Colonial architecture, vibrant markets and even some secluded beaches are what Senegal can welcome you with!
1. In one of the most forward recycling projects from its time, off one stretch of the coast of Senegal is an island made of shells! In the fishing village of Joal-Fadiouth, Joal is the mainland which is connected with a wooden bridge to Fadiouth which for over a century has been made by harvesting molluscs. The seashells have been held together by mangroves and reeds. It is best known for its cemetery, also made up of shells!
2. They are building a massive wall! Nope, not to shoo off anyone but for battling desertification. The Great Green Wall was built as a hope for improving the fertility of the land, for encouraging wildlife to the dusty plains and for combating climate change problems. At a stretch of 7,644kms it is one of the largest living structures in the world!
3. It was once the centre for slave trade and thousands of slaves would get shipped off only to never return home again.
4. Now that we are on the history you should also know that Senegal and Gambia had briefly entered into a confederation dubbed “Senegambia” in the year 1982. However, disappointed with Gambia’s efforts towards the unison, Senegal separated itself in 1989.
5. Even sheep get to hit the beach! Why should humans have all the fun? ? Okay, I’m not entirely sure if sheep enjoy this activity but it said that every Sunday, shepherds bring their sheep to the beach in Dakar for a wash.
6. Now as Indians we have witnessed many superstitions and practices carried out to bring us good luck. You would have seen taxis with a lemon and green chilli hanging in the front. So, just like that Senegal has something similar…they tie a goat’s tail to the back of the car as they believe it will bring them good luck!
7. Senegal’s Saloum Delta is popular among birdwatchers as birds such as pelicans, Goliath herons, kingfishers, etc. can be easily spotted here.
8. Theirry Sabine was a French motorcyclist who got lost in the Tenere Desert during a race and got the idea that the desert would make for quite an interesting race! Thus, ladies and gentlemen, the world was introduced to the Paris-Dakar Rally which passes through some of the most dangerous terrains including even the Sahara Desert. However, with the threat of terrorism the rally had to be moved to South America in 2009. For near about 30 years and ongoing, the event has garnered much sporting and adventurous attention as well as stories, with the founder’s motto “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind”. And yet, we cannot deny how the event has witnessed about 75 fatalities till date.
9. Cap Vert Peninsula’s Pointe Des Almaides is the western most point of the African mainland. Thus, it is the last place in the continent to be greeted by the sunrise and the sunset.
10. Lac Rose is, no surprise, a pink lake! It is also called Lake Retba. The tinge of colour is acquired by the saline waters as a result of the salt content and the non-harmful bacteria’s absorption of sunlight which secretes reddish pigmentation. This leads us to witness a pink lake of sorts! Its high salinity ensures a presence of salt collectors at all times but also prevents most natural organisms from being able to live in it. Coincidentally, before the Dakar Rally ceased to occur in Senegal it would actually conclude at this lakeside.
11. Lights, camera, action! Who doesn’t love movies? The country of Africa speculated that they got to experience this love for themselves thanks to Ousmane Sembene who directed Borrom Street, i.e., the first film made in Africa in 1963 about the life of a cart driver in Dakar. Sembene is regarded as the father of African cinema.
12. And since we are on the arts, Senegal’s own dance form is the Sabar which involves such energetic movements that one has to be considerably fit to perform it while matching the beat of the drums.
13. At 161 feet, the African Renaissance Monument standing atop the twin hills of Collines Des Mamilles, is regarded to be the tallest statue in Africa. Its construction faced a lot of criticism as a North Korean firm did it.
14. Today a national sport but originally Senegalese wrestling was an act conducted to prepare for war, more along the lines of exercise.
15. Unfortunately, the national animal, the lion, has not been preserved and protected as well as one would like. But with international support it is expected to be revived.
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
1. Well, it isn’t often that you get to witness a lake which is pink in colour! What are you waiting for? Go witness the unique shade of the lake highlighted by the sand dunes surrounding it to see something that you don’t often come by.
2. If you can stomach the country’s dark history and would like to learn more about it then the House of Slaves at Goree Island is where you should head.
3. Make way to Niokola Koba National Park for a chance to see the African lion in flesh. The safari here even has a UNESCO recognition on account of the variety of wildlife and flora and fauna found here. Lac De Guires is an inland lake which also makes for an interesting visit for wildlife lovers.
4. Are you an explorer of arts? Or well, when exploring a place do you find the practice of witnessing the art scene as a part of the cultural discovery there? Dakar Village Des Arts is brimming with budding artists and its an open gallery of sorts for you to walk through.
5. The shell island is bound to leave us all wondering, so, head over to Fadiouth island to take a boat ride, walk around and even observe the cemetery at this unique place.
6. Langue De Barbarie is a thin stretch of sand off the coast where the land is overlooking the shore and a tree appears to be rising from the ocean bed!
7. You can even head to the intricately built Grand Mosque to pay your respects and observe Senegalese lifestyle and architecture.
8. Catch the sunset at the pretty Toubab Dialaw.
How to Reach:
You can catch a flight with a layover in Istanbul or in some cases with multiple layovers from Dubai and Guinea.