world map


From the end of a stage for the Sahara drivers to an inaccessible region

date of entry 25/12/1990
mileage 57,855

capital Dakar

area 196.722 km²

population 12.643.799

GDP 11,1 Bill. US-Dollar

official language France

When Otto reached Dakar for the first time in 1990, vehicles from Europe that had crossed the Sahara were not uncommon in the Senegalese capital, one of the pearls of the French colonial empire in Africa. When Gunther Holtorf together with Elke Dreweck travelled along the same route in 2013, they were virtually the only ones with a European vehicle on the road. This was due to the many attacks, the danger of terrorism and the unstable political situation across the whole region.
  • Even children carry heavy bowls on their heads
    11  of  11
  • "Administration of the railways of Senegal" ist written in big letters above the entrance of Dakar's railway station, the terminal of the famous french built railway from the coast to Niger. France, the colonial ruler, left a significant mark. It is easy to get hold of a baguette anywhere in Senegal, for example. Otto parks next to a Renault 4, still ubiquitous in 1990.
    1  of  11
  • From Mali Gunther and Christine Holtorf travelled via Bamako to the capital Dakar along the famous railway line, which is some 1,300 kilometres long. Otto had to share the bridges with the trains.
    2  of  11
  • In spite of the adverse road conditions and a heavy load they did not get stuck
    3  of  11
  • The locals lived in small settlements of round mud huts in the countryside – far from the beaten tourist track
    4  of  11
  • Supplies were stored in clay vessels
    5  of  11
  • The huts often lay close together so that the inhabitants could offer one another protection
    6  of  11
  • The farmers used fire to clear new land for cultivation
    7  of  11
  • A common sight on the roads of Senegal: underpowered and overloaded lorries take on passengers as well
    8  of  11
  • Goods in Senegal, as everywhere in West Africa, are transported on the head
    9  of  11
  • Here a man was carrying a load as well, a rather unusual sight
    10  of  11
  • Video: Senegal – land of baguettes and corruption