Senegal - St Louis Jazz Festival

Senegal - St Louis Jazz Festival

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 10 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


When it comes to culture, Senegal is a very lively country, as proved by the two main events which have been taking place there; those are the Jazz Festival in Saint Louis and the Biennale of Art in Dakar. The Jazz Festival is such an important event in the international musical scene that the main artists attend it every year. Artists like Archie Sheep, Randy Weston, Lucky Peterson, Jake DeJohnette, Mc Coy Tyner, Ali Farka Tourè, Abdoullah Ibrahim and Joe Zawinul have walked the stages throughout the years. Artists who have changed the Jazz’s history. When the sun goes down, the Jazz’s rhythms mix with the natural African ones. Liveliness, music and theatre performances are the background of the Biennale of Art in Dakar which aims at showing the contemporary African art.

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●●○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●●○ | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●○○ | Wildlife ●●○○○ (November and December) Wildlife ●●○○○ (for other times of the year)

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • Explore the charming old town of Saint Louis in Senegal
  • Experience the Jazz Festival, an important event in the international music scene
  • Experience the art culture of the Biennale of Art in Dakar

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mix of comfortable hotel accommodation with private bathrooms
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Maximum group size 16 (you are likely to be joined by travellers from companies other than Undiscovered Destinations, with a mix of nationalities)
Start Point: Dakar
End Point: Dakar
Transport: Minibus, 4x4 Vehicles, Calash
Countries: Senegal

Group Size – Important Information

The maximum group size for this tour is 16. The group will be led by an experienced local guide and dedicated transport will be provided. As tourism facilities in West Africa are limited and some tours including those that include a festival can be popular, it should be noted that on occasions other tour groups will be travelling in the region and may be following the same or a similar itinerary. They may also be staying at the same hotels.

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour. Depending on the mix of nationalities in the group, and the group size, the guiding may be conducted in English plus additional languages, and there may be more than one guide with the group.

Day 1- 27th May 2020 - Arrival in Dakar

Arrive in Dakar and transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Hotel Djoloff or similar.


Located on the Cap Vert peninsula and Africa’s westernmost city, Dakar is thriving, colourful, and lively providing the first real experience of urban West Africa on this trip. Brash and often uncompromising, it was once one of the major cities of the French Empire and today is home to over a million people. With busy traffic and street vendors everywhere, Dakar is a world away from the rest of Senegal. Nearby is Gore Island, in contrast a peaceful sanctuary with well-preserved colonial buildings, giving it an almost Mediterranean feel. Gore is best known for its associations with the slave trade, although there is some controversy about how much of a role it actually played.

Days 2-6 – 28th May – 1st June - Dakar – Saint Louis

We continue to Saint Louis, a charming old town which was the first capital of all French colonies in West Africa. On the banks of the Senegal estuary, it first became an outpost of the French colonial penetration - spices, slaves, gold and Arabic gum all arrived via the river. It was thanks to the ventilated climate and advantageous location, that the presence of European merchants had always been constant, even before the actual colonial period. The city itself was later built on two large islands, between the river and the ocean. Having been the former station of the “Aereopostale” airmail pioneer operation, Saint Exupéry himself - the famous aviator and author of “The Little Prince” - had a base here as well! The best way to visit the narrow lanes of Saint Louis is by calash, just as locals do! Time to enjoy the unique atmosphere of this old town. We will spend the nights in the town historic hotel - built in 1895 and now fully renovated, it was here that all Aeropostale pilots use to stay.

In the mornings we explore Saint Louis.

We will have one half day excursion to Langue de Barberie to discover a unique humid and isolated ecosystem, limited to the north by the dunes of the Sahara and to the south by the dry Sahelian savannah. This “humid paradise” - the best habitat and nesting site for over a million of migratory and resident birds - lies on the southeastern bank of the Senegal River and offers a range of wetland habitats that are very popular with migrating birds, many of which get here after crossing the Sahara. Out of over 400 species, pelicans and flamingos are the most common, whereas aquatic warblers are a bit less conspicuous - migrating here from Europe, this park is their single most important wintering site yet discovered. Apart from birds, a wide range of wildlife is also present.

During the 5 days we will attend the main event of the Jazz festival, in particularly the evening concerts. During the day, time to relax, time to enjoy jam sessions and the festival. Overnight Hotel de la Poste or similar (B)

Days 7-9 – 2nd – 4th June – Saint Louis – Dakar

Drive to Dakar where we will stay for the next three days to enjoy the Biennale. In the mornings we will do a city tour of Dakar and Gorè island. In the afternoon, we will enjoy the various shows which take place all over the city including the island of Gore and Ngor.  Three days of visual art, music and theatre in a pure “African Style” in Dakar: the centre of political, artistic and intellectual “renouveau”. (Artists and program to be announced)

Optional Excursion – Lac Rose

Day excursion to Lac Rose, a shallow saltwater lake surrounded by dunes, also known as Lac Retba. The water is ten times saltier than in the ocean and thanks to the high concentration the lake often shimmers into pink. More than 600 workers here collect salt in the traditional way. Along the coast we discover the largest fisherman village in Senegal, more than 4500 wooden painted pirogues came to the shore with the catch of the day. We will live our vehicles for a less intrusive, but fun, donkey chariot to approach the fisherman selling to the local market women, to meet the artisans craving the large pirogues, the painters decorating them with bright colours and if  we are lucky the “local saint” for final blessing before sailing.

Overnight Hotel Djoloff or similar (B)

Day 10 – 5th June – Dakar Departure

Today spend more time at the Biennale. In the late afternoon, transfer to the airport for your departure flight (B)

Arrival and departure transfers provided on a shared or private basis depending on location. On occasions the transfer will be operated by a hotel shuttle bus (*please see notes below)
Mineral water provided in cars during visits
All accommodation
Transport as described
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (there may be more than one guide with the group and the explanations may be in additional languages) 
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Festival pass for the Jazz Festival in Saint Louis

International flights 
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance
Tips (discretionary)
Items of a personal nature

*Please note that airport transfers will be provided on the advertised start and end dates of the tour. In addition arrival and/or departure transfers will be provided in conjunction with any pre and/or post tour accommodation that has been booked and paid for through Undiscovered Destinations. In all other cases charges may apply for airport transfers.

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