Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis, Saly, Senegal
Mohammadou Ass Ndiaye is a local guide in Senegal and can be contacted at [email protected].
Birds of Senegambia a checklist. A really handy booklet for those visiting The Gambia and Senegal. Contains a list of Senegambian species and plenty of room to maintain day lists for a 2-3 week visit.
For independent travellers, there is a choice of airlines between Europe and Senegal and between Senegal and many African destinations. There are also charter flights to Senegal from some European countries during peak holiday seasons. There are several routes to The Gambia including a ferry service from Dakar. Bush taxis run from Dakar to Rosso, at the border with Mauritania, from where a boat can be taken across the Senegal river. Another popular crossing is at the Barrage de Diama near Djoudj. There are bush taxis from Dakar to Labé, Guinea, and from Ziguinchor to Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, although it is also easy to fly between Dakar and these countries. The Dakar-Bamako train is the best way to travel overland to Mali. The main roads between Dakar, Kaolack, Ziguinchor and other large towns are covered by buses. Car hire is not cheap but many companies have offices in Dakar.
Senegal is, overall, one of Africa's safer countries with a friendly and welcoming local population. However, it should be noted that, as with all large cities, Dakar can be dangerous in certain areas. The major danger in the country is in fact from its habitat and visitors should be aware that areas such as the Ndiaël faunal reserve and other sahelian areas can be treacherous and should only be explored with a guide and a 4x4 vehicle. When checking thick scrub be aware that there are many Warthogs in the areas. The taking of photographs does cause offence to the local people and should be avoided unless having asked in advance.
Other safety and health issues are no different from those in many African countries. Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended; (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling); (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (5) ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles.