The first time I ever visited the Casamance I tried and failed to get tickets for the overnight ferry that runs from Dakar to Ziguinchor. By all accounts it was a European standard German ship that didn’t overload and ran on time, hence its popularity. This is following a disaster in 2002 where one of the previous ferries, which was massively overloaded, sank. Almost every village in the Casamance has a memorial to more than 2000 people who perished and every family knew someone who’d drowned. This includes Khady’s cousin and for that reason she’ll only travel to Dakar by road.
Now all is good but, after six years here I still hadn’t taken the boat. Until now, that is.
For anyone seeking information, the boat runs as follows:
Dakar – Ziguinchor: Tuesday and Friday. Embark before 17:30 and arrive 10am the next morning.
Ziguinchor – Dakar: Thursday and Sunday. Embark before 1300 and arrive at 7am the next morning.
Additionally, two new boats, the Diambogne & Aguene are now running, with seats only:
Dakar-Ziguinchor: Thursday and Sunday, leaving at 20:00 and arriving 11am
Ziguinchor – Dakar: Tuesday and Friday, leaving 13:00 and arriving 18:00 the next day.
The ferry also calls in at Isle de Karabane where you can get on or off.
Seats cost 15000cfa and cabins 30000 cfa with discounts for residents.
There’s a restaurant on board and a bar at the back. It’s not possible to book online but I can arrange for tickets to be purchased – I just need copies of your passport and the fee plus a booking fee. Contact me if you require this ticket – the system is electronic and you can pick up your tickets at either end.
So, Glyn, Sharon and I arrived and settled into our four person cabin with a local chap who seemed determined to make the most of the air conditioning and slept the entire way apart from a brief break to play us Youssou N’dour videos on his tablet.
Then we located the bar, ordered some real coffee and took in the views.
The tropical decay of Ziguinchor:
Isle de Karabane:
The best bit was when several dolphins started surfing in the wake left by the boat: