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Joal-Fadiouth

Joal-Fadiouth is a city in the Cap Vert-Thies region on the western coast of Senegal.

. . . Joal-Fadiouth . . .

Joal-Fadiout rests on the Petite Cote 35 km south of Mbour. The largest artisanal fishing port in West Africa resides here and provides a spectacular sight for the way fishing was done before modern machinery. While the city is usually referred to as just Joal, Fadiout is a unique and special part of the city. It is an island made primarily of sea shells and is home to most of the local Sereers and Catholics. Lastly, Joal-Fadiout is home to Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, in whom the city takes much pride.

The tourist season starts in November and goes until around April as the weather during that time is dry and pleasant. From May to October, the weather is typically hotter and once the rains start in July, very humid. Because Joal is on the coast, there is usually a pleasant breeze all the time which makes Joal cooler than most places in Senegal.

When departing from Dakar with your own vehicle, taking the route national from Dakar to Mbour, then from Mbour to Joal is very straight forward and on good roads.

Using public transport, from Dakar, the best way is taking a sept-places in garage pompiere for 2,100 CFA straight to Joal. If leaving from Mbour, the sept-places ride will cost 750 CFA. Luggage is not included with the price and will need to be haggled for. Usually large and heavy bags will cost 500-750 CFA each from Dakar to Joal.

Joal is a long town that hugs the coast. Walking the width of the town takes no more than 10-15 minutes while walking from end to end would take around an hour. The main road in Joal is where everything can be found and taxi’s called “klando’s” can be flagged down on the road and taken anywhere along that road for 100 CFA. The klando route is the fishing port to Fadiout on the main road. If one would like to go to a special destination, most klando drivers are more than happy to negotiate a price to go there.

In Joal there are a couple very interesting things to see. First, upon entering Joal, there is the artisanal fishing port which is a magnificent sight during the mornings and evenings when most boats bring in their catches. The organized chaos makes for an interesting visit along with the ability to purchase different types of fresh fish. The best hours to visit are around 09:00 and 18:00 when fishermen are coming back.

Another sight is the house where Leopold Senghor grew up in. As Senghor is revered for being the first president who set a tone for stability, it is a great visit to make. The house contains a bit of history as to what Joal was like during the colonial times and a family history of the Senghor family.

Fadiout is the main attraction in Joal where tour operators in Senegal stop on their circuits. It is recommended to take a tour as the guides are professional, but it can be done alone. First off it has a large, well built bridge leading to the city and another to their cemetery. The island itself is build primarily on sea shells from years and years of harvesting. The cemetery also is covered in sea shells and is a unique visit as Muslims and Christians are buried near each other which is a rare occurrence in the world. Fadiout also has some granaries that are kept between the cemetery and the city that is now unused, but is now a World Heritage site.

Lastly, just outside of Joal, towards Palmarin, is the grand baobab that is rumored to be the biggest in Senegal. It’s quite large and can even be crawled inside though watch out for the bats.

There are many places to eat in Joal from street sandwiches and rice shacks to hotel restaurants. Most local places can be found walking down the main road in Joal where there will be a “Resto” or “Fastfood” sign painted on the place. For places to eat that are well equipped and frequented more often by tourists are:

  • Le Finio This restaurant is inside the hotel which is near the bridge that leads to Fadiout on the southside of town. It is frequented most often by visiting tourists and makes great food. A normal meal will cost around 3,000 CFA not including drinks. Tel: +221 33.957.61.12
  • Diam Rekk Part of the hotel and located right behind the Total gas station on the southern part of town, it’s one of the best places to eat. It is frequented the most by educated locals due to its great environment and non-tourist prices plus their hamburgers and schwarma’s are excellent. A meal here can cost around 1,000 to 2,000 CFA depending on what one orders. Tel: +221 33.957.61.30
  • Le Murex on Fadiout next to the bridge that leads to the cemetery. It’s one of the local favorites for the Sereers. A meal will usually cost 2,500 CFA for fish or pork and 3,000 CFA for chicken plates.

Tel: +221 77.437.72.73

  • La Taverne du Pecheur Another great restaurant in Joal, this one is right next to the bridge leading to Fadiout, overlooking the mangroves and Fadiout. It’s a tourist favorite and is the only place that offers pizza’s which can even be delivered anywhere in Joal –Fadiout or Mbodiene for an additional fee. It has a charming atmosphere, great food and has the largest menu in Joal. Meals here will run around 3,000 CFA for their main plates and 3,700 CFA for pizzas. Tel: +221 33.957.68.43

. . . Joal-Fadiouth . . .

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. . . Joal-Fadiouth . . .

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