The capital of the Casamance region of Senegal, the city of Ziguinchor doesn’t exactly inspire travellers. It’s dusty, a little bit rough, and you’re more than likely to get hassled by at the very least a handful of people preying on those they see as wealthy visitors. The truth is that most people simply pass through here, perhaps spending a night or two before heading to Cap Skiring or somewhere else along the beautiful coast line. Still, while the city is more likely to bore you to death than it is to inspire you, this is almost a required stop if you’re heading to the coast or Guinea- Bissau. Not only is it your last stop for decent bank machines, but it is also the best place to get your visa for Guinea-Bissau.
Ziguinchor might be more famous for being the capital of a state that still holds an active rebel group, but at the time of writing it was perfectly safe to visit.
Time Needed: 1 Day
Backpacker’s Budget: $30-40USD
Things to do in Ziguinchor
- Markets: There are two markets in town. Both are quite interesting both for tourists and locals. Just a warning though, you will be pressured at each turn.
- Architecture: There is some interesting old French colonial architecture in town, but much of it is crumbling to the ground. Still, if you’re into historical architecture, it’s interesting.
- Crocodiles: Just outside of town there is a crocodile farm called Ferme de Djibelor. Any guide in town can take you there. You can get there on your own as well.
- Pirogues: There are pirogue tours leaving from town. Any guide in town will hook you up with the details.
Where to Eat in Ziguinchor
- Hotel Tourism: I pretty much ate at this place nightly. Mostly because I was working and they delivered to my room at the Flamboyant hotel across the street. The food is good, but it’s a little expensive.
- Le Eroban: Best fish in town. It’s not fancy, but the food is very good. Makes for a nice late lunch stop.
- Ferme de Djibelor: I didn’t try the crocodile, but they do sell it for about $10.
Where to Stay Ziguinchor
- Le Flamboyant: I stayed here on the basis that they were having a rainy season special of only 10,000 CFA a night. Usually they are 16,000, which is still decent considering there is a pool, beautiful rooms, a central location, and good free WiFi.
- Auberge Aw-Bay: Likely the cheapest reliable place to stay in town, I had a quick look in and thought it was definitely a place I could stay. They were charging a measly 4000CFA a night.
Getting out of Town
The town’s Sept-place and bus terminal is just outside of town and a cheap taxi ride away. From here you can get to most destinations pretty quickly. The best time to find a ride is between 7-8am. Cars have no schedules, they simply leave when they are full.
- Dakar: It is, I am told, possible to get to Dakar is one day. However, I’d recommend that you head to Banjul and crash a night before continuing on.
- Banjul: Loads of taxis go to the border and then you’ll have to change to another car for your trip to the capital of The Gambia.
- Bissau: There are a bunch of cars going to Bissau as well, and again you’ll have to change at the border when you get there.
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