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Crossing from Gambia into Casamance the “Back Way”

Crossing the river into Casamance from the Gambia
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There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and in this case, there is more than one way to enter Casamance from Gambia. Most people take the Trans-Gambian highway, which starts up in Kaolack, Senegal. This highway, also known as the N4, crosses the Gambia in the middle of the country before darting south and west towards Bignona and finally, Ziguinchor, the capital of the Casamance region.

If you are traveling with your own vehicle, the Trans-Gambian highway may be your best option. Alternatively, you can cross at Jiboro by taking the N5, which is easily accessed from Serrekunda and the Banjul international airport. However, if you do not have a vehicle, or if you are traveling with a motorbike, there is a much more relaxed and interesting crossing near the coast.

Heading south from Serrekunda, take the coastal road until you arrive in Kartong. From there, it’s just a bit further south and you will arrive at a Gambian immigration post, where you can check out of the country. On Google Maps, this post is listed as a “local border crossing.”

After checking out of the Gambia, you will need to arrange a river crossing with one of the boatmen waiting near the immigration office. For a small fee, they will take you across the river and into the Casamance. The crossing takes about 10 minutes.

On the other side of the river, there is not a Senegalese immigration post, hence the “local border crossing” label on the map. There may or may not be transport waiting on the other side of the river. We can put you in touch with a moto-taxi driver from Abené that can come and pick you up if needed (contact us and we can give you a number).

Once you get to Abené, you will need to just take a quick trip (this can be done with a moto-taxi, otherwise there is public transport available if you ask around Abené) up to the Senegalese border with Gambia, either near Dimbaya or Seleti, where you can get an entry stamp for Senegal. Simply explain to the immigration officer that you did not realize there was not an immigration post on the other side of the river where you crossed near Kartong.

It is admittedly a bit inconvenient having to head back to the border just to get a stamp, but crossing the border on a pirogue and then taking sand track through the jungle before arriving in Abené will admittedly be an unforgettable moment on your trip.

 

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