Introducing Parc National de Niokolo-Koba
Niokolo-Koba, at 900 sq km, is Senegal's largest national park. It's listed as a World Heritage Site in danger, as park resources barely suffice to adequately protect the remaining animals (including elephants, lions, warthogs, and various monkey and antelope species).
You can explore the park by 4WD, though sightings of the rare mammals are far from guaranteed. The best option is a river tour (CFA6500), where you'll most certainly spot hippos and crocodiles, combined with an exploration of Simenti, the centre of the park. The waterhole nearby is a good viewing spot.
The park is officially open from 15 December to 30 April, as most areas are inaccessible during the wet months. The entrance fee (adult/child under 10 years CFA2000/free, vehicles CFA5000) gives you access for 24 hours. You get your obligatory guide (CFA8000) at the entrance gate.
To spend a night in the park, your best bet are to pitch a tent or stay in the rustic but tidy thatched huts of Camp du Lion.
You will need a vehicle to enter the park. It's best to hire a 4WD (CFA90,000 to CFA130,000) in Tambacounda. Enquire at the gare routière, at the hotels or at the National Park Office. You won't save any money using public transport, as pick-up and drop-off from the park entrance and the tours will also add up to around CFA90,000.