This small village on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean is located just 70km south of Dakar on the Petit Cote. Popenguine is a member of the Global Ecovillage Network of Senegal (GENSEN). It is known for its natural reserve, pristine sandy beach, and religious significance. It is also the weekend getaway for the President of Senegal, as the second presidential residence is located between Popenguine and the village of Ndayane.
The Natural Reserve of Popenguine is located to the south and was created in 1986 thanks in large part to the local women's group, RFPPN. It is the first and only reserve managed by the Park Service in partnership with the local women’s group. The woman’s group had the foresight to ensure the protection of the natural habitat before it could be destroyed by the locals in their search for wood for cooking. Through their efforts, the women were able to protect 2493 acres of the park in which a variety of plants, birds,and other animal species have been able to thrive. Due to their hard work, the Reserve is now the major draw for tourists.
Popenguine is also known for the sighting of the Black Madonna in the reserve. Due to this appearance, an annual pilgrimage to Popenguine takes place in which Christians in Senegal and nearby countries visit. The pilgrimage usually takes place around May/June for any tourists who are interested in witnessing this event.
Over the years, Popenguine has become a very cosmopolitan village. Popenguine is home to a famous Senegalese film director, a local artist (Gade Diouf - Artist's Website), a Ghanaian author, and expatriates from a variety of countries. Due to the uniqueness of the village, it has come to have all the amenities of a big city while still maintaining the charm and peacefulness of a small village.
Popenguine is one of the few tourist villages in which the tourists are not constantly harassed by the locals. You will rarely hear the locals asking you to give them money, water, or food. You will also rarely hear them call you "toubab" (white man). They will actually take the time to greet you and ask for your name. Senegal is the nation of Teranga (hospitality), and the citizens of Popenguine will ensure that tourists will leave believing it to be so.
The dominant ethnic group in this region is Sereer. The most prevalent languages heard in the village are Wolof, Sereer Safin, and French. There are a few locals who speak English as well.
The Senegalese are a very friendly and hospitable group of people. In order to continue receiving their hospitality, please follow the actions listed below.
As a tourist, you will be asked by many people to give out money, and even if you want to, PLEASE DO NOT GIVE OUT MONEY!!! The reason the locals in Senegal always ask tourists for money is because the tourists had done so in the past. However if you use the locals for entertainment, eg sit down in their vendor stalls and take an hour or two of their time talking and drinking tea, have them show you around like a tour guide, and/or they invite you to lunch or dinner in their home, then of course, just like in your home country, time is money and you should give them something for their kindness. The flip side of this is visitors should not rely on the kindness of strangers and then take advantage of their kindness by mooching off them.
Keep in mind, you are on vacation, they are working - so buy some items from them or pay for a meal. Hospitality is a two way street.
If you really want to donate something to the community, please go to the local market or boutique to find out what supplies children use in that area and purchase locally. They do not use the same types of notebooks used in the west. Give the supplies directly to the students to discourage hoarding.
Here's what is universally needed: pens, compass sets, scientific calculators, colored pencils, coloring books, graph paper notebooks, backpacks.
The travel seasons in Popenguine and most of Senegal is between the drier months of November through May. This time of year is characterized relatively with little rainfall, low humidity and mild temperatures. Temperatures range in the mid to high seventies during this time. During this period, the migratory birds of Europe come to Senegal for nesting giving the tourist the perfect opportunity for bird observation. The months of June through October see increased rainfall rising temperatures peaking around August through October.
Travelling to Popenguine can be handled in many different ways. Please see below for the different modes of transport the tourist can take to get to Popenguine.
Contact : Jean Baptiste Tine Tel : 00 221 77 563 4272 Price : 25,000CFA (4 people max.)
Contact: Birane Faye Tel: 00 221 77 640 7109 Price: 25,000CFA (4 people max.)
Contact: Youssou Tel: 00 221 503 4597 Price: 25,000CFA(4 people max.)
You would take the sept-place that is headed towards Mbour, and tell the driver that you will be getting off at Sindia. You can buy out all the seats or just buy your seat and wait for the car to fill up.
Price: 1,400CFA/ passenger, 500CFA max. for luggage
You would take a Ndiaga Ndiaye that is headed towards Mbour, and tell the apprenti (the boy at the back of the bus) that you will be getting off at Sindia.
