Traveling from Dakar to Banjul by public transport is very easy. Here’s how I did it and the approximate cost. I took a share taxi which is known in Senegal as a sept place.
Take a Dakar Taxi to Gare Routiere Baux Maraichers
Firstly, sept place taxis leave when full from Gare Routiere des Baux Maraichers. Gare Routiere des Baux Maraichers is located in the outskirts of Dakar so you must take a taxi out there. Approximate cost from Central Dakar or Ngor is around 3000-4000 Francs. Here is the exact location of Gare Routiere des Baux Maraichers. As you arrive, I recommend you tell the driver you’re taking a sept place and he should park close and point to where they’re parked. Finally, I recommend you leave at first light which is when most people make their sept place journey and waiting times are short.
Gare Routiere des Baux Maraichers – Sept Place – Dakar to Karang
So you’ve arrived safely at Gare Routiere des Baux Maraichers, what next? No doubt when you exit your taxi you’ll be approached by locals who want to help you (for a small tip). Maybe they are trying to distract you from going to the sept place area, maybe not. Nonetheless, walk over to the sept plus area and ask where the sept place to Karang is. It’s at this point someone will lead you to the correct place and show you the available sept place taxis. Be pleasant with them, they only require a 100-200 franc tip and will safely board you on the correct sept place.
Which Sept Place Should You Choose?
I had several options for my choice of Sept Place from Dakar to Karang on the Gambia border. Firstly, there was a sept place ready but with only the back seats available. The cost of this was 5500 francs. My second option was a more crowded minibus which was going for 4000 francs. My final choice was to pay 6500 francs for the front seat in the sept place photographed above. Of course, I had to wait a little longer for it to fill up but as I arrived during the early morning busy period this wait was only 15 minutes. Plenty of time to buy a coffee and a quick snack.
Dakar to Banjul – Leg 1 – Dakar to Karang
The journey from Dakar to Karang in sept place should take less than 5 hours. Along the route you’ll see several beautiful Baobab trees. Due to the river delta, the route takes you inland to Kaolak before heading south west to Karang.
Visiting Fathala Safari Reserve?
Fathala Nature Reserve is located shortly before you arrive at Karang. The sept place driver will be more than happy to drop you off at the entrance if you intend to visit. View overnight prices at Fathala Reserve Lodge. On my visit, I saw rhinos, giraffes, antelopes monkeys and of course these 2 zebras photographed above.
Dakar to Banjul – Leg 2 – Gambia Border to Barra
You can walk from where the sept place drops you off through both the Senegal and Gambia border areas. However, don’t take any pictures at the border area. You could take pictures but soldiers and police may require a small bribe afterwards. Most nationals don’t require a visa for The Gambia including UK, Canada, Australia as well as most of Europe. There are some exceptions because citizens of the US, Spain, Portugal and France must buy a visa on arrival.
From the border to Barra ferry terminal it’s a 20 km ride. You can find a share taxi for around 25 dalasi (less than a dollar). Alternatively, haggle with a private taxi driver which should come to less than 150 dalasi. Once in Barra you’ll find an ATM machine dispensing the local money, dalasi. Most importantly, you’ll find the ferry terminal which has regular departures to Banjul.
Dakar to Banjul – Leg 3 – Barra to Banjul Ferry
The Barra to Banjul ferry costs around 25 dalasi and takes 45 minutes (above, top left). Many locals warned me of pickpockets not only on the ferry but also around the ferry terminal. For this reason, be careful with your belongings and avoid the crowds if you can.
Welcome to Banjul
As I mentioned, be careful for pickpockets on the ferry and around the ferry terminal. What’s more, avoid any people approaching you offering accommodation. Choose recommended accommodation on Booking, alternatively consult your guide book. A taxi within Banjul should cost less than 50 dalasi. If you’re heading to the Senegambia strip, pay no more than 300 dalasi.
Read how to travel from Dakar to Bamako, Mali by land.