Embark on an adventure from Sierra Leone through to Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia and Senegal.

Discover rarely-visited gems on this West Africa overland trip from Freetown to Dakar. 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.

Start
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Finish
Dakar, Senegal
Countries
Gambia,
Guinea,
Guinea-bissau,
Senegal,
Sierra Leone
Themes
Explorer, Overland
Code
DDOI
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4 Max 22
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

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

Itinerary

Border information: If you are starting in Freetown, then you will enter Freetown at Lungi Airport.
The fastest and most reliable way to Freetown from the airport is by water-taxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. The departure times for the water-taxis are linked to each flight in and out of the airport, so there will be transport available for you when you land. Exit the airport and walk to the right, and you'll see the water-taxi office at the end - you'll have to buy your ticket there for USD40 or EUR35, and check in your large bags. You'll take a minibus for 15 minutes, then the water-taxi for 30 minutes. The boat lands at the jetty, where you hand in your luggage ticket to get your large bags back.
The jetty is in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, only a 200m walk from our hotel. Just walk up the hill to the main road - the Raza Guesthouse is slightly further down and on the other side of the road.
Today is an arrival day with a pre departure meeting at 10:00hrs. Your leader will leave a note in reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport and insurance details at this meeting. The afternoon will be free to explore the city of Freetown.
Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Today we head to the Freetown Peninsula for some relaxation on one of the stunning beaches (approx 3 hours drive). We camp here for two nights.
Today we will head north from Freetown Peninsular and cross into Guinea (approx 8 hours).

Our co-driver will leave the truck this evening and take local transport to Conakry in order to obtain Guinea-Bissau visas for the group at the Consulate there. The rest of us will continue a short way further and wild camp en route.
Over the next 2 days we continue our journey north through Guinea to reach the town of Labe near the Fouta Djallon highland region.

We will spend a night in a local guesthouse in the town of Mamou, and we will also stay in a guesthouse in Labe.
Our journey takes us into the highland region of Fouta Djallon in the centre of Guinea. We base ourselves here for three nights in a small, locally-run hotel in one of the small towns in the region.
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.
From Labe we journey through the remote hilly areas of northern Guinea (approx. 9-10 hours)
The following day we cross into Guinea Bissau (approx. 9-10 hours).
We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be in the highlands before the village of Seriba, the second is likely to be near the border with Guinea-Bissau at Kandika. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas.
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.
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.
We have a relatively short journey to the Atlantic coastal village of Cap Skirring (approx. 7-8 hours), where we will camp in the grounds of a very nice hotel
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 head across the border today from Senegal to The Gambia, and to the Tendaba Camp on the Gambia River (approx. 7 hours).
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.
Today we cross back into Senegal and head to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the Sine-Saloum Delta (approx. 9-10 hours).
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.
Today we head north through the Sahel to the old colonial city of St. Louis (approx. 9 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.

On our journey today we will stop to see the Great Mosque at Touba, one of the best known mosques in Senegal and most holy site in the Mouride branch of Islam.
Today our overland journey takes us north towards Dakar. Along the way we will stop to see the Great Mosque at Touba, and the Medina Baay Mosque in Kaolack.
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.
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.
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

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights), Hotel (8 nights), Rondavel (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Entrance into Kiang West National Park
  • Pirogue trip
  • Great Mosque
  • Medina Baay Mosque

Dates

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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.

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