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Senegal/Gambia – The West African bike experience

Guided tour for a small group. For two respectively three weeks you shall immerse into another world, you will get to know an interesting and varied landscape, very friendly people and a different culture. On a carefully chosen route that is combined with visits of development projects our tour will lead you into regions away from the usual tourist tracks. You go by your own bicycle without escort vehicle and travel daily legs of 40 to 70 kilometers. At noon we have an extended break. There are hardly any slopes. Overnight stays in simple lodgings and (north of Gambia) good mid-range hotels.
The tour operator, Michael Franke, has worked as a program officer with a development agency for two years in Senegal and has frequently visited the country during the last 25 years. He is the author of a phrasebook for the Wolof language (‚Wolof für den Senegal’/’Wolof for Senegal‘). The tour guide, Stefanie Raetsch, an artist, has been living in Berlin and Senegal (Casamance) since 2000 and has been a tour guide for us since 2001.

Tour 1: Great Tour Senegal/Gambia (start in Dakar)

From the Border of the Sahel into the Tropical South.

Three weeks adventure holiday on bicycle

We visit an educational project for females, go for a stroll in the market, and have a look at the cathedral, old villas of the colonial past and mahogany avenues. After travelling 45 kilometers on a good road, (we) arrive at a beach of the Atlantic and have overnight accommodation provided by a women’s group. Cycling past large baobab trees we reach a reforestation area that is home to a variety of wild animals: antelopes, giraffes and also rhinos.
57 kilometers from M’Bour we arrive at a beautiful complex near the beach and stay there overnight. Following the coastline we cycle to Fadiouth, visit the Leopold S. Senghor Museum and an island town built on shell mountains (40 km). After that we travel on an unsurfaced track through a fabulous palm forest (61 km).

Two day trips of 70 respectively 75 km, each time followed by one rest day. A visit to an idyllic ‚eco-camp‘ on an island will offer you an impressive experience. Later we shall pass the border to the Republic of the Gambia and cross the river by ferry. From Banjul we travel 75 km and stay one night at a complex near the coast that is managed by Germans, followed by a trip to the widely acclaimed Tumani Tenda Camp (60 km) and another break of one day. A guided tour through the forest, a boat trip in a pirogue and other excursions are available options. Afterwards we return to Senegal on calm tracks (70 km). In Kafountine, a lovely village at the Atlantic coast, we have a rest day and visit development projects.

In the seventies simple lodging places were built in southern Senegal in order to support a sustainable and responsible tourism. We travel 60 km to a clay building at an idyllic bay of the Atlantic and 55 km to a traditional ‚kraal‘ with an open yard, at a branch of the Casamance River. You cycle 60 kilometers through villages and rice fields to the other bank. In Ziguinchor we enter the ship that leaves for Dakar at noon and arrive there the next morning. A visit to the former slave island Gorée and an excursion into the capital on foot round off your Senegal-Gambia experience. You may take the return flight at midnight or, if you wish, extend your stay in the country.

3 weeks, circa 700 km, mostly tarred roads in good condition.

Second Tour: Tropical South – Cycling Tour from Banjul/Gambia

Two Weeks Gambia and South Senegal

Rice fields and forests with palm trees, baobabs, mahogany, teak and giant bamboo. The scent of wild mint. Cows on the roads and monkeys in the trees. Plentiful bird life. The sounds of wind in the palm leaves and by the sea – let your soul unwind by looking at miles and miles of beaches.
Acclimatization, bathing and test rides. After the first legs in Gambia we cross the border into Senegal. Visits of development projects. Stroll across the market, the fishing port or lying down in the hammock. In the evening dancing and beer at a drum concert. A trip in a wooden boat through mangroves and on the Casamance River. Through long woodland tracks we travel to a museum of African religion and visit a place where Christians, Muslims and followers of local African religion live peacefully side by side. Here we cycle short legs without baggage, look at a village cashew factory and perhaps pay a visit to the king. On the way to the regional capital you may possibly eat a delicious piece of crocodile meat. We look at the big city with villas from the colonial times, shops and internet. Through small villages we travel back to the starting place of our trip.

On bike you shall pass through a large part of the western Casamance. The tracks are mostly well tarred. About a quarter of our route is sporty pothole slalom or has got a washboard section here and there. Few short stretches may be sandy.

A total of circa 550 km.

What we offer

Flight to Dakar respectively Banjul / transfer / all overnight stays (double rooms), mostly simple hotels or village camps.
German tour guide / expert information on the projects of development cooperation visited / information pack on the country (maps, articles, recommendations…)
(Only for the cycling tour from Dakar:) admission to the animal park and Leopold Senghor Museum, ferries and ship to Dakar.

Not included

food and insurances, possibly also additional fees or other costs for air transportation of your bicycle that are demanded by the airline at check-in.
We recommend a budget of approximately 100 Euros per week for catering.

Travel period

October/November until March/April Individual extension of your stay is possible. If single-room accommodation is available, a single-room supplement of 5-10 Euros per night will be required.
You can always find the latest information and travel reports on our website in the internet. Please send us an email and we shall regularly inform you about changes of our program and other news.

More on actual dates, prices, photos, reports etc. (in German)

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