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Overview

Well suited to genuinely adventurous travelers, the interior of Senegal boasts a limited selection of real highlights, but this is compensated for by its distinctly untouristed feel. One of West Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuaries is the Niokolo-Koba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that hosts an interesting selection of large mammals, including roan antelope, giant eland, lion and chimpanzee – though none of these are as likely to be seen as warthogs and kob antelope. Niokolo-Koba is a birdwatcher’s paradise, as is the more southerly Casamance, a patchwork of forests and lagoons where several rainforest species occur at the far ...

Well suited to genuinely adventurous travelers, the interior of Senegal boasts a limited selection of real highlights, but this is compensated for by its distinctly untouristed feel. One of West Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuaries is the Niokolo-Koba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that hosts an interesting selection of large mammals, including roan antelope, giant eland, lion and chimpanzee – though none of these are as likely to be seen as warthogs and kob antelope. Niokolo-Koba is a birdwatcher’s paradise, as is the more southerly Casamance, a patchwork of forests and lagoons where several rainforest species occur at the far north of their range. Culturally, the region has much to offer. The long dusty road that follows the Senegal River from the Malian border to its mouth at Saint-Louis requires a good week to explore properly, with stops at remote ports such as Bakel, Podor and Ile de Morphil, which have some fine examples of traditional adobe and French colonial architecture. The Pays Bassari south of Niokola-Koba is named after the most populous of the traditional animist peoples that inhabit the area, while the more central city of Touba is famed for its modern Grand Mosque, the largest such structure in West Africa. Also very intriguing – and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 2006 – are the medieval Stone Circles of the Gambia border area. Here, Siné Ngayène, which consists of 1,102 cylindrical and polygonal stelae, is reputedly the world’s most extensive assemblage of megaliths.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    With some regional variation, the northern winter (November-May) is the driest and coolest season.