Saly, also called Saly Portudal, is one of the busiest tourist destinations in all of West Africa. So, the answer to your question “Is Saly Senegal worth going to” is definitely yes. It goes without saying that this stop on your Senegal itinerary will help to relax and to free your mind from the chaos that a journey in Senegal involves. And also, Saly Portudal is home to an impressive selection of activities and day trip experiences. This once again makes it well worth a visit.
According to locals, the tourism in Saly started back in 1970 and even if I didn’t find any specific information on this data, given the amount of seaside resorts in Saly, it might be true.
Where is Saly located, and how to get to Saly Senegal?
Saly is located in the Thiès Region on the Petite Côte of Senegal. It is about a 2 hour drive from the capital Dakar. Depending on where you are in Senegal and your budget, there are three different options to get to Saly.
1. Taxi: It’s not the cheapest way to get around Senegal, but compared to other means of transport it is certainly the most comfortable way. What you have to know here is that the vehicles they use are very old, so breakdowns are common. For this reason, your trip could easily get longer. Some hotels and resorts in Senegal offer shuttle/taxi services for their guests, so before looking for a taxi by yourself, ask them for information.
2. Public transportation: You can take a bus or a sept place to Mbour and then take a minibus to Saly. A shortcoming in using the public transportation in Senegal is that they have no fixed departure times. Until the vehicles are completely filled up they don’t move, even if it takes 3 or 4 hours. And then add to that a possible breakdown. So, this can sound like a great option for your pocket, but it can take many hours even if you are very close to Saly. By the way, filling up a bus takes more time than a sept place, so if you go for the public transportation option I would suggest a sept place even if it costs a bit more than a bus.
3. Self driving in Senegal: Another option to get around Senegal is to rent a car and drive to Saly. Self-driving in Senegal is a great way to see some of the best parts of the country but be aware that driving in Senegal is very challenging. When you go off the main road, streets are not well maintained, so it only takes a moment to find yourself in trouble.
Now, I don’t want to give you a bad impression about moving around in Senegal, but knowing that a trip can much longer than you’d expect will help you better organize your holiday in Senegal. Delays are normal here in Senegal.
In our case we travelled to Mbour from Joal Fadiouth by taxi. We shared this trip with two Spanish girls who had been staying at our same hotel. Not surprisingly, it got broken down and the driver couldn’t start the vehicle again so we had to wait until someone else came to replace it. This means of transport looked like a hearse. We were a little shocked when we got inside this vehicle but since there were four of us, we also calmed down quickly.
From Mbour when we reached the place the Spanish girls would be staying at, a girl who was running it (who was French) arranged a taxi to Saly. This way we ended up by spending less than public transportation.
Well, this could be a fourth option that I would not underestimate. Sharing your plans with other people staying at your hotel may help you not only to save money but also to stay calm if something goes wrong along the way. At least you are not alone.
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When is the best time to visit Saly?
The best time to visit Saly (and Senegal in general) is from November to May, during the dry season. I was there in October and fortunately everything went very well because the rain season was coming to an end, and it didn’t bother me.
Well, the only one problem we personally encountered were the puddles of rainwater in the back streets, but since the taxi drivers are used to this they were always able to handle it.
Where to stay in Saly?
Prices for accommodations are generally higher in Saly than in other parts of Senegal, but there are still budget-friendly options available for those wanting to save some money. Like anywhere in this world, the higher prices often reflect a higher level of quality, comfort, and convenience, so it depends on what you are looking for.
I stayed in a boutique hotel with direct access to the beach called Keurmaya. It is owned by a French lady who is very helpful with anything you may need and also her staff are gentle and professional. Keurmaya in Saly is a bit apart from the centre but still the location is very good. It is safe and tranquil. If I return to Saly, I will for sure return here.
Anyways… check for more hotel options in Saly prices here: ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
Why is it worth visiting Saly?
As I wrote in the beginning, tourism in Saly started many years ago, so it goes without saying that it offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, activities, and services. All in all, Saly can satisfy everyone.
From those travelling with children to solo travellers, from romantic couples to those who love beach life, from those looking for relaxation to those who love night life, Saly can accommodate all types of travellers.
And trust me, a stop here during your trip in Senegal will help you to relax. For those who decide to base in Saly during the entire vacation in Senegal, Saly offers many day trips, so you don’t get bored anyway. Many tours like Bandia Reserve, Goree Island, Lagoon trip in Ndangane, Retba Lake, Lampoul desert, or Joal Fadiouth are well organized in Saly.
On the other hand, as a result of being one of the most developed tourist destinations in Senegal, Saly is bit more expensive compared to some other cities in Senegal. However, this does not mean that it is not affordable.
Actually, looking around a bit, you can still find some budget solutions.
Organized tours in Senegal.
Traveling can be exhausting in Senegal so joining a tour makes everything so easy. This way you can often visit areas that would be a little more challenging on your own.
Here are some great trips for you!!!