Unique Experiences in Both Banjul, The Gambia and Dakar, Senegal

2023 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday & Thursday, March 29 & 30, 2023

Well, this will be an unusual post. 

We have visited these ports in the past.  You can find those prior posts in the archives for 2018 if you would like to see our first impressions.  This time, however, our reception upon arrival was a little different. 

Let’s start with Banjul, The Gambia:

A week or so before our arrival in The Gambia, the cruise line distributed a form advising all passengers that the Gambian government has raised visa fees to $155.00USD/pp.  However, we could opt to certify we would stay aboard the ship (i.e., not step foot on Gambian soil) to avoid that fee.  Many passengers did exactly that.  And yes, we did, too.  Our thought process was this:  we had already been here and seen the town as well as the beach resort.  We had enjoyed a lunch and shopping at the shore.  We had planned to repeat that activity and decided it would not inconvenience us to cancel the plan and just stay aboard the ship, thus saving a total of 310.00!!!  Sounded good to us as well as many other passengers who cancelled their organized tours!!!

Well guess what!!!  On the evening prior to our arrival, we were notified by letter that the Gambian authorities had demanded all passengers provide visas.  The cruise line could either by-pass the port-of-call (thereby inconveniencing all the passengers who had agreed to pay the visa fees and continue with their tours), or they could purchase the visas for the rest of us and simply charge our onboard-accounts. 

I bet you can guess what they decided to do!!!

Here we are, docking in Banjul, The Gambia.
The buses are lined up and waiting to either take us on our tours, or shuttle us to the Albert Market in town.
Local merchants came and set up a market on the dock!!! Hey, with tourists, shopping happens!!!
We opted to take the shuttle to the market and spotted some sites of interest along the way. This is a photo of the King Fahad Mosque, built in 1988, the largest mosque in Banjul.
This is the Arch 22. On July 22, 1994, a bloodless military coup d’état took place in Banjul. President Jawara was overthrown and replaced by Yahya Jammeh. Arch 22 commemorates the event. Today, it houses the textile museum.
Do you suppose this is a cell tower??? It’s huge but it does look a lot like a leftover Christmas decoration, doesn’t it?!?!
It didn’t take long to get to the Albert Market.
We shopped…..
…and found libations…
…..and shopped some more!!!
Returning to the ship, we found a brass band playing as we prepared to sail off to Dakar Senegal.

All in all, not too bad a day!!!

And then, there’s Dakar, Senegal:

Now Dakar presented an opposite problem.  On the day we arrived in port, the local authorities came aboard and advised that recent political developments in Dakar had prompted a large degree of unrest in the city.  We were told these protests would likely affect the port area.  Therefore, the port call was adjusted to a service call—strictly for the purpose of loading provisions—and no passengers would be allowed to disembark!!!

Our arrival in Dakar, Senegal seemed normal. But then, the authorities came aboard for the standard processing, and informed the ship’s security of the protests taking place in the city. It was determined passengers would not disembark!!! Tours were cancelled.
We had been in Dakar before and knew how interesting touring this city could be. We had ferried over to Goree Island in 2018 and were, now, looking forward to simply viewing the city, having lunch, and enjoying the town. We were sorry to lose this opportunity.
From the ship, it was obvious no activity was occurring on the dock.
Our ship anticipated unloading 8 containers of supplies today. It was not looking good. And as it turned out, our supplies were not unloaded. No workers came; no equipment was available.
We departed Dakar without provisioning!!! The plan is to acquire produce in the Canary Islands. No one is sure the crates will catch up with us!!! Well, aren’t we glad we brought snacks with us!!!

Now, we are sailing to Santa Cruz d’ Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

More to follow!!!

2 thoughts on “Unique Experiences in Both Banjul, The Gambia and Dakar, Senegal”

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