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EXPLORE the gAMBIA AND SENEGAL

BANJUL |  GUNJUR  |  WASSU  |  KUNTA KINTEH ISLAND  |  TOUBAKOUTA  |  KAOLACK  |  TOUBA  |  LOMPOUL DESERT  |  PINK LAKE  |  DAKAR

This tour is sold out. Please click here to express interest in our next excursion to Senegal and The Gambia.

With a $500 Deposit

January 5  16, 2024

9 Nights

Senegal and The Gambia are closely connected West African countries in which Islam is the faith of 96-97% of the respective populations. Contact with Muslim traders from North Africa introduced Islam to the area beginning in the 8th century, with more significant local adoption of the faith by rulers, elites and the populace from the 11th century onwards. Along with nearby Mali and Ghana, this region came to develop a unique Muslim culture and civilization over the centuries, with an indigenous scholarly and spiritual tradition. We will visit a number of important heritage sites from the medieval period and into the early modern era, ranging from the pilgrimage city of Touba where the inspiring anti-colonial figure Ahmadou Bamba is buried, the environs of Kunta Kinteh Island and Gorée Island that factored in the horrendous trans-Atlantic slave trade, and natural environments ranging from rivers, lakes, deserts, and coastal areas. We will encounter the remarkable people of these lands, meet with leaders and scholars, appreciate the local cuisines and handicrafts, and be enchanted by the stunning natural beauty of this region.

faculty guide

shaykh adeyinka mendes

Imam Adeyinka Mendes is the founder of the Nibras Foundation, Bilal Spiritual Center for Peace and the Arts, and co-founder of the African-American Healing, Ancestry, and Development (AHAD) Collective, all founded for establishing a holistic, spiritual, peaceful, and joyous practice of Islam dedicated to sacred service and justice for all. He is an international speaker, spiritual activist, educator, author, translator of sacred literature, and teacher of Arabic and Islamic Sciences. 

ITINERARY IN the gambia and senegaL

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Bayan has been offering faculty-led tours to world heritage destinations since 2017, with recurring tours to Southern Spain, Malaysia & Singapore, Uzbekistan, Jerusalem & Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with exciting new destinations being planned for the coming years.

WHY JOIN A BAYAN TOUR?

Tours offered by Bayan cater to the diverse interests and needs of families, while offering an exceptional educational and cultural program. Each tour is led by one or more faculty members who provide daily background lectures and insights about the historical and contemporary contexts. Local guides are utilized as well at various points in time. The itinerary is crafted by experienced personnel to maximize your enjoyment and satisfaction. While the scheduled program is robust, ample time is provided to explore on your own, shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs, and enjoy some leisure activities. Bayan’s tour group size is typically up to 35 participants.

Tour highlights

The Gambia

  • Capital city of Banjul

  • Masjid Abu Bakr, one of Banjul's oldest mosques

  • Historic Dobson Street Mosque

  • Albert Market

  • Coastal town of Bakau

  • Sand Dunes Mosque, Gungur

  • River Gambia cruise

  • Kunta Kinteh Island

 

Senegal

  • Toubakouta and Saloum Delta

  • Kaolack, Tijaniyyah tariqah

  • Great Mosque of Medina Baye, and scholars

  • Historic city of Touba

  • Great Masjid of Touba

  • Resting place of Ahmadou Bamba

  • Lompoul Desert

  • Pink Lake

  • Tour of the capital city of Dakar 

  • Ferry to Gorée Island

  • Dakar Central Market

Along with visiting these sites, we will encounter the people and make friendships, sample various Senegambian cuisines, appreciate cultural programs, and enjoy the natural landscapes that we pass through.

 

Hotels

Our tour group will stay in the following cities:

 

  • Banjul  (4 nights)

  • Kaolack (1 night)

  • Touba (1 night)

  • Lompoul Desert (1 night)

  • Dakar (2 nights)

Tour information

TOUR PRICING - LAND PACKAGE ONLY

All pricing is double-occupancy, airfare is not included.

  • ADULT: $2,695

  • ADDITIONAL ADULT: $2,495

  • MINOR: $2,395

  • SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $500

LAND PACKAGE INCLUSIONS

  • 9 nights hotel (4 star)

  • Ground transportation by private A/C coach

  • Airport transfers

  • Breakfast included

  • Private boat trip on the Gambia River including lunch

  • Bayan scholar providing daily talks and guidance

  • Local English-speaking professional guides

  • Entrance fees to sites listed in the itinerary

  • General assistance and porterage

 

EXCLUSIONS

  • ​​International airfare arriving to Banjul and departing from Dakar (multi-city flights)

  • Gambia Tourist visa (on arrival, approx. $110 USD)

  • Most lunches and dinners

  • Gratuities for driver(s) and guide(s)

  • Personal items

  • Hotel incidental charges and other individualized services

  • Covid-19 testing, treatment and/or quarantine costs (if applicable)

  • Urgent care, medical treatment and testing, related expenses

  • Travel insurance (recommended)

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

Arriving to The Gambia

Several airlines provide service to The Gambia and Senegal.  Participants should book "multi-city" flights to Banjul (BJL), and arrive from midday onwards on Saturday, January 6.  The tour program officially begins on the morning of Sunday, January 7 with a group orientation meeting after breakfast, followed by a city tour of the capital.  For travelers from the US, this would mean departing from your city of origin on Friday, January 5 (or earlier depending on connecting flights and cities).  Based on your arrival time in Banjul, a transfer will be arranged for your party from the airport to the hotel, only on January 6 (if you arrive earlier, you will need to make your own transfer arrangements and hotel reservations for any extra nights).

