Senegal is home to several varieties of natural heritages and among them there is a desert: The Lompoul Desert.
Lompoul Desert is right in the Lompoul village. Since it’s close to the capital Dakar and the Blaise Diagne International Airport, it’s usually on everyone’s list of things to do in Senegal. Therefore, it’s also on ours.
Opening a small parenthesis, I want to tell you that for years I have had this habit of searching for unusual places to stay for all of my travels. From a treehouse in Sri Lanka to luxury hotels in Italy, I love to try those unique lodging options that turn my ordinary stay into an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
This is why when I was planning a stay at the Lompoul village I definitely wanted to sleep in the desert, among the dunes. After all, I still lacked that experience.
What is Camp du Désert?
Camp du Désert, also known as Esprit D’Afrique is an eco-lodge situated on the sand dunes by the entrance of the Lompoul desert. There are about 30 tent accommodation units, each with attached bathroom placed out of the tent. The lodgings are very basic.
Camp du Désert eco-lodge is equipped with an outdoor bar and restaurant that can be covered up during the rain or when the sun hits too strongly.
How to reach Camp du Désert?
In our case we were travelling to Lompoul from the Pink Lake in Senegal (Retba Lake). The hotel we were staying at arranged the transportation for 20.000 CFA and the taxi journey from the Retba Lake to the Lompuol village took about four hours.
The driver dropped us in the main street in Lompoul, exactly where the Lompuol board sign is located. Since a four wheeler is required to plow through the sand dunes, he could not drive us all the way to the desert camp.
At the main street in Lompoul village our Desert camp truck was being loaded with some water cans and food items. We had to wait a little while the guys got ready for departure. Once they turned on the engine our adventure started.
This part of our travel took only 20 minutes.
This is the only way to reach the Camp du Desert accomodation in Lompoul, unless you are road tripping through Senegal in a four wheeler. In that case, as you can imagine, you can drive straight to the camp and park your vehicle next to the entrance.
If you are self-driving in Senegal, then make sure that your navigation system can take you to the right place because it is easy to get lost among the sand dunes. If instead someone else is driving you there, then make sure the driver knows the route well.
Facilities at Camp du Désert
Facilities at the Camp du Desert accomodation in Lompoul are what they are. We are talking about a desert Eco Lodge and not about a luxury accommodation. They are pretty basic but in the end you have all you need. Start with this clear idea so that you can end up enjoying this unique experience.
As I wrote earlier, Camp du Désert has a bar and a restaurant offering Moroccan and Senegalese meals which must be pre-ordered since food supplies to the desert are organized only upon customers’ requests. I highly recommend that you have dinner at their place since enjoying the meal under the starry sky and moonlight is truly an unforgettable experience.
The main area which includes the bar and the restaurant has a Wi-Fi connection. Although it’s slow, it’s good enough for email.
Camp du Désert also offers a range of exciting desert activities to explore the area. We tried the camel ride at sunset.
During the high season time they organize after dinner parties which are said to be fun. Sadly, we visited Senegal in October and since it is an off-season period for the African west coast countries, many attractions and services were not available.
Are you a photographer? Camp du Desert accomodation in Lompoul offers unsurpassed views over the desert landscapes especially during the sunset, and there is something special about photographing at night.
Restaurant at Camp du Désert.
Dining at the Desert accomodation in Lompoul is one of the most beautiful experiences in life. Food is prepared freshly by the staff. It is basic but delicious. To be honest it was the best meal I had in Senegal.
But what makes this restaurant even more special is the total lack of artificial lights, except for a few lanterns here and there. Camp du Désert eco-lodge in Senegal is mainly illuminated by the stars and the moon, and this creates a very unique atmosphere. And as luck would have it, we happened to be there on the day of the full moon. You have no idea how stunning it looked .
Anyway, to put your mind at ease, let me tell you that even without a bright light we were able to deal with the situation.
One more thing you should know is that once you reach the desert accomodation in Lompoul you won’t be able to go elsewhere for dinner since there are no other restaurants close by, so you’d better organize with them when you make the reservation.
Also know that they didn’t have any alcohol available that day. Maybe we should have ordered it prior to our arrival. Now I don’t know if it is normally provided during the high season time. The staff hardly spoke English and I was not able to dialog with them. Having seen a bar, I guess yes.
Camp du Désert, prices.
As I already said, we went to Senegal in October. Even though it was during the off-season, the prices here at the desert camp were higher than all the other hotels in Senegal that we stayed at.
