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West African Atlantic Explorer Freetown - Dakar

Trip Overview

This has to be one of the best overland routes in West Africa, due to its diversity. Starting in the Sarhelean country of Senegal, at the fascinating city of Dakar, and travelling south through to the stunning beaches of Sierra Leone, a country that is beginning to really embrace tourism, there is so much to see along the way.

With wonderful trekking to remote waterfalls, canoe trips to local villages, great opportunity for wetland birdlife and some absolutely stunning beaches, this trip really will surprise travellers.

But it is no walk in the park as we are travelling though countries such as Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and The Gambia with a minimum of tourist infrastructure. That is the whole point of the trip though; allowing us to trek through hills and stunning scenery to small villages that few outsiders will ever see and then to chill on the yellow sands of Atlantic beaches.

23 DAYS THROUGH Guinea, Guinea Bissau (+ 3 more countries)
of 9 reviews
$2,225 (USD) + 640 KITTY (EUR)
23 days
Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4, Pirogue (dugout canoe)
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
Breakfasts x 6, Lunches x 10, Dinners x 5
$350 USD


  Immerse in the art and culture of Dakar

  Explore atmospheric St Louis

  Visit the stunning grand mosque of Touba

  Spot exotic birds at Tendeba in Gambia

  2 days at the coastal resort of Cap Skirring

  Overland the rough and tough roads of Guinea

  Overnight in remote community accommodation

  Guided 2 day trip to Fouta Djallon

  Relax on the beaches of Freetown peninsular in Sierra Leone

  Explore Freetown and visit the National Museum


This is a trip for those who are happy to sacrifice home comforts for discovery and adventure. The roads can be poor, the climate hot and the insects common, but the rewards are well worth it. Accommodation will range from comfortable hotels, through to basic guest houses and camping.


Day 1 - Freetown ( 14th Mar 2020 )

Border information: if you are joining in Freetown, you will most likely enter Sierra Leone at Freetown Lungi International Airport (IATA code: FNA).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will collect your kitty and check your passport, visas, and insurance details at this meeting.

The afternoon will be free to explore Freetown and it's surroundings.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Freetown before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Freetown.

In Freetown we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

The fastest and most reliable way to Freetown from the airport is by water-taxi, as Lungi is across a bay from the city. The departure times for the water-taxis are linked to each flight in and out of the airport, so there will be transport available for you when you land. Exit the airport and walk to the right, and you'll see the water-taxi office at the end - you'll have to buy your ticket there for USD40 or EUR35, and check in your large bags. You'll take a minibus for 15 minutes, then the water-taxi for 30 minutes. The boat lands at the jetty, where you hand in your luggage ticket to get your large bags back.

The jetty is in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, only a 200m walk from our hotel. Just walk up the hill to the main road - the Raza Guesthouse is slightly further down and on the other side of the road.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

See the Freetown Cotton Tree, the city's most famous landmark and home to hundreds of bats that fly out at dusk


See the King's Yard Gate, where the ancestors of all modern Creole people will have passed through on their way to a free life after their rescue from illegal slaving ships


Learn about Sierra Leone's traditional history and cultures at the National Museum


Visit the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum, a remarkable collection of old trains that was hidden from destruction for 30 years


Take a boat to the overgrown ruins of the old slaving fort of Bunce Island, from where the ancestors of most modern African-Americans were shipped to the New World

USD 150
Day 2-3 - Freetown Peninsula ( 15th Mar 2020 to 16th Mar 2020 )

Today we leave Freetown for the stunning beaches of Freetown Peninsular, where we will spend 2 nights.

There are a few different options for which beaches we could choose to visit, our favourites being Bureh Beach at the south of the peninsular and River Number 2 Beach in the western part.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

We will have a full day for optional activities on the wonderful beaches - we could go fishing, take a boat to explore the Banana Islands, get to know the local communities, and of course relax on the beautiful beaches!

On Freetown Peninsular we will camp on the beach, with some options to upgrade to basic guesthouses.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Relax on some of the best beaches in the world dotted along the Freetown Peninsula


Take a boat trip to explore the beautiful and overgrown Banana Islands off the coast of the Freetown Peninsula

USD 25

Visit the orphan chimpanzees at Tacaguma Chimpanzee Sanctuary outside of Freetown, a wonderful organisation that rehabilitates rescued chimpanzees for their return to the wild

USD 15

Head out with the locals in their traditional wooden boats to try your hand at fishing

USD 10

Hire surfboards to take out onto the waves of Bureh Beach, one of West Africa's best surfing spots

USD 10

Head out on a diving trip around the reefs and shipwrecks off the Banana Islands

USD 180

Snorkel through the idyllic waters off the Banana Islands near Freetown Peninsula

USD 120
Day 4 - Southern Guinea ( 17th Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Sierra Leone at Kindia, enter Guinea at Pamalap.

Today we will head north from Freetown Peninsular and cross into Guinea. Our co-driver will leave the truck this evening and take local transport to Conakry in order to obtain Guinea-Bissau visas for the group at the consulate there.

