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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Senegal

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.  

ENTERING SENEGAL: U.S. citizens will need a valid passport with at least one blank visa page for an entry stamp. At the time of writing, U.S. citizens are exempt from tourist visa requirement. Citizens of other nations should contact the nearest Senegalese Consulate for entry requirements.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at  https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Senegal.html and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Senegal at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sg.html.

PACE OF TOUR: Most days we will have breakfast at our accommodation around 06.30 before we go out birding. It does not get light until between 06.30 and 07.00. However, there may be a few days with much earlier starts if we have to drive to reach a birding location.  We may take simple picnic breakfasts on these days. Lunch will be taken either at a suitable café or hotel, or on some days we may have a simple picnic lunch.  We always aim to return to our hotel around in time to allow an ‘hour to shower’ before dinner.  However, some days where we have a long drive, we may reach our accommodation later requiring later dinners.  With the high temperatures we may have long midday breaks on some days.  There are no very long walks or hikes, and almost everywhere we do walk is on good, level trails. There is one longer walk over uneven terrain towards the end of the tour.

There are a few long drives on this tour where we spend almost all of the day driving from A to B, with breaks for birding and lunch. Our vehicle is air-conditioned.

HEALTHIt is essential that you contact your own doctor to obtain the latest information on the regions you are visiting.  Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medication must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. It is recommended that you are up to date on routine vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Malaria is also present, and a malaria preventative is essential.

As we will be travelling from Senegal into The Gambia, a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required. This is because under International Health Regulations, a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of Yellow Fever transmission and for travelers who have transited through an airport of a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission. If you have already had an inoculation that has expired, the medical view is now that this lasts for life, so a booster is not needed. If you are over 60 and have never had a Yellow Fever inoculation, your doctor may advise you not to have one and supply a letter to that effect which will cover you.

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the Centers for Disease Control’s Travel Health website at:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/senegal?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001

Smoking: Smoking and vaping is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc.  While in the field or traveling, use of a smokeless alternative such as nicotine gum is requested. Please do not smoke at short stops while traveling. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group and leave ample time between smoking and getting back into the vehicle. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If any lodge, accommodation or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than WINGS’ policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail. The leader reserves the right to modify this policy if the situation warrants it.

CLIMATE: Inland it will be generally hot and dry with temperatures ranging from nighttime lows of about 15-20°C (60-70°F) to mid-day highs of about 25-35°C (80-95°F). However, we should be prepared for temperatures into the upper 30’s or even the low 40’s some days (100-110°F). At the time of our tour there is a chance of some days with stronger winds, especially in the north, which will lower the temperature, especially in the mornings and evenings.  There is also the chance of dust and wind-blown sand in the north. In the more coastal areas, it could be decidedly cooler.

ACCOMMODATION: We will be staying at hotels and lodges throughout the tour.  The quality will vary but all should be reasonably comfortable with en suite facilities. However, be prepared for a lack of hot water in some places, as well as low maintenance, especially away from the larger towns. Water and electricity at Wassadou Camp are provided by a generator, and this has restricted hours. The accommodation at Mbacke where we spend one night has a mix of rooms, some of which are very poor.  We will do our best to obtain as many of the ‘good’ rooms here as we can. There is no alternative place to stay.

Internet Access: Expect poor Wi-Fi away from the larger towns. Several of the lodges we use have it but it can be very slow. Mobile phone coverage is good but check that your home network will work here.

FOOD:  While the food is good, there is remarkably little variation. Most meals are either fish or chicken. Beef and lamb are available but not that common. Most meals are served with either chips or rice, and sometimes some basic vegetables.  The meals are often served with a yassa sauce – a very tasty slightly spicy sauce made from onions. Vegetarians are not well catered for and it may help if you can manage some flexibility in your approach. For strict vegetarians who do not eat fish or chicken, very often all that will be available will be the vegetables (if served) and rice or chips with the yassa sauce. Omelettes are usually available everywhere. In some places, pasta with a simple tomato sauce is available.  Salads are also served in some places. The leader will endeavour to buy bananas and other roadside fruit where possible.

Alcohol is widely available although we do visit a few places where it is not served.

Drinks: Bottled water, a soft drink or a beer (where available) are provided at meals. Wine is available but tends to be very expensive here, so we do not provide it (or spirits) as part of our drinks policy.  In addition, we keep a supply of bottled water on the tour vehicles. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be using a small, air-conditioned, coach with a local driver. The leader will arrange a seating rotation. Participants should be able and willing to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles.

Updated: 30 March 2020