On the one hand I might say that an eco-structure shouldn’t have such a high price since the absence of basic commodities, such as water and a proper toilet, would have justified a cheaper price.
On the other hand, I can also understand that for a country like Senegal which is still troubling to carry on, it could be very hard to provide certain services in the desert. So, I’d say that it is well spent money. And, now I realize that certain experiences like this always have a fairy significant cost.
Something about the Lompoul village.
Lompoul is a small village located halfway from Dakar to San Louis. In geographical terms, it is one of the most interesting towns I have seen so far. What makes it so is the presence of three types of landscapes, very different from each other, in a small territorial space. Yes, in Lompoul village, you can see the desert, the beach, and the forest all in the same day. It is simply outstanding!!
In terms of tourism, Lompoul village is starting to emerge only now. So, other than the few eco lodges in the desert, it doesn’t have much.
Camp du Désert, in summery.
1. You need a 4-wheeler to reach the Camp du Désert Eco lodge in Senegal. If you don’t have your own, you can ask for a free pick up from the main street in Lompoul village.
2. A flashlight helps a lot. Not only here in Camp du Desert accomodation in Lompoul but when travelling to Senegal, it always comes in handy. Also know that there is no electricity at the Camp du Désert. After the sunset, the desert camp in Lompoul is illuminated with a couple of lanterns, the moon, and the stars.
3. Once you are at the desert camp you will hardly leave its premises since it is isolated from any other inhabited house.
4. Don’t wander too far from the camp because it is easy to lose your bearings in the desert since there are no reference points.
5. Camel ride at sunset is simply fantastic to catch the various shades of the desert. For more details about this excursion in Lompoul desert I suggest that you to read the blog post about my experience.
Read also: Camel ride in Lompoul Desert
6. There are insects everywhere so don’t forget to buy some repellent beforehand, especially if you have such phobias.
7. WiFi connection is there but it is very poor.
8. During the day it will be hot in the tents and it is quite impossible to stay in bed after the sunrise.
9. There is a toilet and a bathroom attached to the tent but the hydraulic system is very spartan. You are given a can of 50 l of water upon arrival to wash yourself. Of course, if you stay longer than a day, they will fill the can for you every day.
10. Campfire parties with local dancers in the evening are organized only during the high season time.
11. There is no hot water. Take a shower before late evening because the water in the can becomes very cold.
Camp du Désert, our experience.
We were travelling to Lompoul from the pink lake in Niaga by taxi and our driver left us in the main street in Lompoul, and from there the guys of the Camp du Dèsert tents picked us up with their old red truck. This journey which took only a few minutes, was truly exciting since the passage from the green lush forest to the desert area is something rare that attracts your attention a lot. I mean it is a particular landscape: slowly the trees disappear, and it becomes more and more sandy as you approach the sand dunes.
It was around 4 pm when we reached the desert accomodation in Lompoul. The staff doesn’t speak English and we don’t speak French, so there was no dialog with them. The Senegalese man who was driving the truck helped us get our backpacks to our tent.
Once we were settled in, we immediately went for a camel ride with the same guy. It was the smartest choice we had ever made for 2 reasons: Camel ride at sunrise is the best time of day to do this excursion, and we got that out the way so that we were free the day after.
After the camel ride in the Lompoul desert, we went back to our tent to have a fast “shower” before getting ready for dinner. This was the funniest part of our stay at the Camp du Désert. We had to help each other to pour the water from the can. The water was pretty cold. It was the fastest shower of our life.
Besides, the sun sets very early there. By 7 pm it is already deep night. And, since there are no artificial illuminations, we had to hurry to do things. Good thing there was a full moon!!!
As you might expect, we had dinner very early that day and since there were no after dinner entertainments, at 9.30 pm we were already in bed. This is another good choice because the day after the sun started to hit strong around 5.30 am. It was impossible to stay inside the tent; it felt like a sauna. We packed our things as fast as we could, had a quick shower, and we left for a walk around.
After the breakfast, the all-in-one man took us back to the main street.
Now, sleeping at Desert accomodation in Lompoul was a memorable experience, but I do not recommend it for more than a night since we are not used to the absence of some important basic services. It is obvious, however, that if you are a person who really likes adventures, then you can stay longer. I’m for hotels that make me feel relaxed and overall I like to sleep a lot, so one day was perfect.
In any case, I want to reiterate that I had a unique experience at Camp du Désert tent in Lompoul and I would definitely do it again. The full moon, the millions and millions of stars in the sky, the dunes of the desert, and the absolute silence made my stay something very valuable that I feel like I should recommend that you try once in your life.