Dakar: Arriving & Departing
The airport that most tourists normally use if they plan to fly into the city of Dakar is Dakar-Yoff-Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (DKR). This airport does receive flights from other countries, and also has international departing flights. Delta airlines flies from the United States to Dakar – departing from Atlanta . The flight normally lands in Dakar and then continues flying to South Africa . South African
Air also stops over in Dakar, on flights between Washington, DC, or New York City, and Johannesburg. These flights are co-listed with United, so you can earn/use Star Alliance miles. South African Air does a very nice job.
There are other routes used to fly into Dakar , and most of them require a connecting flight in one of Europe ’s major airports. Normally, Paris has regular flights to Dakar . The Dakar airport is large and on a yearly basis serves almost one and a half million people.
When you arrive in the terminal, look the the counter at the right to fill out a visitor’s form, with your flight number, passport, etc., then proceed to the lines for passport control. Once through there, you’ll arrive at baggage claim, with porters offering their services. You can politely tell them no and collect your own bags. Pass through the baggage inspection, exit the airport. Taxi service is to the right.
The Dakar airport is conveniently located close to the city. It’s less than twenty miles from the center of Dakar and there are many different busses and taxi services that tourists can take to get where they want to go from the airport. Taxi prices are negotiated, so feel free to make a counter-offer or move on to another driver. You’ll also find people asking to buy your currency. There are also different car rental agencies located on the airport grounds, so it’s fairly easy to pick up luggage, obtain a rental car, and drive to a hotel.
The Dakar airport works with several different airlines and also sees charter flights on a daily basis. Information on purchasing a plane ticket to Dakar can be found on most travel-related internet sites, or a travel agent can be consulted.
Dakar: Getting Around
It’s possible for tourists to get around the Dakar area using a few different modes of transportation.
There are two types of busses in Dakar : Those that can carry up to forty people and those that carry fewer people. The busses that can carry up to forty people are called, “Cars Mourides,” and the busses that can carry about fifteen to thirty people are called, “Ndiaga Ndiaye.” These busses often travel on the main roads in Dakar as well as the other large cities/towns in Senegal .
For any tourists who want to travel long distances (e.g. out of the city of Dakar ), the most popular mode of transportation is called a “Sept-Place Taxi,” or more commonly known as a “Bush Taxi.” Using this form of transportation is not necessarily comfortable. They are usually cars with three rows of seats, and up to seven people are squished into the vehicle. Even though the ride might be tight and uncomfortable, the bush taxis are usually pretty reliable and they are not hugely expensive.
Taking the busses in Dakar costs less than a bush taxi, but it is not an easy way to travel, especially for tourists carrying luggage.
There are ferries available that leave from Dakar and travel to Ziguinchor. The ferries are reasonably safe, reliable and comfortable.
Dakar: Taxis & Rental Cars
Rental cars are available from the Dakar airport, but most tourists do not utllize them. Instead, most used either the public transportation system(s) or taxis to get where they want to go.
It is very easy to obtain a taxi ride in Dakar . All a tourist has to do while walking down the street or standing on the sidewalk is raise a hand in the air and a taxi will do everything that is possible to be the first to arrive and offer a ride. Taxis have been known to pull off some crazy maneuvers in order to turn their vehicle completely around on a street in order to pick up a passenger.
Because there are usually so many taxis available for hire at any given moment, the competition is high. This is a real advantage for tourists and potential passengers because it’s possible to bargain for the price of a ride. At first, tourists may not know the typical price to go from one place to another, but after a few taxi rides, it’s not overly difficult to figure out a fair or good price.
Taxis are often a much more comfortable form of transportation, as compared to the busses in town that are often extremely crowded.