Have you ever wanted to see sand dunes and have a desert experience with a camel? I wanted it for me so bad since I have never tried it before!
Well, when I was in Senegal, Lompoul Desert sounded like a great chance to experience a camel ride.
Lompoul Desert, a short note.
Lompoul Desert, in French Désert de Lompoul, is an 18 km2 desert located in Senegal about 200 km north of the capital Dakar and 100 km south of San Louis.
Lompoul Desert may be small, but its orange sand dunes forming a landscape similar to those of the most important deserts around the world makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions of Senegal. Therefore, it goes without saying that several activities are organized to satisfy every tourist.
It’s quite common among travellers driving from the capital Dakar to Saint Louis to make a stop in Lompoul; almost everyone does it.
And so we did too. On our way from the Pink Lake in Niaga to San Louis, we decided to sleep one night in the Lompoul Desert. We stayed in a desert camp called Camp Du Desert, located close to the dunes area.
Camel ride in Lompoul Desert.
Among the numerous things to do at the Lompoul Desert, there is a camel ride, and there are countless people organizing camel rides for tourists in the Lompoul village.
Since we were only staying one night in the Lompoul Desert, we decided to rely on the guy working at our desert tent. And what can I say? The desert has an incredible charm.
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Camel ride in Lompoul Desert: how much does it cost?
Depending on how far you want to go deep in the desert the prices of the camel ride in the Lompoul desert range from 2500 CFA for the shorter ride (30 minutes) to 6000 CFA for the longer one (1 hour). Since they know that to explore the desert the tourists always need an expert who knows the area well, they don’t negotiate the prices much.
Some important facts to know about the camel ride in Lompoul Desert.
Exploring the beauty of the Lompoul Desert by camels is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Senegal. And, if you do it at sunset then you will be amazed to see the colours of the desert while the sun goes down over the sand dunes.
But our camel ride experience in Lompoul Desert also had a sad part. Here below I’ve got some advice for you, and I highly recommend that you read it before taking a camel ride in the Lompoul Desert.
- Don’t confirm before having seen the camel. Now, Senegal is a very poor country where people are struggling daily not only for their food but also for their health. Animal rights is not a priority. Our camel wasn’t in good health; certainly, it was suffering from something. We noticed it immediately and we were about to refuse, but since we had already paid we went ahead with it. In retrospect I shouldn’t have done it. Whether you are an animal right activist or not, if you see that the poor animal is in a bad condition, avoid taking a ride with it. It rummelled (the camel’s cry) all along the way and we were wanting to cry with it!
- Confirm the price before the departure. Ask them to write it for you on a piece of paper and keep it safe until you return.
- Make a note of the starting time. We paid for the 30 minute ride (the shorter one) but it was less than 20. Keep an eye on the time and ask them to write this also next to the price.
- Do it during sunset. If you start your camel ride in the Lompoul Desert just 10 minutes before the sunset you can see the colourful sunrays bathing the dunes gently with their light. It is simply amazing.
- Before planning with your hotel, check at the Lompoul main junction (where you will be dropped off upon arrival to the Lompoul village) for the camel rides. Probably here you can get a better price.
- Know that the desert is full of insects.
- Remember that the camel men rarely speak French or English. They commonly know only Wolof, so making yourself understood is not as easy as you might think.
- Also know that If you have already done a camel ride in Namibia or the Sahara, this is probably not going to excite you, but I still recommend you try it since it will remain among your Senegalese experiences.
As for us, we would have loved to go further into the desert but there weren’t proper conditions.
Hope this all could change one day!