Travel from delightful Dakar to lively Freetown

Discover rarely visited gems on this West Africa overland trip from Dakar to Freetown. Very much off the beaten track, this is a fairly physically demanding tour that involves a lot of camping, hiking and trekking – though the bulk of it is undertaken in a comfortable overland truck. This is grassroots travelling at its very best, where you can really get involved in the communities and local people you meet along the way. Whether appreciating the breadth of stunning birdlife or relaxing on the many serene beaches along the coast, West Africa is the ideal destination for travellers wanting a different travel experience.

Dakar, Senegal
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Explorer, Overland
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 18
Group size
Min 6 Max 22
Carbon offset
1 161kg pp per trip


  • Glide through Senegal's Sine-Saloum Delta on a pirogue trip
  • Explore the buzzing arts and handicrafts scene of Bissau
  • Get back to nature in Guinea's Fouta Djallon region
  • Relax on a stunning beach in Sierra Leon


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 28 November 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

No ngoolu daa! Welcome to Senegal!
The trip begins with a group meeting at 10am.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
You know when you've arrived in Dakar. Senegal's bustling, cosmopolitan capital bursts with life. This is a city of busy streets, noisy markets, noisy, colourful markets and vibrant nightlife; at first it can seem chaotic but embrace the rhythms of Dakar life and you'll come to appreciate it just as much as the passionate people who live here. In terms of conventional sightseeing, the beautiful Ile de Goree is certainly worth a visit, the bustling centre of the slave trade during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

If you're interested in West Africa culture you should also seek out the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noir (IFAN) Museum, which has some great displays of show masks and traditional dress from all across the region. Or you may prefer to just wander the streets, browsing the markets and soaking up the atmosphere. Dakar also has a lively arts scene and you should be able to find some great live music here, there are venues all over the city and regular music and film festivals.
Today we head north through the Sahel to the old colonial city of St. Louis (approx. 6 hours), which was formerly the capital of French West Africa. We will have 2 nights here, giving us the opportunity to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie National Park.
Today we head south from Dakar to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta. Along the way we will stop to see the Great Mosque at Touba and also the Medina Baay Mosque in Kaolack - one of the largest and best-known mosques in Senegal.
The capital of the Kaolack region, the town of Kaolack is an important market town. It is also Senegal's main peanut trading and processing centre, and a major centre of Islamic education. The Medina Baay mosque in Kaolack is one of the largest and best-known in Senegal.
In Toubakouta we will stay in a small, locally-run hotel or campsite.
Situated amongst a maze of mangroves, the tiny town of Toubakouta is one of the most beautiful spots of the Sine-Saloum Delta and is a great place in which to base ourselves for excursions into the Parc National du Delta du Saloum, which teems with wildlife.
The following day we head out to the Sine-Saloum Delta for a pirogue trip in search of the stunning array of birdlife that the Delta area hosts.
The Parc National du Delta du Saloum is a region of great biodiversity, consisting of estuaries, beautiful beaches, mangrove swaps, sand islands, and dunes. The area is rich in animal life and is home to a variety of birds including flamingos, pelicans, herons, gulls, terns, egrets and avocets. We hope to see many of these species as we head out in a pirogue to explore the lush greenery of the delta's labyrinthine waterways.
We head across the border today from Senegal to The Gambia, and to the Tendaba Camp on the Gambia River.
The accommodation at Tendaba Camp is in simple round huts, in the African rondavel style. They are completely made out of natural materials from the bush. The camp is our base for our pirogue trip into Kiang West National Park.
We stay here for two nights and during this time will take an included pirogue trip into Kiang West National Park.
Established as a national park in 1987, Kiang West is now the largest national park in the Gambia. Situated on the south bank of the river it encompasses dry deciduous woodland, savannah, mangrove creeks and tidal flats. Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including 21 raptors: vultures, harrier eagles, sandgrouse, Blue-breasted, Kingfisher hawks, white-shouldered black tit and falcons. An ideal spot to watch birds is Tubabkollon Point. Also can be seen are the West African Manatee, otters, sitatunga and roan antelopes plus rarer sightings of animals include the hyenas, leopards and dolphins.
We journey into the southern Casamance region of Senegal to spend 3 nights on the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring (approx 7 hours), where there will be good opportunities for swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sun-bathing!
Cap Skirring is a town on the Atlantic Ocean coast of the Casamance region of Senegal. It is a popular seaside resort with miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches and warm ocean.
Due to the unpredictable nature of this region, a spare day has been added here to build some flexibility into the itinerary. This day will be used at the discretion of the leader and crew.
We leave our bush camp early and set off on another long drive to reach our destination of Bissau, where we spend two nights in a small, locally-run hotel (approx. 7-8 hours)
Guinea-Bissau's capital, Bissau, has a laidback vibe. The old Portuguese colonial centre, Bissau Velho, is noted for its charming, washed out, pastel-coloured buildings and bustling backstreet cafes.
From Bissau we journey through Guinea Bissau to northern Guinea. We will spend 3 days driving to reach the town of Labe in the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be just over the border at Kandika, the second is likely to be in the highlands past the village of Seriba. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas.
From Labe we will head off for an included 2 day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.
The stunningly beautiful Guinean highlands known as the Fouta Djallon, are the traditional lands of the Fula people of Guinea. The highland climate here is cooler than the rest of the country which makes it ideal for walking and hiking.
On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Ainguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby rock bridge ('Pont de Piedre') where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.
This night we will stay in a very small and basic community-run guesthouse - please note that if the group is large, some people may need to sleep in tents in the grounds.
On the second day there is a long 8-hour trek through the surrounding hills and villages taking in the incredible scenery. We will stop for a picnic lunch next to a stunning waterfall where we have the opportunity to swim in the lagoon beneath. In the latter stages of the trek, we hope to be able to get to the base of a much larger and incredibly powerful waterfall, although this is dependant on the ground waters having receded enough after the rainy season to make this route passable.
Upon returning after this walk, we will immediately drive back in the 4x4s to Labe to spend the night in our hotel there.
Leaving the Fouta Djallon region behind us, we head south through Guinea to the central town of Mamou (approx. 6 hours)
Tonight we aim to stay in a local guesthouse.
We continue our drive south through Guinea, stopping to wild camp close to the border with Sierra Leone (approx. 8 hours)
We cross the border from Guinea to Sierra Leone where it is time for some well-deserved relaxation on one of the stunning beaches of the Freetown Peninsula. We camp here for two nights.
Today's journey brings us to the capital of Sierra Leone - Freetown - where we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains, Freetown is the lively capital of Sierra Leone, steeped in history and culture. A British colony in the late 1700s, Freetown became the principal base for the suppression of the slave trade and 1200 freed slaves from Canada came here in 1792 to join the original settlers. There are countless beautiful beaches within a short cab ride form the city centre, and a journey to the hilltops that surround the city provides truly breathtaking views.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


Overland vehicle
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hotel (10 nights), Rondavel (2 nights)


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Important notes

1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
2. A single supplement is not available for this trip.
3. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes