I stayed at the Senegal B&B for 4 nights. I'm a single adventure traveler, anglophone from the USA. I visited Lac Rose, the University, Just for you (jazz club), Goree Island, African Renaissance monument, Bandia Wildlife Park, Drumming with Ibou at Ngor, baby beach, and misc. markets. This was a unique experience!
-B&B was clean, safe quiet, and close to the airport/markets/shops
-Staff and tour guides are very personable and laid back, hard workers!
-Staff know the city very well
-Drumming with Ibou at Ngor was a blast! (he's a great teacher)
-Sineta has a great sense of humor and there will be no dull moments!!
-Ouest Foire is safe and bustling neighborhood in Dakar
-There are guards outside the B&B that check on you, and help the best they can. NO fear!
-The airport pick up service isn't necessary. SenegalStyle is up the street (7min drive max), and easy to get to by cab or bus. Anglophone or francophone, if you have a brain and the address, someone will get you there for $10 or less(if you are willing to travel).
-There were no wattage conversion plugs, so I couldn't use a blow-dryer or curler. I ended up wearing a beanie the entire trip because I couldn't style my hair which was annoying. (Senegalese pride themselves on looking good, and you should try to do the same.) Bring along a plug/watt converter!
-Details of trips/tours were a little hazy at times.
***Sineta was very helpful. She went as far as selling me a bar of face soap, because she saw I was having some skin trouble. However, she can be a bit unprofessional at times. For example we were scheduled to leave for a tour to Goree Island at 8am. I asked her twice the day prior, what time we were supposed to leave and she confirmed 8am. The next day she woke me up at 7:15 saying the tourguide had been waiting on me since 6:45am. WHAT?! I hurried up and got ready, and was dressed and ready to go at 7:55am.When I realized her or the guide wasn't ready yet, I pulled out my laptop to check my bank account balance, and she said nastily “Is what you're doing absolutely necessary right now?! You're embarrassing me!!” By then it was 8:00:38secs (I know because I was looking at my laptop) I felt really confused and embarrassed myself. I noticed she can be nasty to her staff at times, but I didn't expect her to treat a customer like this. Not entirely professional, but if you can handle a bit of disorganization and insensitivity, Sineta is a perfect match for you!***
***I paid $60USD for a package/day tour of Goree Island, the African Renaissance monument, AND a tour of DOWNTOWN (near the palace). None of the tours include the actual tickets to the sites (says that in her brochure) I NEVER got the city tour, because she said “we didn't have enough time”. We spent a big chunk of time having a $28USD family style brunch at her friends restaurant; tasty, but also not included in the price of the tour. As it turned out, the truth was, the rest of the group wanted to go back to their hotels, and I was the ONLY one left waiting on the city tour. When I confronted her, she said, “well, we basically saw the city when we walked through the markets. There's really not much else to see!” What?!! I still paid for it! I didn't make as big of a fuss as I should have, but beware of derailments in the itenerary.***
Other than that, it's a decent deal if you're a solo adventure traveler, you want to explore on your own a bit and need a quiet safe place to crash.
My experience at SenegalStyle in a nutshell? Unforgettable!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 1, 2013
Hello and GREETINGS from SenegalStyle!
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I am saddened that this guest chose to accentuate minor mishaps (she actually blew up her curling iron and hair dryer plugging 120v items into 220v walls) instead of celebrating the fact that she came here on a budget of $300 and was able to stay 4 nights, travel to all the places she had on her 'bucketlist' and more, participate in drumming lessons that she didn't pay for (more on that later), eat at 2 fabulous restaurants (and taking home 'a plate') and join in group tours, paying only half the price she should have, by her own admission.
Still she's not happy.
Fortnately I have the opportunity to clarify the remarks made against my character and management style here in this forum.
#1 - under the 'pros' listed, she mentions that she participated in a private group drumming lesson we were doing as a part of a team building workshop for a local business. I invited her along because she told me she was a musician and student (not true, she was no longer in school and had dropped out) and I thought I was being nice. She knew the prices for private lessons, (20,000cfa for two hours) with our Master Percussionist, Ibou Sene and as she said this was one of the things she wanted to do, I let her come to our group drumming session as it was cheaper for her than paying individually and it was being held at a great venue on the beach. Also she could have lunch or dinner there as well as she had opted for the B&B plan that did not incorporate meals.
