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Do-it-yourself in West Africa

We are looking at taking a tour in Mali, then visiting Senegal and possibly Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, basing out of Dakar. The attractions around in/around Dakar seem doable using day trips arranged from the hotel rather than paying for a full time tour company and guide. This would include a trip to Gambia and possibly Guinea-Bissau. It appears there are beach-front hotels/guest houses in Dakar that could provide a desireable base for these excursions.

Can anyone provide information on the feasibility and desirability to this approach, and can you provide any recommendations for reasonable beach acommodations at Dakar.
Looking at March 2010 for my wife and I.

Thanks in advance for any advice/assistance you can provide.

Richard58

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