entire sept place, but this will be expensive. If you are obviously a tourist, they WILL try to rip you off, so make sure to set a price before you agree to a driver. There are set prices to often-travelled locations. The main sept place station in Dakar is Gare Routieres de Pompiers. Watch out for pickpockets!

Transportation - Get In

By boat

A state-owned ferry runs between Dakar and Ziguinchor in Senegal's Casamance region (below The Gambia). The Joola, one of the former ferries on this route, capsized in a storm while overloaded in 2002, regarded as the second deadliest maritime disaster in recent history. The actual number of passengers aboard is unknown, but 1800-1900 people are believe to have died while only 64 survived (the ship was built to carry 580 people!) and the disaster remains on the minds of many Senegalese. The Aline Sitoé Diatta, built in 2008, is the current ferry. Changes have been made to ensure a disaster such as the Joola never happens again, so travellers shouldn't feel too worried boarding the ferry.

The ferry runs overnight and takes around 16 hours in each direction. A seat costs XOF15,000. Cabins are available with 2-8 beds, but are more expensive (around €100) and are fully booked in advance, especially during tourist season. Departures from Dakar are Tuesdays & Fridays. Departures from Ziguinchor are Thursdays and Sundays (arriving in Dakar on Fridays & Mondays, respectively).

Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Dakar bus system, known as Dakar Demm Dikk (Dakar coming and going), is fairly dependable. Fares are XOF150 and there are no free transfers permissible with each ticket. Unfortunately, for newcomers, there's not much in the way of a map of the bus system, so you'll have to figure it out on your own. The number 10 bus runs along the Corniche de l'Ouest and turns into the suburbs at Rue Aime Cesaire. The number 1 bus runs along the VDN.

Cars Rapides. These are the usually blue, yellow or white mini-buses that careen through Dakar and some of Senegal's other cities. There are somewhat fixed rates for certain distances, but you need to check with a Senegalese beforehand. As of 2011 XOF150 would cover most destinations. To find out where one is going, flag it down and shout out your destination at the apprenti, the boy in charge of collecting fares who hangs out the back. If she shouts back at you the destination you want, signal it to stop and hop aboard. To stop, bang loudly on the side of the bus, on the roof or signal to the apprenti you want off. Apprenti's don't always speak French, so be prepared to communicate otherwise if you do not speak Wolof. Be careful about asking for your destination, as the apprenti will often tell you it is going there just to get you on the bus, no matter its actual destination. If possible, ask where it is going rather than if it is going to your destination.

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

Cheap and safe and everywhere. Just don't mind the broken windshields. All taxi fares are negotiated beforehand and will require bargaining. If you're not from Senegal, you will probably have an outrageous price proposed, so check with locals before to get an idea of what they pay, in order to know what you will be able to get. Even if you have negotiated a price, once you arrive your taxi driver will pretend he has no change on him, even if he previously assured you he had.


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Senegal - Travel guide