No good deed goes unpunished.
She ended up doing four hours of lessons with Ibou (the group was 2 hours late for their session) and skipped out of town without paying him A DIME. Ibou is privately contracted, and, like all musicians, he isn't on a salary. If you ask a music teacher of any kind to teach you their craft, they expect to be paid. Ibou thought she gave me the money, she pretended she would pay later, but didn't. When you are talking about helping 'poor' Africans on one hand and then not paying for services on the other... it's sad but that's what really happened.
Yes, I guess that's a 'pro' for her when I look at it in retrospect but it's really a 'con' in the grand scheme of things.
#2 Airport pickup service - do NOT let this post fool you! She makes it sound as if there is a taxi waiting on the runway for you when you arrive and in 7 minutes you are here! What most people don't realize is how much work goes in to your airport pickup BEFORE you arrive.
I send out airport instructions asking the visitor to read and follow them to the letter. I also ask for photos and send the client a photo of the guide picking them up. Sometimes people come out of the gates and start walking all over the place - if they don't see our guy standing by the door we can at least pick them out of the crowd if we know what they look like and they, in turn, know what OUR guy looks like and don't get taken advantage of by a con man.
No one else does that.
I also request that you and send me an sms message so that I know that our telephone services connect and I send you one back, long distance, as well. Sometimes we have dignitaries coming into Dakar and since the airport is small the police will just shut it down and no one comes or goes anywhere until the VIPs are gone. That's why I ask you to do this, so I have YOUR number in my phone and can simply send a message if there's a problem on my end or, vice versa if there's a problem on yours. If your luggage is lost there is an english speaking guide there to assist you with the paperwork and sort everything out, even going back later to retrieve your things with you.
Again, no one else does that.
People in America are not on the GSM system and generally speaking, don't get international phones before coming. If they do pay for international service on their I-phones, it does not work. I will say this again, IT DOES NOT WORK. If you try the service before you leave, you will know that ahead of time, but most don't. On the other hand people sometimes think that since they don't know anyone, they don't need a phone. Au contraire, if you miss the flight or are delayed, how will you let us know? In her case, she didn't even try to borrow a phone and call or send an email and our guide ended up waiting 2 hours for her at the airport. She doesn't consider that worth getting paid for apparently and didn't appreciate that he took her to get her money changed from euro to local cfa and guided her thru the throngs of tourist touts that would have pounced on her that late at night. Afterwards, had she been alone with a partial or incorrect address, not speaking french and in a taxi, how would she find us? How can I send a message with instructions to people who don't carry phones? She insisted she didn't need a phone and refused to bring one. It's easy to sit back now and say it's a 7 minute trip and you don't need airport pickup but that's because she had it. If she didn't she'd be singing a different tune, still lost at the airport today because she didn't even take down my cellphone number!
Peace of mind and organization BEFORE you arrive, that's what you pay us for and the fact that she thinks it was nothing proves that we do our job so well she didn't notice a thing.
If you google 'Arriving at Dakar Airport' and read some of the horror stories, you get the real picture of what could happen when you are a late night arrival, disoriented and suffering from sleep deprivation from too many connecting flights, have no telephone, no idea of where you are,what time it is and don't speak the local language. This is why I started SenegalStyle Airport Pickp and Taxi Dispatch Service in the first place, If you arrive in a stress free environment and everything goes well, you will enjoy your stay in Senegal. If you experienced craziness at the airport, your time here will be remembered negatively or at the very least you will be saying,'everything was great, except my arrival at the airport!
That's not a good look for my adopted home town of Dakar!
#3 'There were no wattage conversion plugs' - I already aluded to the fact that she blew up her hair appliances. I have been in Senegal a long time so maybe things have changed but I was not aware that regular people in the rest of the 220v world, which I am, have voltage regulators built into their wall sockets on the off chance that someone from the US may plug in a 120v appliance... There are voltage regulator boxes that you can buy yourself and bring with you when you travel but that was her personal mistake not mine and in fact, she didn't say anything about it until after she complained that the sockets weren't working and showed me her flat iron. (I do have to admit I had never seen a flat iron, I'm from the hot comb era!) That's when I pointed out to her that the sockets work fine, her hair iron just blew up becase it's 120v and the rest of the world is 220v.