The rest of us will continue a short way past the town of Coyah and wild camp en route.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 5-6 - Labé ( 18th Mar 2020 to 19th Mar 2020 )

Over the next 2 days we will continue our journey north through central Guinea to reach the town of Labé, the gateway to the Fouta Djallon highland region. Our co-driver will catch up with us in Labé, with everybody's Guinea-Bissau visa obtained.

In Mamou and in Labé we will stay in small local guesthouses.

Estimated Drive Times - 6-8 hours each day.

Day 7-8 - Fouta Djallon, Labé ( 20th Mar 2020 to 21st Mar 2020 )

From Labé we will set off for an included 2-day excursion to the heart of the Fouta Djallon region of Guinea.

On the first day we will travel in 4x4 jeeps through very remote country roads to the small rural community of Aïnguel (approximately a 4 hour drive). After lunch there will be a short 3-hour trek to a waterfall viewpoint and to the nearby 'Pont de Pierre' rock bridge where we have the change to swim in a beautiful natural lagoon.

On this night we will stay in a very small and basic community-run guesthouse - please note that if the group is large, some people may need to sleep in tents just outside.

On the second day there is a long 8-hour trek through the surrounding hills and villages taking in the incredible scenery. We will stop for a picnic lunch next to a stunning waterfall, where we have the opportunity to swim in the lagoon beneath. In the latter stages of the trek, we hope to be able to get to the base of a much larger and incredibly powerful waterfall, although this is dependent on the ground waters having receded enough after the rainy season to make this route passable.

Upon returning after this walk, we will immediately drive back in the 4x4s to Labé to spend the night in our guesthouse there.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided 2-day excursion to the stunning highland region of Fouta Djallon, with treks through the scenic hills to the incredible waterfalls and local villages, and an overnight stay in a community guesthouse

Included in Kitty
Day 9-10 - Northern Guinea ( 22nd Mar 2020 to 23rd Mar 2020 )

From Labé we journey up through the remote hilly areas of northern Guinea on our way towards Guinea-Bissau. The roads on this section are very challenging dirt roads which take us through some incredibly remote areas, and our speed will largely be determined by the state of these roads - although getting to these areas is very special and a great adventure, even more flexibility will be required on these days!

We will stop for 2 wild camps en route - the first is likely to be in the highlands before the village of Seriba, the second is likely to be near the border with Guinea-Bissau at Kandika.

Estimated Drive Times - 9-10 hours each day.

Day 11-12 - Bissau ( 24th Mar 2020 to 25th Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Guinea at Kandika, enter Guinea-Bissau at Kandika.

Today we will drive across the border into the very rarely-visited country of Guinea-Bissau, and drive to its capital of Bissau.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

On the following day, we will have time to freely explore the city and the old Portuguese centre of Bissau Velho.

In Bissau we will stay in a local hotel.

Day 13-15 - Cap Skirring ( 26th Mar 2020 to 28th Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Guinea-Bissau at São Domingos, enter Senegal at Mpack.

Today we will journey through western Guinea-Bissau and cross the border into the southern Casamance region of Senegal, arriving at the beautiful beaches of Cap Skirring.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have 2 full days in Cap Skirring, where there will be good opportunities for optional activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, quad-biking and sun-bathing!

In Cap Skirring we will camp in the grounds of a good beach hotel, where there will likely be the opportunity to upgrade to rooms.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Relax, sunbathe, swim and explore on the idyllic beaches of Cap Skirring and Kabrousse


Head out on a fishing trip on the Atlantic near Cap Skirring, having your catch for dinner that evening!

XOF 15000

Go out on a great day trip on the pirogues along the coast of Cap Skirring and to some nearby scenic islands

XOF 20000

Hire bikes to explore the beautiful coastline of the Altantic near Cap Skirring

XOF 5000

Head on an exhilirating quad-biking expedition down the miles of sandy beaches on the Cap Skirring coast (when available)

XOF 35000
Day 16-17 - Tendaba ( 29th Mar 2020 to 30th Mar 2020 )

Border information: Exit Senegal at Senoba, enter The Gambia at Soma.

Today we will head across the border from Senegal into the small country of The Gambia, and head to the famous Tendaba Camp on the southern shore of the Gambia River. Tendaba Camp was the first inland hotel in The Gambia, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for birdwatchers.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

Tendaba is located opposite the Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in Africa. On our full day here we will have an included morning boat trip into the wetlands to spot some of the stunning area's wildlife and natural scenery. We will also have an opportunity to take an optional safari drive around the nearby forests of Kiang West National Park.

In Tendaba we will stay in a basic guesthouse.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore deep into the stunning wetland delta of the Bao Balong Reserve on a motorised pirogue, discovering one of Africa's best birdwatching areas

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a fun safari truck ride through the dry deciduous forests of Kiang West National Park

GMD 350
Day 18-19 - Toubakouta ( 31st Mar 2020 to 1st Apr 2020 )

Border information: Exit The Gambia at Fass, enter Senegal at Karang.

Today we cross the Gambia River on a local transport barge and cross the border into the main part of Senegal, heading to the small town of Toubakouta, situated close to the stunning wetlands of the Sine-Saloum Delta. The ferry can be quite a chaotic local experience!

