Saint-Louis Travel Guide

A helpful and informative travel guide to Saint-Louis, Senegal, covering places to visit, things to do, where to eat and stay, local culture, and travel logistics.

Introduction to Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis is the cultural capital of Senegal and is located in the northern part of the country. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, renowned for its colonial architecture, lively music scene, and beautiful natural scenery. Founded in 1659, Saint-Louis is a charming city with a rich history and a vibrant culture. It is also the gateway to the Senegal River, which has played a crucial role in West African history.

List of Places to Visit in Saint-Louis

If you are planning a trip to Saint-Louis, here are some must-visit places you should include in your itinerary.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Musée de Saint-Louis

The Musée de Saint-Louis is an excellent place to start your tour of the city. It is housed in a historic building and has a collection of artifacts, photographs, and objects that tell the story of Saint-Louis and Senegal.

Faidherbe Bridge

The Faidherbe Bridge is an iconic landmark that connects mainland Senegal with the island of Saint-Louis. It is a beautiful and historic structure that dates back to the 19th century.

Place Faidherbe

Place Faidherbe is the heart of the city and is surrounded by colonial-era buildings. It is a vibrant meeting place that is popular among locals and tourists alike.

Natural Attractions of Saint-Louis: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Langue de Barbarie National Park

Langue de Barbarie National Park is a wildlife reserve that is home to a variety of species, including birds, monkeys, and antelopes. You can take a boat tour to explore the park and see its many wonders.

Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary

The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to over three million birds. It is a must-visit place for bird lovers and nature enthusiasts.

The Saint-Louis Lighthouse

The Saint-Louis Lighthouse is a historic structure that offers panoramic views of the city and the Senegal River. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse to take in the scenic views.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis has some great hiking and biking routes that take you through some of the best natural scenery in the region. Here are some of the top routes you should try.

  • The Langue de Barbarie National Park Hike
  • The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary Hike
  • The City Tour Bike Ride
  • The Dunes of Lompoul Bike Ride

Best Things to Do in Saint-Louis: Activities and Tours

There are many things to do in Saint-Louis that cater to different interests and preferences. Here are some recommendations for your next visit.

  • Take a boat tour of the Senegal River
  • Attend a traditional music performance
  • Take a walking tour of the city’s historical landmarks
  • Visit a local market to experience everyday life in the city

Week-Long Itinerary for Saint-Louis

If you are planning a week-long trip to Saint-Louis, here is an itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of what the city has to offer.

Day 1: Arrive in Saint-Louis and explore the Musée de Saint-Louis. Day 2: Take a boat tour of the Senegal River and explore the Langue de Barbarie National Park. Day 3: Visit the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary and see its many inhabitants. Day 4: Take a bike tour of the city’s historical landmarks and enjoy its beautiful architecture. Day 5: Learn about the local culture by attending a traditional music performance and exploring a local market. Day 6: Relax on the beach and discover Soumbédioune’s craft market. Day 7: Take a day trip to the Lompoul Desert and experience its stunning scenery.

Food and Drink Scene of Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis has a rich culinary scene that reflects its cultural heritage and history. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages you should taste on your next visit.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Thiéboudienne (a traditional Senegalese fish and rice dish)
  • Yassa (a stew made with meat or fish, onions, and lemon)
  • Mafé (a peanut sauce served with meat, fish, or vegetables)

Local Beverages

  • Bissap (a refreshing drink made from hibiscus flowers)
  • Touba (a coffee made with cloves and spices)
  • Pito (a local beer made from sorghum)

Where to Stay in Saint-Louis: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are many great accommodation options in Saint-Louis that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are some top recommendations.

  • Hotel du Palais
  • La Residence
  • Auberge de Jeunesse
  • Hotel du Plateau

What to Buy in Saint-Louis: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Saint-Louis has a rich arts and crafts scene that is worth exploring. Here are some must-buy souvenirs and local products to bring home.

  • Handmade baskets and woven fabrics
  • Local spices and herbs
  • Traditional musical instruments

Local Culture and Customs of Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis has a diverse and rich cultural heritage that is worth learning about. Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting the city.

  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites or attending traditional events.
  • Greetings are important in the local culture, and it is common to greet people with a handshake or hug.

Best Time to Visit Saint-Louis

The best time to visit Saint-Louis is between November and February when the weather is cooler and drier. It is also the time when many cultural festivals and events take place in the city.

Do’s and Don’ts of Saint-Louis

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind on your next visit to Saint-Louis.


  • Try the local cuisine and beverages.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and belongings.


  • Wear revealing clothing in public.
  • Take pictures of people without permission.
  • Be rude or aggressive towards locals.

Safety and Health

Safety in Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis is a generally safe city, but it is always important to take precautions when traveling. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay vigilant.
  • Avoid walking alone late at night.
  • Keep your valuables safe and out of sight.

Health in Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis is located in a region where malaria and other tropical diseases are common. It is essential to take the necessary precautions before traveling, such as ensuring that your vaccinations are up to date.

Getting to Saint-Louis: Transportation Options and Logistics

Getting to Saint-Louis is easy, with several transportation options available.

Airports Near Saint-Louis

The nearest airport to Saint-Louis is the Saint-Louis Airport. However, it is small and only serves domestic flights.

Alternatively, the Dakar Airport is only a few hours away from Saint-Louis and offers international flights.

Bus Stations Near Saint-Louis

The Saint-Louis Bus Station is located in the city center and is the hub for regional and national buses.

Other Options

You can also travel to Saint-Louis by taxi or car. However, it is important to note that the roads in Senegal can be challenging, and it is advisable to hire an experienced driver.

How to Get Around in Saint-Louis

The best way to get around Saint-Louis is on foot or by bike. Bicycles are readily available for rent, and many of the city’s major attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Where to Go Next from Saint-Louis: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There are many great destinations that you can visit from Saint-Louis. Here are some recommendations.

  • Dakar, Senegal’s capital city
  • Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • The Pink Lake, a unique natural wonder


Saint-Louis is a beautiful and vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and history. From its colonial architecture to its natural wonders, there is something for everyone to enjoy. We hope that this travel guide has inspired you to book your next trip to Saint-Louis and explore all that the city has to offer.