The capital of the southern region of Casamance, Ziguinchor, almost like northern Saint-Louis, bears a vivid imprint of the colonial past: the streets in the city center are wide and shady, and the houses would be absolutely not ashamed to stand somewhere on the outskirts of Paris. However, as soon as this shining top layer is scraped off a little, the wildest and most wild Africa breaks out to the surface: nearby aboriginal villages with absolutely otherworldly huts, seething markets like “dismantling-collapse”, where, it seems, you can buy everything in the world., and thickets of age-old baobabs. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
How to get to Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor has its own small airport serving only domestic flights. To get here from Russia, you must first land at Dakar International Airport, for example, using the services of such airlines as Air France with a transfer in Paris, Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul), Alitalia (Milan), Iberia (Madrid), Tunisair (Tunisia), Air Algerie (Algeria) and Royal Air Maroc (Casablanca). After the bankruptcy of the national carrier Air Senegal, information about flights between Dakar and Ziguinchor is extremely contradictory, and it is not recommended to rely on a domestic flight.
You can get from Dakar to Ziguinchor by minibus (about 10,000 XOF, travel time – 9 hours) or intercity bus (7,000 XOF, 11 hours). The distance is 450 km, the journey includes a ferry crossing over the Gambia River, and depending on the congestion of cars, travel time may increase.
If you decide to use the minibus, you must arrive at the bus station in Dakar very early, before 6 am.
On a ferryboat
Another option is to arrive on a ferry from Dakar to Ziguinchor twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. The ship departs around 20:00 (landing from 17:00) and arrives at the destination by 10 am the next day. The cost is from 15,000 XOF for a chair (not recommended – very uncomfortable) to 30,000 XOF for a place in a double cabin. Book your tickets early, especially during the high tourist season, as seats fill up at lightning speed.
Transport in the city
Ziguinchor is actually a much larger city than one might expect from it. To move around it, use the services of a taxi – it costs a penny, and cars are waiting literally everywhere. The fare within the city is fixed – 500 XOF (about 1 EUR).
Cuisine and restaurants of Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor has an impressive number of catering establishments. The cuisine is offered the most diverse: French, African, Mediterranean and original Senegalese.
Shopping and shops
Fans of exotic shopping are guaranteed to be delighted with Ziguinchor – the city is home to one of the best markets in Senegal – Marché Saint Maur des Fosses. Here you can buy African cotton fabrics and clothes of fantastic beauty and dizzying colors, spices and seasonings, interior items and other cute little things.
Also be sure to visit the Center Artisanal located in the city center – everything that the Casamance region is so famous for is sold there.
From natural souvenirs, you can buy honey, mango vinegar and shea butter. Fashionistas are advised to look into the atelier of the traditional Senegalese batik OSD Batik and Keur Boutesse.
Entertainment and attractions of Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor is a convenient starting point for excursions to the southern regions of the country. Popular trips include:
- visit to the Aboriginal village of M’lomp with adobe two-story huts, giant cheese trees and the ethnographic museum of the Diola people.
- excursion to the village of Oussouye, 45 km from Ziguinchor. Under the canopy of tropical cotton and mango trees, its own king (always dressed in red, with a scepter in his hand) rules here.
- during a trip to the village of Enampore, you can see the process of making Bunuk palm wine.
- the village of Elinkine is the main fishing center of Casamance, where you can look at fish pies and walk around the abundant fish market.
- Carabane Island – a labyrinth of mangroves and a leisurely primitive life in the bosom of nature – complete relaxation is guaranteed.
- missing civilization, visit the beautiful beaches of Cap Sciring.
From Ziguinchor, you can also go on longer trips – to the Niokolo-Kobo National Park, at the eastern border of the country, as well as to neighboring Guinea-Bissau (a visa can be easily obtained at the consulate directly in Ziguinchor).