Estimated Drive Time - 6-9 hours (depending on the ferry crossing).

On our full day in Toubakouta we will have an optional morning pirogue trip to a nearby village to see a slice of rural Senegalese life and to meet their charismatic female chief. In the afternoon we have an included pirogue trip to the mangroves, the 'Shellfish Island' and the 'Island of Birds' - if the weather is good, there are often some stunning sunsets across the delta.

In Toubakouta we will camp in the grounds of a small locally-run hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Take an evening pirogue trip into the heart of the Sine-Saloum Delta to explore the fascinating islands and enjoy the spectacular sunset

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Head out by pirogue to a nearby village to meet the locals (including their female chief!) and learn all about rural village life

XOF 2500
Day 20-21 - Touba, St. Louis ( 2nd Apr 2020 to 3rd Apr 2020 )

Today we head north through Senegal to the old colonial city of St. Louis, formerly the capital of French West Africa. On the way we will see the landscape change as we enter the drier Sahel region, and we will stop to see the Grand Mosque of Touba, one of the best known mosques in Senegal and most holy site in the Mouride branch of Islam.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the streets of the old city and take an optional trip to the Langue de Barbarie National Park or the nearby Djoudj Birdlife Reserve.

In St. Louis we will stay in a colonial-era hotel with good facilities.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore Senegal's atmospheric colonial city of St. Louis


Marvel at the abundant birdlife in the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

XOF 25000

Explore the incredible landscapes of the Langue de Barbarie National Park on the tip of the sandy peninsular near St. Louis

XOF 10000

Visit some of the museums of St. Louis, including the Jean Mermoz museum dedicated to the history of the pioneering French aviators that open up the air route from Africa to South America in the 1930s

XOF 600

Visit the nearby Guembeul Nature Reserve, the centre for a gazelle reintroduction program and home to the African Spurred Tortoise

XOF 25000

Visit the stunning Grand Mosque of Touba, one of Africa's largest mosques and the holiest site of the Mouride Brotherhood, a sect of Islam that focuses on hard work as a form of salvation

XOF 3000
Day 22 - Dakar ( 4th Apr 2020 )

Today our overland journey takes us south to Dakar, the bustling capital of Senegal and the most western point in Africa.

In Dakar we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities in the city centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the atmospheric and historic Island of Goree

XOF 5000

Explore Senegal's bustling capital, Dakar


Discover the incredible beaches of N'gor and Yoff on the northern edge of the Dakar Peninsula


See the controversial African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, completed in 2010 - the tallest statue in Africa and built to symbolise Africa's emergence from European domination, it has been criticised by many for its 'Stalinist' design


Visit the IFAN Museum of Arts (otherwise known as the Théodore Monod Museum), one of the best museums in Africa with 9000 objects of African art and culture from across the region, including traditional dress, masks, drums, and tools

XOF 2500

Visit the Village des Arts, Dakar's hub for local artists to display and showcase their work in a large garden space

Day 23 - Dakar ( 5th Apr 2020 )

Border information: if you are leaving at Dakar, you will most likely exit Senegal at Dakar Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport (IATA code: DKR). 

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Dakar, and is a free day to explore the cosmopolitan city and perhaps take an optional trip to the famous Île de Goreé.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Dakar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.


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Trip Notes
Departing: 14 Mar 2020
Returning: 5 Apr 2020
Duration: 23 days
Route: Freetown - Dakar
$2,225 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: Full Payment
Departing: 9 Nov 2020
Returning: 1 Dec 2020
Duration: 23 days
Route: Dakar - Freetown
$2,225 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
Departing: 23 Nov 2020
Returning: 15 Dec 2020
Duration: 23 days
Route: Dakar - Freetown
$2,225 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
Departing: 13 Mar 2021
Returning: 4 Apr 2021
Duration: 23 days
Route: Freetown - Dakar
$2,225 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
Departing: 8 Nov 2021
Returning: 30 Nov 2021
Duration: 23 days
Route: Dakar - Freetown
$2,250 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
Departing: 22 Nov 2021
Returning: 14 Dec 2021
Duration: 23 days
Route: Dakar - Freetown
$2,250 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD
Departing: 12 Mar 2022
Returning: 3 Apr 2022
Duration: 23 days
Route: Freetown - Dakar
$2,275 USD + €640 Kitty (EUR)
Deposit: $350 USD


It was my first time travelling with Dragoman and I am completely sold!
Tamsin C
The intinerary took us to the most beautiful places of each country without moving too fast.
Carolyn C
Enjoyed most the general vibe of the countries everyday life. One real highlight was hiking and swimmin ini Fouta Djallon.
Nils Fredrik V
My first Dragoman trip, after many years considering it. Overall really enjoyed the experience and hope to do it again some time.
Sharon R
Traveling with a truck is great.
Stephanie F
The trip is more beach-heavy than I personally like. I would personally like a bit more time in Bissau.
Maciej W
I definitely enjoyed the experience and look forward to the next trip!
Laura P
I've never done overlanding or subsaharan Africa before so both were very new experiences to me
Heather S
There are no highlights but I knew that when I booked it.
Luke D