Price: Between 500 – 700CFA
Once at Sindia, you take a bush taxi into Popenguine. There are 2 types of taxis. A small one in which the max. # of people is 6, and a big truck in which the # of people in the car varies from 16- 22 people. Like the sept-place, you can buy up the entire taxi or just pay for your own seat and wait for the car to fill up with other passengers. If you decide to rent out the entire taxi, then the driver will take you directly to your destination. If you don’t, then the driver will drop you off at the centre of the village.
Price for small taxi: 300CFA/ passenger Price for large taxi: 200CFA/ passenger
All Prices mentioned above are subject to change
Popenguine is a pretty small village, so one can get around the village by walking or renting out a horse or donkey drawn cart.
One can get from one village to another by taking a bush taxi, a horse-drawn cart, or a pirogue (boat). One can also be adventurous and hike their way to other villages.
Popenguine is a centrally located village which can meet any tourists demand. For beach and ocean enthusiasts, there is a pristine, sandy beach just by your doorstep where you can spend your day. You can also rent out a pirogue (boat) from Popenguine and visit the other coastal villages and towns. For the nature enthusiasts, there are 2 National Parks, a Private park, and a classified forest within a 10km radius of Popenguine. For the cultural tourists, there is a chance to visit traditional Seerer villages and partake in their traditional pas-times; such as, making and drinking Senegalese tea and other activities. The tourists can also learn about the significance of a Catholic presence in a traditionally Muslim village. Below is a detailed list of activities that tourists can partake in:
1. Visit the Natural Reserve of Popenguine
2. Visit the Community Reserve of Somone
3. Visit the Reserve of Bandia
Tel. - 00 221 33 685 5885
Website - www.reservedebandia.com
4. Visit the classified forest of Accro- Baobab
Tel. - 00 221 77 638 7474
00 221 77 637 1428
00 221 33 865 0555
Website - www.accro-baobab.com
5. Visit the historic church in Popenguine and ask the Church volunteers for a mini-tour of the church.
6. Take a pirogue ride in the ocean all the way from Mbour to Toubab Dialaw. For fishing enthusiasts, Moussa can take you out to the hotspots out in the ocean. Your guide will provide all fishing materials, so all you have to do is just be properly dressed to be out in the ocean.
7. Visit the village of Popenguine and other villages that partake in protecting the Natural Reserve of Popenguine, and learn about their culture, food, and lifestyle.
8. Go on a day trip to Saly, Toubab Dialaw, or Mbour which have plenty of activities for tourists.
9. Learn how to play all types of West African Instruments; such as, Balafon, Gembeh (African drum), Tama (African drum) African Guitar. Also learn the West African dance.
10. Learn about the history and activities of the local women’s group who ensured the protection of the natural reserve of Popenguine. Visit the Ker Cupaam Campement to hear the story from the women themselves.
For further information on park entrance fees, guide fees to all parks, and other activities within the parks, go to the community owned campement, Ker Cupaam, located by the entrance of the Natural Reserve of Popenguine or email/call the Eco Guides.
1. Ousmane Badji – Tel: 00 221 77 782 4735, Email: [email protected]
2. Ndeye Ndella Ndiaye - Tel: 00 221 77 264 8964
The national currency of Senegal is the CFA Franc. Along with the CFA, the locals also accept Euros. One Euro is permanently fixed at 650CFA which makes the conversion simple.
One can buy souvenirs from the artisanal shops located in the village, from the artisanal stands located in or around the lodges, or from women on the beach. The types of artisanal goods a tourist would find in Popenguine are hand-made bead necklaces, baskets (long grass fiber woven with strips of palm fronds), senegalese clothing, wooden crafts,and etc.
Managed by Hubert
Tel: 77 525 1983
This charming artisanal shop is located just across from the Balafon Cafe. The majority of tourists purchase their products from here because of the professionalism, friendliness, and hassle-free service they receive from Hubert. You can bargain with him, but the majority of the time he provides the tourist with a reasonable price. He is also a great point of reference to get more information about the village.
