By guest blogger Marie-Claude Racine, La Cavaleuse
Still fairly unknown to tourists, Senegal is a destination where the sun is omnipresent all year. Indeed, it is one of the countries with the highest amount of sunshine in the world. Why should you choose Senegal as your next destination? For its authenticity, for a chance to make memorable new encounters (because warmth and hospitality are a given in Senegal) and as a first introduction to Africa. Intrigued? Keep reading.
Made entirely of shells, the island of Fadiouth, located South East of Dakar, is truly breathtaking. A diverse flora has been growing on its shores for hundreds of years. Although Fadiouth might look like a natural phenomenon, it is man made. The island is composed of millions of small shells that were fished a long time ago and abandoned after fishermen emptied them from the molluscs living inside. Still, this mysterious island is absolutely magical!
Located in the delta of Sine-Saloum, Bird Island is heaven on earth for bird and animal watchers (myself included!). Although I visited the island after the migration period, it was full of birds of all kinds. Seagulls, royal terns, egrets, pelicans... I definitely felt like an intruder! Imagine finding yourself among hundreds of birds flying around you. It's a show you're lucky to see once in your life, and one I’ll never forget!
RIDING A CARRIAGE IN THE WILD
Yes - you read correctly! It is near Palmarin that I got to sit in the back of a small buggy to observe hyenas in their natural habitat! This quiet means of transport is frequently used in Senegal. It is the perfect vehicle to admire nature without disturbing its inhabitants. Our journey took us through magnificent salt mines and baobab forests. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to see the hyenas, but we did come across a nice couple of jackals!
" Warmth and hospitality are a given in Senegal! "
- Currency: The CFA franc
- Languages: The official language is French, but there are many other local languages, including one of the most common, Wolof
- Best time to go: November to May
- In my suitcase: The NOV top, which offers optimal sun protection
- Lodging suggestion: I really enjoyed my stay at the luxurious "Les collines de Nassau", in Palmarin. Camping or sleeping in a hut with a straw roof is also possible with a tour company. Look into Les aventuriers du Saloum.
- Fun fact: always take a moment to greet the people you meet. Missing this step could close many doors!