Getting there & away
From Dakar there are minibuses (US$7) and sept-place taxis (US$10, six hours) south to Karang at the Gambian border From Karang, there’s frequent transport to Barra, where you take the ferry to Banjul.
In eastern Senegal, sept-place taxis go from Tambacounda to Vélingara (US$3, three hours), and then from Vélingara to Basse Santa Su (US$2, 45 minutes, 27km).
The best place to pick up transport to Guinea is Tambacounda in eastern Senegal, where sept-place taxis ply the route to Labé (US$30, 24 hours). Most traffic passes via Diaoubé (Senegal) and Koundara (Guinea), where you may have to change, and some goes via Kedougou (Senegal).
Sept-place taxis leave every morning from Ziguinchor for Bissau via the main border post at São Domingos and Ingore (US$8, six hours). The road is paved but crosses two rivers, which can cause delays; start early. Fights briefly flared up around the border crossing in early 2006; always check the latest situation before setting out.
A popular, though tedious, way to travel from Senegal to Mali is on the Dakar–Bamako ‘express’ train, which normally departs from Dakar at around 10am Saturday, and takes 48 hours to reach Bamako. From Dakar to Bamako, it’s US$68/50 in 1st/2nd class, and couchettes cost US$100 per person (reserve in advance). Note that this once classic train journey has drastically deteriorated. Trains are often cancelled, or leave with a delay of several days, and derailments are frequent. Check the latest situation at the Dakar train station before setting off. Watch out for thieves on the train, especially at night.
You can also take sept-place taxis from Tambacounda and travel along the 180km highway to Kidira (US$6, three hours). Crossing the bridge at Kidira leads you to Doboli, in Mali, from where bush taxis to Kayes cost from US$4.
Sept-place taxis run regularly from Dakar to the main border point at Rosso (US$9, from Saint-Louis US$2), a crowded, hassle-some place. If waiting for one of the four daily ferries seems too painful, travellers without vehicles can also jump onto one of the many pirogues that do the crossing. From immigration it’s 500m to the gare routière, where bush taxis run to Nouakchott.
Dakar is well connected to other African capitals. Air Sénégal International has good, regular connections to Praia in Cape Verde (US$300), Banjul (US$300), Bissau (US$200), Abidjan, (US$350), Accra (US$380) and Bamako (US$290). Lagos is best reached by Virgin Nigeria (around US$380). There are also good connections to Morocco (Royal Air Maroc), Algeria (Air Algérie) and Tunisia (Air Tunisia). For trips to East Africa, Kenya Airways is your best option. Trips to Nairobi cost around US$1600, and there are good connections to Uganda and Tanzania. Ethiopian Airways has an excellent link to Addis Ababa (US$800), and South African Airways flies to Johannesburg (US$1300).