Types of Products and Services Provided:
Popenguine has many different types of restaurants to meet the needs of any type of tourists. One can find a wide variety of foreign dishes; such as, french and italian as well as local Senegalese dishes; such as yassa poulet (chicken over rice covered in a tasty onion sauce), and ceeb u jen (rice and fish). Ceeb u jen is the national plate of Senegal. The best restaurant to order Ceeb u jen is at Ker Cupaam, otherwise the ceeb shacks in the village are the next best option. As Popenguine is right by the ocean, you can be sure that seafood will be prevalent in the menu, and it would be a wise choice to select it. For the vegetarians, the restaurants under the "Splurge" section offer vegetarian plates. As for the other restaurants, they do not have vegetarian plates offered on their menu, but they are very hospitable and will make a vegetarian plate for you if you demand it.
Contact: Sylvaine et Arnold Calmel
Tel : 00 221 33 957 7172
00 221 77 637 8772
Email : [email protected]
Tel: 00 221 33 957 7164
Email: [email protected]nge.sn
Tel: 00 221 33 956 4951
Contact : Malik
Tel : 00 221 77 562 6254
Contact : Fatou
Tel : 00 221 77 548 4683
Contact: Sokhna or Mbaye
Tel: 00 221 33 957 7166
00 221 77 658 2701
Contact : Ginette
Tel : 00 221 33 957 7110
There are many cheap rice and fish shacks found around the village. It's a great way to try out the local dishes without having to splurge. A plate usually costs about 500CFA.
Tourists have a wide variety of choice in their lodging in Popenguine. Tourists have a choice between a community owned lodge, 3 privately owned lodges, or a hotel. As the tourists has many choices of lodging, it is relatively easy to find lodging. Just to be sure though, it would be wise to book your stay at least 2-3 weeks in advance. The only time that you would need to book your stay at least 2 months in advance is if you are planning on coming to Popenguine during the annual Christian pilgrimage (Pentecote) which is held in late May.
The list below has been sorted first by village, and then by the way each lodge promotes ecotourism. Ecotourism is travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale. It helps educate the traveller; provides funds for conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights.
Price per night per cabin: 12,000CFA
Price per night per guest: 6,000CFA
Each room has mosquito nets, fan, western toilet, shower (there is no hot water, but if you can ask the Manager to heat up some water for you), and running water. Customers also have access to Internet as a WiFi modem has been installed in the lodge.
00 221 33 957 7251
Balafon - Lodge (Popenguine)
Price per night per person: 5,000CFA
Price per night per person: 5,000CFA
Each room has mosquito nets and a fan. The communal bathroom has a western toilet, shower (no hot water but you can ask for it from the manager), and running water.
Price per night: 25,000CFA
Price per night: 30,000CFA
Ebene – Lodge (Popenguine)
Price per night per cabin: 32,000CFA
Price per night per cabin: 16,000CFA
Each room has mosquito nets, fan, western toilet, shower, and running water
00221 77 658 27 01
Keur de Sable – Lodge (Popenguine)
Price per night per room: 7,500CFA
Price per night per guest: 5,000CFA
Price per night: 25,000CFA
Price per home: 10,000,000CFA
Houses for Rent
Contact: Omar Thiao
Contact: Djiby Thio
Contact : Babacar Diouf
Contact: Cupam Immobilier
La Pierre de Lisse - Lodge/ Restaurant/ Bar (Ndayane)
Price: Full Pension (breakfast, lunch and dinner) - 33,500CFA per night/ per adult, 20,000CFA per night/ per child (less than 10 years old) Half Pension (breakfast, dinner) - 28,000CFA per night/ per adult, 16,000CFA per night/ per child
For more pricing structures, please visit the website listed below
Terre D'Afrique - Lodge/ Restaurant/ Bar (Ndayane)
Popenguine is a relatively safe and secure place because it's a pretty small village in which everyone knows each other. However, crime against tourists in towns such as Mbour, and Saly is common. Use common sense everywhere in Senegal: keep a close eye on your belongings, watch your pockets in crowded places, women should not walk around alone after dark, try not to wear any outwardly expensive items of clothing or jewellery. There are many different scams to get money from tourists, so be wary. Overall, though, the Senegalese are an incredibly friendly and hospitable people and you will meet many people who are genuinely interested in just talking to you and making sure you are having an enjoyable time in Senegal. In case of emergency, there is a police station and a hospital located in Popenguine.