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  #1  
Old 23 Jan 2010
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Senegal: is it worth riding inland to Niokolo Koba?

Hi,

We'll be crossing Senegal south to north next year and we are still in the itinerary planning phase.

We don't see much interest in Gambia but we would like to know if is it worth riding 400km inland to Niokolo Koba and then return via Tambacounda? Or should we stick to the places near the coast line?

Main idea is to avoid big cities and get to know interesting but safe places.

Thank You and Best Regards,
Luís Cabrita
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Old 23 Jan 2010
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Hello Luis.

I have been in the park 3 times, and have to say it is a mixed affair.

I always based myself at the Simenti Lodge, which is being improved all the time, there are now some very nice rooms. And lots of space for camping. And a very nice swimming pool to cool off in after that dusty ride into the park! Also has a restaurant, but if camping you might want to buy food in Tambaconda or Kedougou before you get there.

If you go during the dry season, your chances of seeing more animals is much better (I was there in March and for West Africa the quantity of animals was impressive).....but in October time (wet) its not so good.

The road to Simenti from the entrance is a good dirt road, but lots of low hanging trees. You have to pay for every 24hours for each person, per 24 hours for the vehicle, and a guide is mandatory at 5000cfa per day.

Colvin Locke runs the Simenti Lodge (originally from Ipswich area!), and he is being courted by certain international organisations to monitor conservation projects in Congo. He is a great guy, married to a Senegalese lady, and very knowledgable about wildlife and the park in general.

One interesting fact about the park is that baboons hang around in troops of such large numbers that scientists are doing regular studies about why this occurs......Niokolo Koba has the largest troops recorded anywhere in the world (apparently).......when the road was blocked by a troop I was left in no doubt this was the case, I estimate well over 100 baboons.
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Old 2 Feb 2010
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I've been there in 2004 around april. During rainy season I was told the park isnt accessible.
Was very dry, and as of vegetation not much to see. Did see some animals, but it didnt compare to the parks I visited in South Africa.

The drive from Kaolack to Tambacounda was not very comfortable, very high temperatures, bad roads and a constant strong wind blowing sand

We stayed in Simenti. Prices were high, but what can be expected for some western accomodation in the middle of nowhere.
We had an aircon room, but the airco made so much noise, it was hard to get to sleep.
The temperature was higher then I've had experienced so far in Senegal, also much more humid. Everything you touched was warmer than you body temperature, not nice.

The food at Simenti wasnt very good, several guests got the runners... Stay clear from their non cooked foods. They pump their water straight from the river. Its bloody hot and I doubt it's filtered let alone cleaned.

We got mixed information about the existance of lions and elephants in the park. Have seen baboons, some deer, swines, hippos, crocs and all kinds of monkeys and tons of termite hills.
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