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Good Experiences in Senegal and Gambia

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 18, 2012 11:21 AM

Published: 2012-06-18 11:21:30
Countries: Gambia , Senegal

We cruised the coast of West Africa and visited Senegal (Dakar, Saloum, Cassamance) and Gambia (Banjul, Oyster Creek, Lamin, Bintang Bolon). In addition to the information on Noonsite we would like to share our good experience. Our boat is 31 feet, steel, draft 1.5 meter. The period we cruised here was January - June 2012.

Senegal:

We took anchorage at Dakar, Cercle de Voile Dakar (CVD). A sheltered anchorage with friendly accommodation on land and a regular (8 times a day, 8:30 - 21:00) water taxi for transport to shore. We stayed longer then planned thanks to many good new experiences we encountered.

On arrival we cleared immigration and customs with out any hassle. We applied for a 6 month's stay for our boat and received this 12 days later thanks to help from the CVD people (CFA 5.000).

The rivers Saloum and Casamance are very nice to visit. When you stay on the main stream of the river it is possible for yachts with 2.5 of draft to sail up to Foudiounge (Saloum) and Zinguichor (Casamance) without any problem. Freshwater and food was never a problem to obtain. Sailing the side creeks is very nice, but take care for shifting mud banks. Our tracks sailed (our draft is 1.5 meter) can be found here.

Thanks to the 6 month permit for the boat we had time for a beach haul and applied new antifouling. The technicians of CVD were very experienced in their jobs, and for their tariffs it made no sense to do work elsewhere or do the painting ourselves. We purchased the antifouling (Sigma Ecofleet) through one of the technicians at a very fair price. We also had some woodwork done for the boat by the CVD craftsman for a good price and work. The sailmaker is more expensive, but his work is good.

Gambia:

At first we took anchorage at Half Die to complete the check in procedure, known from the pilots. Our check in at immigration and customs was very easy. NO money was paid and no presents were given. This is according to the regulations, at least for Dutch visiting yachts. We received an immigration stamp for 30 days on our request. We did not visit the harbor office to request a river permit, as according to officials from customs and the navy, this does not exist. Customs visited our boat for inspection, but we had nothing to declare, so after a short visit the official left, he was a little disappointed as we did not give out any presents.

From Half Die we sailed to the anchorage of Oyster Creek. A nice and safe place to visit. Through the local community of boating and fisherman, fresh water, breakfast-lunch-dinner, fuel, gas and fresh fish is easy available for fair prices. We preferred Oyster Creek above Lamin Lodge anchorage, because from Oyster creek there is easy public transport to markets in Serrekunda or Banjul.

Security

We always felt very safe both on the anchorages we visited and on land. Of course we take the normal precautions, nothing of value in sight, only small amounts of money in the pocket. Establishing contact with local people/fisherman and shops near the anchorage to get familiar with local procedures and buy food/fish and freshwater.

We used public ATMs to get money, and yes, even as a small budget cruiser we regularly withdrew more then a half year local salary. We visited all the local markets that are crowded with people and we felt more safe at the markets than in areas that are more commonly visited by tourists. In tourist areas, especially in Dakar, there were always people willing to sell anything to you or guide you.

We also used local transport (crowded mini buses) and hardly any private taxi's and never had a problem.

Erik and Ernie
www.sy-gabber.nl
http://sy-gabber.blogspot.com (sorry dutch only)

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