The cruise begins in Saint Louis - the Manhattan of Africa - situated on an island at the mouth of the Senegal river and the Atlantic ocean. Saint Louis is the former administrative capital of French West Africa from where they ventured into the interior of Africa along the river Senegal.
Saint Louis is a lovely town: the breeze coming off the Atlantic ocean keeps its climate temperate; the faded grandeur of colonial architecture and Provencal colours mix with Christian and Muslim traditions to create a quietly cosmopolitan town in touch with its roots.
En route you witness the daily lives of the various tribal groups - Tukolor, Maure and Wolof - who live along this border river. You witness fishermen, cattle-herders and nomads going about their daily routine.
Their villages, old French forts in the desert, bizarre follies, and the World Heritage Parc d’Oiseaux De Djoudj, one of the most important sites in the world for migrating birds, are amongst your daily stop offs.
Note: depending on the week you book, you can either do the cruise up river from Saint Louis to Podor or down river from Podor to Saint Louis.
Day 1 Thursday
To have arrived in Dakar. Hit the ground running with great food and live music in the coolest city in west Africa.
Day 2 Friday
Dakar to Saint Louis. Lunch and relax on the Langue de Barberie – a large spit of sand between the Senegal river and the Atlantic for swimming and birding. Stay Saint Louis.
Day 3 Saturday
Explore the historic and pleasant town of Saint Louis with a Caléche horse and cart guided tour of Saint Louis, before boarding the cruiser for the night.
Day 4 Sunday - Day 8 Thursday
Cruise up the Senegal stopping off each day at Tukolor and Maure villages, old French Forts, the Djoudj bird reserve - one of the most important breeding grounds for migrating birds. You will dine and BBQ, lunch and breakfast and of course sleep on the Cruiser.
There is an excellent English speaking guide who takes you through the regions colonial and tribal history with passion and intelligence
On board you have a couple of bars, a restaurant, a small swimming pool, massage facilities and plenty of lounging space.
Transfer back to Saint Louis.
From Day 9 you can extend your trip with extra days in Saint Louis, Dakar or relaxing on the beaches of La Petite Côte.
"Caroline and I both really loved the week, and have only good things to say about the trip. Great mix of people, great boat, great food, great guide! So a real winner – am sure everyone felt the same." Sacha Schoenfeld, Cruise Senegal Trip 2009
"We had no idea what to expect of Western Africa, although we have previously been to most countries in the East and the South of Africa. The Senegal River Trip was a really great way to get a first feel for Western Africa. There are few river boats left now in Africa and this one was definitely worth the trip. Le Bou El Mogdad was bit more comfortable too than we expected - and served up better food than we expected. The trip gave a great insight into the continued existence of tribal subsistence living in the country - and for the twitchers there was really good birding as well in the Parc d'oiseau De Dijouf. (February we were there - for those birders who are keen to know where it fits in the migration routes. Try also the Iles de la Madelaine just a few K off Dakar if you have a few hours left for birding on the way home.
While Senegal is not big on either desert or big mammals it has given us a real thirst now to widen our West Africa experiences, and a trip with fromhere2timbuktu to Mali, and then the Cameroons, and then maybe Gabon in now definitely on our agenda. (Not all at the one time!)
Oh - and we should mention that Guy isn't a bad guide either!!! Very good actually. He makes it all happen - but quietly. Guy does a nice number in travelling Toureg style as well. As General Paton famously said "I shall return"." Ted & David Black, Scotland, February 2009
"I just want to say what a great trip we had- I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise- previously having thought I'd NEVER go on one! Still I think it was a cruise "with a difference"- all v relaxed & informal- you do make an excellent guide /leader- not too bossy but making it clear what's required." Sara Wilmott
"Weird to be back in the wilds of Radnorshire after feeling like I'd been rolled in the sands of West Africa - so many impressions, sights, sounds, tastes, and it took a little while not to address every stranger in my appalling french! What a party. I have nothing but good to say, and a huge thank you for being so cool and collected, and flexible." Jasmine Grassie
"Huge congratulations to the maestro! WHAT a holiday! We just loved it all and I know just how much time and work you put into it. Every single hotel and eatery choice was perfect." Gilly Miller