The fact that she would reinvent this story here on TripAdvisor blows my mind. . . so we're even!
What does exist is the instructions on the product itself that says 'only use in 120v sockets' and they assume you know that the rest of the world is 220v and you won't just plug it into a socket in another country.
#4 'Trip details are 'hazy' and if you can stand a bit of disorganization and insensitivity, Sineta is a perfect match for you!' - because I was trying to help her see and do as much as she could on the limited budget she had I added her to other group tours so she wouldn't be alone and the fees would be cheaper than paying for individual trips. They scheduled the tours to start at certain times and no, I wasn't going to let her make us look bad, showing up late becase she wanted to use the internet. I still don't know what she could possibly be thinking... I wasn't rude (does that sound rude to you? I asked a perfectly reasonable question and told her they have wifi at the hotel).
If you reread the passage, she says she asked me what time she was supposed to leave 2x and I said 08:00. (Her and the guide) Whats the problem? Nothing but publicly reafirming my punctuality. If I invite you to join a tour, have the courtesy to be on time. Making other people late is rude.
My people came here first with the van to get her and then they were going to pick up the rest of the group at King Fahn hotel at 8:30. She was joining a prearranged prepaid tour to Goree Island, lunch at an expensive restaurant she would have never chosen for herself, (not my 'friends' restaurant. She doesn't know me or my friends! She just got off the plane the day before!) and a city tour. We were supposed to pick them up at 8:30am and she said her computer clock said 8:00... that's what time I said they would leave so there's plenty of time to make the appointment at 08:30 at King Fahd.
Again I ask, so what is the problem?
Clearly she was going to makie us late because yes, my guides were there early, (not 6:45 tho who does that??) and by 7:35 she was not up so I knocked on the door. It was not at 7:15 as she says here or she would have had time to check her banking information earlier. Considering she blew up her curling iron or whatever and was wearing a hat she would have had plenty of time! lol!
So again, this proves, contrary to what she said at the end, I was on her about being on time, not embarrassing me with our group tour and they were out the door and at King Fahd at the appointed hour. That is NOT disorganization or being rude, that's keeping solo travelers who want to join groups on task and involved with others and their activities so you can see everything in Dakar at group rates whenever possible. I think the word she was looking for but couldn't bring herself to say was 'thank you.'
I have helped out many solo travelers who appreciate this extra service. It is too bad this reviewer doesn't see how badly this reflects on her.
The city tour alone is 30,000cfa//$60 and she only paid 15,000cfa/$30 and is STILL COMPLAINING after I told her several times she saw everything on our tour but the Presidential Palace downtown. It looks like every other white house in every other country in the world. She was on THEIR tour, had seconds and thirds of THEIR FOOD at the restaurant, (I told her to order off the menu as the meal was expensive but by her own admission again, she only paid $15 - everyone else paid $30+) and after doing the rest of the tour THEY opted to go back to the hotel. By this time it was almost 6pm and had a strenuous 10 hour day of tours.
See what this got me? This is what President Obama calls a 'learning moment' and now I truly understand what he means. She didn't miss anything really and it's always people getting stuff for free or cheap that complain the most. She is right about one thing, her encounter with our drum instructor will be unforgettable for him, along with the members of the group tour she joined the second day, complaining about virtally everything from the condition of the boats at Lac Rose, the tour at Bandia wildlife park (she saved $75 on that tour alone by going with a group and she's complaining here that she still had to pay for her ticket!) and then she opted out of the Joal tour because she didn't want to pay the 3,000cfa boatsman fee. That's about $6. She caught another one of our tours coming back to Dakar, skipped out on Ibou's drumming fees, left 1,000cfa for the soap and 1,000cfa/$2 for the driver that brought her back to Dakar early.
She was conveniently gone to the airport early when I arrived back home so I couldn't mention the drumming fees again, then had the nerve to ask me in email when I wrote to remind her, (which is what provoked this review) "oh, did I have to pay for that?'' ummm yes, Virginia, you have to pay for that.
There is no Santa Claus in Senegal.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.