Living in Kolda as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Kolda Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Kolda

Nestled in the heart of Senegal's Casamance region, Kolda boasts a rich cultural heritage, thanks to its mix of ethnic groups. Known as the 'Youth Capital' of Senegal, this vibrant city has garnered widespread recognition due to its thriving economy and expanding job market. The city's numerous festivals, including the Kola Music Festival and Mbaye Diene Sarr's Toubab Ancestors art shows, provide an insight into the city's diverse cultural landscape. Kolda's lush vegetation, fertile soil, and proximity to the Gambia River emissions a refreshing allure. Visitors enjoy a balmy tropical climate, averaging 26°C (78.8°F) with near-constant hot and humid conditions throughout the year.

Tips for expats in Kolda

Visa requirements

Expats moving to Kolda require a valid visa and a Yellow Fever certificate. It's essential to obtain a residence permit within three months of arrival. Information regarding visa requirements can be obtained from the Senegalese Embassy or Consulate in one's country of residence.

Language resources

Although French is the official language, many locals speak Kisi, Jola, Manjaku, and Mandinka. Expats are highly recommended to learn French, with various tutoring centers such as Studio Losseba providing lessons along with language immersion courses

Cost of living for expats in Kolda


Living costs are reasonably priced, with various housing options available. Expats can rent a room in a shared house for as little as CFA 80,000 (approximately $150) per month. A one-bed apartment can go for CFA 150,000 ($291) per month, while a two-bedroom apartment costs approximately CFA 200,000 ($388) per month. Families can rent a three-plus bedroom house for around CFA 300,000 ($583) per month.


Food costs are affordable, with local produce and imported items available in various markets such as the Grand Marché. Expect to spend around CFA 7,000 ($13.30) per week on groceries for a single person.


Transportation costs are moderate; expats can use the minibus services to travel in Kolda, with fares starting from CFA 100 ($0.19) per trip. Taxis are readily available and are reasonably affordable, costing around CFA 1500 ($2.90) for a trip within the city.

Climate in Kolda

Kolda enjoys a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions throughout the year. The wet season, from June to October, is characterized by high rainfall, lush vegetation, and a green canopy covering the landscape. The dry season, from December to May, is characterized by low rainfall, bronzed trees, and a pleasant coolness in the mornings and evenings.

Job market in Kolda

The region's sustained growth has led to an expanding job market in Kolda, marked by budding industries, including Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Mining, Banking, Finance, and Hospitality. The city is home to numerous corporations, and expats can find employment in firms such as Total, Shell, and BP. Moreover, Kolda is equipped with modern offerings, including the University of the Languages of Africa and the Casamance, which attracts students from all over the region.

Healthcare in Kolda

Kolda boasts an extensive healthcare network, comprising public and private institutions. The Nouvelles Frontières Hospital offers exceptional medical facilities coupled with world-class equipment, from surgeries to intensive care units. Polyclinics such as the Centre Medical Fara Mba Ba are also available, staffed by knowledgeable and efficient medical practitioners.

Transport in Kolda

The city has an extensive transportation system, ready to accommodate transit needs with minibuses or taxis. The Grand Marché, a bustling market, is accessible by both taxi and mini-bus services. The Grand Boulevard serves as the city's central hub, with wide, meticulously paved roads connecting different neighborhoods, making it easy to navigate the city.

Safety in Kolda

Kolda, generally considered a safe city, boasts low crime levels, and visitors can relish in the day-in-day-out hustle and bustle without inhibition. However, expats are advised to remain vigilant in certain neighborhoods, such as Cinta, where petty crimes are known to happen. The central neighborhood remains secured by the police and paramilitary officials, ensuring safety for expats.

Neighborhoods in Kolda

  1. Stade

    Stade is one of the city's busiest neighborhoods and is located near Kolda's main stadium. The neighborhood offers ample entertainment options, including international restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. Expats can enjoy a bustling street life, with various events hosted throughout the year, such as concerts and sporting events.

  2. Mba Diène

    Mba Diène is a peaceful neighborhood, situated close to Kolda's University. The neighborhood has a variety of public amenities, such as schools, medical centers, and parks. The area features spacious avenues and apartments, making it a favorite for families.

  3. Bakèle

    Bakèle, a residential neighborhood, features tree-lined streets and numerous villas. The neighborhood is characterized by a laid-back atmosphere, ideal for expats seeking a peaceful sanctuary.

  4. Cinta

    Cinta is a rapidly developing neighborhood, popularly known for its shiny buildings and bustling commercial sector. The area, shelved between the University and the city center, plays host to the city's most prominent companies and shops.

Attractions in Kolda

  1. Kolda Museum

    Kolda Museum, housed in the oldest building in the city, is a historic landmark that showcases the past of the Casamance region. Visitors can enjoy educational exhibits and witness replicas of traditional Casamance houses.

  2. Cathedral Notre-Dame de Lourdes

    The Cathedral Notre-Dame de Lourdes, built by French architect Paul Tournon, is an architectural masterpiece. The cathedral features intricate designs and stained-glass windows, leading many to dub it as Kolda's most notable landmark.

  3. Kolda's Mosque

    Kolda's Mosque, renowned for its vibrant and electrifying surroundings, is host to the largest prayer gathering in the region during the annual Tabaski festival.

International Schools in Kolda

  1. Lycée Français de Kolda

    Quartier Reine Blanche, Kolda

    The Lycée Français de Kolda follows the French curriculum and prepares students for higher education in France. The institution offers various extracurricular activities, such as French language courses, cultural events, and sports programs.

  2. Landmark International School

    Bakélé, Kolda

    Landmark International School is an English-based institution that offers an array of educational programs, ranging from primary through secondary education. The school facilitates international admissions and provides students with the opportunity to interact with children from different countries.

  3. Heart Schools

    Quartier Talata, Saamaka Road, Kolda

    Heart Schools, a fast-growing establishment, presents a perfect blend of the English and Senegalese curriculum. The school provides classes for students aged three through high school and provides transportation services.

Useful expat resources in Kolda

Expat destinations in Senegal