Tambacounda is the largest city in eastern Senegal, 400 kilometres
(250 mi) southeast of Dakar, and is the regional capital of the
province of the same name. Its estimated population in 2007 was
2 Population and culture
4 Transport hub
8 Sites of interest
9 Sister cities
10 See also
12 External links
Tambacounda is situated on the sparsely populated sahélien plains of
eastern Senegal. Like most of West Africa, the area has two seasons,
the rainy season from June to October, characterized by heat, humidity
and storms, and the dry season from November to May.
Nearby towns include Madina Maboule, Koukari, Yoro Sankoule,
Sambadian, Djidje Kounda, Afia Seno, Saare Boylii and Kanderi Niana.
Population and culture
Between the censuses of 1988 and 2002,
Tambacounda grew from 41,885 to
In 2007, according to official estimates, the population reached
Settled first by Mandike peoples on the outskirts of the
on the regular transhumance routes of Fula cattle herders, and settled
again by Wolof farmers in the early 20th century,
Tambacounda has a
mix of most of the ethnic groups in Senegal.
Tambacounda region is famous for its rich djembe and dance culture
and heritage. Some of the greatest djembe masters from
Segu, Mali came
Tambacounda in the mid 1900s, bringing with them their history,
knowledge, and secrets of the djembe. Among the famous musicians from
Tambacounda is drummer Abdoulaye Diakite.
As with most of Senegal, the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, with
much of the Wolof population in the region tracing their roots to
Mouride sufi adherents who were given wild grassland by the
brotherhood to clear and settle at the beginning of the 20th century.
There is a
Roman Catholic Diocese of Tambacounda, but only 1.8% of the
population of the region is Roman Catholic.
Train station, 2009
Historically, the city grew from a village along the
Dakar – Bamako
railway, built in the colonial period, and still used today, however
passenger travel itself is limited. A branch line junctioning from
this station is proposed to serve Kédougou.
The city lies on the N1 and N7 roads. As a part of the Trans-Sahelian
Highway system, these are critical for traffic going between the Kayes
Mali and the coastal regions of
Sénégal (Dakar, Thiès,
Saint-Louis), the most densely populated parts of both these nations.
This east–west travel intersects with Senegal's most important route
Dakar to the
Casamance region, which is cut off by Gambia. Slow
river ferries, border posts, and corrupt border guards mean that many
Senegalese are willing to travel far out of their way to avoid the
international border. In 2002 the
MV Joola ferry from
Ziguinchor sank, but since then a new ferry has replaced it and the
water route to
Ziguinchor has reopened. The road through Tambacounda
is the only internal route between the two parts of the country,
however it is also possible to travel through the Gambia.
The town also has an airport,
Tambacounda Airport, serviced by
national and international flights.
A farm near Tambacounda.
Tambacounda is also a center for agricultural processing, with millet,
sorgum, maize and cotton grown in the dry plains of the region.
Sodefitex operates a large cotton processing plant in the town.
Tambacounda was a Mandinka town and trade center at the beginning of
French colonialisation. With the railway came more intensive
cultivation of grains and cotton by Wolof peoples seeking arable land.
French colonialists made the town a major transport center, and a
number of buildings, including the rail station retain the colonial
Tambacounda is the capital of
Tambacounda Department (which includes
three administrative regions) and the large
Souty Touré, the current mayor, was formerly a government minister
under Abdou Diouf, and was the founder of the Parti socialiste
authentique (PSA) political party. The PSA has only one seat in the
Tambacounda is its political base.
Sites of interest
Niokolo-Koba National Park
Niokolo-Koba National Park
Niokolo-Koba National Park lies just to the south of the town, and
is famed for its wildlife.
In 2003, the iron-framed rail station, the Hôtel de la Gare, and the
colonial Préfecture building were placed on Senegal's list of
Bondy in France.
La Roche sur Yon
La Roche sur Yon in
France (local development project)
Transport in Senegal
Translation of fr:
Tambacounda (January 2008).
^ Arrêté du 27 mars 2003 Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine.
(in French) Site officiel de la commune
Tambacounda sur Planète Sénégal
(in French) tambacounda.info:
Tambacounda based news and web portal.
Peace Corps Senegal,
(in French) Sekna Cissé, Évolution de la population de Tambacounda
1915-1976. Essai d’interprétation, Université de Dakar, 1981, 85
p. (Mémoire de Maîtrise de géographie)
(in French) Mamadou Issa Diallo, Étude du vent d’une station
Tambacounda (1946-1975), Université de Dakar : 1983,
141 p. (Mémoire de Maîtrise de géographie)
(in French) Astou Diène, L’évolution économique du cercle de
Tambacounda de 1919 à 1946, Université de Dakar : 1986, 99 p.
(Mémoire de Maîtrise)
(in French) Pascal Handschuhmacher, « Tambacounda, une ville
historique sans histoire ? » in Jean-Luc Piermay et Cheikh
Sarr (dir.), La ville sénégalaise. Une invention aux frontières du
monde, Paris, Karthala, 2007, p. 200-203
(in French) Abou Ndour, Monographie de la ville de
origines à l’indépendance (1960), Dakar, Université Cheikh Anta
Diop, 1993, 63 p. (Mém