Flights to Touba
Touba is the second-largest city in Senegal after Dakar, but you will still see donkeys and carts on the city roads along side more modern cars and buses. It is in the west-central part of the country, about 200 kilometres away from Dakar. Tourism is not a major industry in Touba and this is not a typical tourist destination, so do not expect a lot of traditional attractions.
The large Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport (airport code: DKR) in Dakar is the closest airport for international flights to Touba, though it is 200km away. There are public buses that run between the two cities for relatively easy access. South African Airways flies to Dakar with no stops and Arik Air has a one-stop route that connects in Lagos. For a more European flight to Touba, you can book with Lufthansa and have transfers in Frankfurt and Brussels.
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The Tourist Attractions of Touba:
This is a strictly Muslim city and their cultural rules should be respected. Women should wear headscarves and otherwise dress modestly while in Touba, and alcohol is forbidden. French is commonly spoken and you can often find people to speak English in some larger businesses.
The Great Mosque
Touba is the centre of the Mouride branch of Islam, and it is considered a holy city. The Great Mosque is one of the largest in Africa and the main site within the city. It was built in 1963 and lies at the very centre of the city, with five tall minarets and three blue domes in the structure. A major pilgrimage takes place in the middle of January every year, and if you are in Touba at that time, the entire city becomes a huge (and crowded) celebration.
Local Forest Parks
Within a reasonable drive of Touba, there are a half dozen different forest and nature reserves. The closest is the Deali Forest Reserve to the north, and the Mbegue Forest is to the south-east. If you continue to the east (roads may not be great, so plan on taking a 4×4) you can find the Doli Forest Reserve and the Doldou Debokol Reserve. These are all heavily forested parks with a rich variety of wildlife and landscapes.
Dakar makes a good day-trip from Touba, or you could tour the city if you are in Dakar on your arrival to Senegal. There are several great museums as well as a small zoo and the Sandaga open-air market. You can easily spend the entire day with things to do in Dakar, and it is not quite so culturally strict as Touba is.
When Should You Visit?:
It’s generally very hot in Touba though the nights will cool down considerably for a more comfortable evening. The coolest it will get is 33C (91F) and that is in August and September. Most other months will be hotter until it reaches the high of 40C (104F) from March until May. It will rain the most in August and September but even that is minimal and should not interfere with your Touba sightseeing.