Hacker Beach Episode VI

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Return of the Donkey, January 2018


Petite Côte, Sénégal


Senegal road trip. Start in Dakar and make our way South, staying where we like it. Meet up with hackers on the way.

Confirmed stops

Île de Gorée (Jan 3-7)

This tiny island has a lot of elements from Shela village (Lamu island, Kenya, Hacker Beach Episode 2). It's located just in front of Dakar city, to the East. There's a ferry (going every hour until late night), which will take you to Gorée within 20-30 minutes, for 5200 CFA. The terminal is located next to the train station, and every taxi driver should know it.

  • Ferry schedule (just show up whenever, they're on African time anyway)

Popenguine (Jan 7-11)

From Wikitravel: "This small village on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean is located just 70km south of Dakar on the Petit Cote. Popenguine is a member of the Global Ecovillage Network of Senegal (GENSEN). It is known for its natural reserve, pristine sandy beach, and religious significance."


  • There's no ATM in Popenguine (next one is in Saly) and nobody accepts credit cards. So you should get cash before going there!

La Somone (Jan 11-18)

La Somone is a small town North of Saly/Mbour. It is situated right next to a river delta on the Southern end of the nature reserve of Popenguine. It offers a veriety of shops and restaurants, and plenty of accommodation options.

Nianing (Jan 18-22)

Nianing is a fishing village South of Mbour. We found a great place on the Beach called Bentenier, where literally everything is an object of art. (Remember Shela Fort? That!). A single room is 15K CFA/night. The entire beach in front of the village center is almost like an industrial fish processing facility, so if you want to find a place to hang out by the ocean, go a bit North or South of it.

Ndangane / Mar Lodj (Jan 22-24)

"Siné-Saloum Delta's Ndangane is a minor traveller centre along the coast from where you can take a pirogue to almost any point in the delta. There isn't much to the town itself, but it makes an easy-going base for delta adventures."

Banjul (The Gambia, Jan 24-31)

Welcome to crazytown.

Prospective stops

  • Around M'bour, Senegal. Tons of long stretches of beach. Some small towns, some big towns. Good cell coverage.
  • Nianing: village south of M'bour, 21km north of Joal Fadiouth. Small town, plenty of beach, some restaurants.
  • Banjul, The Gambia. An island in The Gambia, just south of Senegal. Island has about 40k people


As an unorganized, informal gathering, there's nothing to register or RSVP for. However, it would be much appreciated if you entered some kind of name (ideally your IRC nick) in the following list, in case you plan to join us. You can also add a timeframe, so we know who to expect when.

  • bkero (Jan 15)
  • raucao (Jan 3)
  • slvrbckt (Jan 3)
  • fsmanuel (Jan 5)
  • lio17 (a.k.a. derbumi, Jan 14/15)
  • you (enter name here plz)


Travel information

Getting to Sénégal

Fly into the brandnew DSS airport outside of Dakar. The rail link isn't finished yet, so the only option right now is taking a taxi to wherever you want to go from there.

Cheap flights from/via Europe are available e.g. on TAP Portugal (via Lisbon), or e.g. Air France to Morocco and then other airlines to Dakar. Just check the usual sites like Kayak, Skyscanner, etc. and you should be able to easily find something.


Visitors from most countries, including all of Europe and the USA need not apply for a Visa as long as your stay is under 90 days. You should have at least the address of your first nights stay ready in case you are asked by the border control, as well as the date of your planned exit.


Senegal uses CFA - West/Central-African Franc, which is about 655 CFA to 1 EUR, or 560 CFA to 1 USD. You can easily withdraw CFA from the ATMs at the airport which are just next to the SIM card stands after you leave customs.


2,000 CFA ~= 3 EUR
27,000 CFA ~= 40 EUR


4,000 CFA ~= 7 USD
42,000 CFA ~= 75 USD

Mobile networks

There are 3 booths at the DSS arrivals hall, which sell SIM cards and data packages: Orange, Tigo, and (plz fill in, I forgot). When we arrived the Orange booth had a crazy queue in front of it, and Tigo was empty, which probably speaks to the value (and that you can get LTE on the former).

You will need to show a passport for registration.


  • Orange seems to be the best provider
  • a SIM card is called 'puce'
  • you need a package called 'Pass Internet' and have the option to choose between volume and time based plans
  • They double your first top-up
  • Orange packages


  • Tigo sells SIM cards for 1000 CFA (~1.50 EUR) and a 3GB data package for 5000 CFA (~7.60 EUR). Coverage has been OK so far.
  • Tigo also doubles the first data package (I got 6GB allowance instead of 3GB)
  • You can check your Tigo balance etc. by opening https://moncompte.tigo.sn on your phone


This one should come as no surprise, but as part of the francophone world, the use of English language is rather limited in Sénégal. Learn at least some basic phrases in French (please, thank you, hello, goodbye, etc.), and use them liberally. Duolingo has beginner lessons for lots of languages and is completely free to use.

Even better than French however is learning some phrases in the actual local language: Wolof. There are some minorities speaking yet other languages, like e.g. Serer, but Wolof seems to be the the local lingua franca of Senegal.