Departing from Senegal

Participants departing from Dakar (DSS) on January 15 will be provided a transfer to the airport several hours before their flight departure time.  Those who wish to remain longer in Senegal after the tour concludes can make their own lodging arrangements for the night of January 15 and beyond, and arrange their own transfer to the airport on their departure date.

Booking Your Flights

Once you've paid your deposit to Bayan Tours, you should research and book your flights as soon as possible to try and obtain well-priced airfare with suitable flight timings and layovers.  We will provide some sample flight itineraries on various airlines to help you determine the same or similar itineraries based on your origin point.  You can use your own travel agent, check airline websites, or use other booking sites to select the flight legs that are best for you.  We recommend that you choose routes with layovers of not less than 90 minutes.

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  • Who is leading the tour?
    Bayan’s vice president and professor Munir Shaikh will be the faculty escort for the tour. He holds an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialization in the history of Islamic Iberia (Al-Andalus), and certificates from academic programs in Morocco, Egypt and Spain. He has lived for periods of time in Spain (and Morocco), and is conversant in Spanish. He has taught academic courses on Islamic Spain, Middle Eastern history, Islam, and world history, and led world heritage tours in various countries, including seven previous excursions in Southern Spain.
  • What is the expected group size?
    Bayan’s tours are focused on providing a well-rounded experience featuring scholarly knowledge, cultural exposure, recreational activities, and free time. Most tour groups are multi-generational and diverse in nature. In addition to historical and contemporary sites of interest, the itinerary includes visits to mosques and other places of worship to accommodate the religious needs of group members. Our group size tends to be in the range of 30-40 participants from North America and beyond. Participants are able to get to know one another and develop bonds of friendship and camaraderie that can last a lifetime. By participating in a tour, you are helping sustain and advance Bayan’s mission as a non-profit educational institution.
  • When is the registration deadline?
    We are accepting registrations for the tour until March 31, in order to reserve seats on a train, book sufficient hotel rooms, procure entrance tickets to monuments, and ensure other details. You must pay a refundable deposit of $500 per traveler. Deposits are partially refundable through February 15, 2024, however, a cancellation charge of $ 100 per traveler will apply for any cancellation requested 24 hours after time of booking. For other important terms and conditions, please click here. After payment of your deposit, you will receive an invoice for the remaining balance for your party, reflecting any applicable discounts. The balance payment is due no later than April 15, 2024.
  • Is a visa required for U.S. citizens to enter Spain?
    Bayan’s tours are open to participants who wish to join from anywhere in the world. However, the majority of participants tend to be from the United States. US passport holders do not need to obtain a visa to enter Spain for tourism. This is true for nationals of many other countries as well. However, non-US passport holders are encouraged to check requirements for their nationality and obtain a visa if required.
  • How physically demanding is the tour?
    Our group will be transported from city to city in a luxury air-conditioned tourist bus. However, in each city, since we will be in the historical centers where buses can't go, we will use the metro or other local public transportation, and occasional taxis, to get around. Even so, there will be a significant amount of walking on most days, on slight inclines and steps. The streets at times will have cobblestones. The walking distances involved at any given time can range from 1/4 to 1/2 mile between rest points. The guides will take into account the differing abilities and health conditions of group members and regulate the pace and intensity of the tour accordingly. Nonetheless, participants should expect to walk roughly 12,000 steps each day (about 6 miles in aggregate) during the first few days of the program, and perhaps 8,000 steps per day during the latter portion of the itinerary. This tour may not be suitable for those with knee, hip or foot pain that could be aggravated by the amount of walking involved. Ideally, all participants should prepare for the tour by walking at least 5,000 steps per day in the weeks leading up to the tour.
  • What type of food will we have on the tour?
    Spain’s food is a mix of Mediterranean and local traditions. Some dishes, such as paella, reveal their roots in Arab/Muslim cuisines. While the types of vegetarian options have grown in recent years in Spain, most local meat dishes feature pork (we will be sure to avoid any foods prepared with pork or alcohol). During the tour, we will dine at restaurants that serve zabiha halal foods, or at places that offer seafood and vegetarian options. You can expect meals to include Middle Eastern, Turkish and Moroccan dishes at restaurants run by local Muslims, and Italian and other types of dishes more generally. You’ll have the option of sampling various suitable tapas (small dishes) that are routinely consumed in neighborhood establishments..
  • Will you provide more information about the daily schedule and other details?
    Yes, all participants who have completed their full payment will receive a detailed information packet that includes descriptions of the cities and sites to be visited, the daily schedule, currency exchange, local prayer times, electrical adapters, weather, what to pack, and more.
  • What precautions are you taking with regard to COVID-19?
    We encourage participants to be fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot for all who are eligible to receive these shots. Travelers may visit Spain for tourism, but must provide either a certificate proving full vaccination, a negative test (PCR or rapid antigen), or a certificate of recovery. Travelers can enter using the EU Digital Covid Certificate or its equivalents. We do not expect to mandate masking during the tour, but we encourage masking whenever possible and according to each individual’s comfort level. For example, when shopping in crowded areas, it would be best to wear a mask. General sanitary practices should be maintained at all times, such as washing hands with soap, using sanitizing gels and wipes, and maintaining a reasonable distance between individuals.
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