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Senegal

Curious what backpackers do in Senegal? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day6

    Ich sitze am Flughafen und muss mich jetzt wieder verabschieden von super netten Menschen, einem wunderschönen Strand, einem komfortablen Hotel und einer Stadt, die ich nicht gesehen habe. Ja, das ist typisch Business Trip, ich kenne Banjul nicht, ich kenne The Gambia nicht. Es ist schade aber die Gelegenheit kommt wieder und beim nächsten Mal bleibe ich hoffentlich gesund.

    Wir haben heute die FAO besucht, eine Organisation, die Bauern und den ganzen Landwirtschafts-Sektor unterstützt. Die Sparkassenstiftung bietet Business Games an - unter anderem ein Spiel für Farmer, bei dem diese das Management der ökonomische Seite der Landwirtschaft lernen können. Wir bzw. Stefan Henkelmann stellte das Spiel vor und sie schienen interessiert, es Ihren Farmern anbieten zu wollen. Schauen wir mal...

    Später hatten wir ein Meeting mit der Vertretung der deutschen Botschaft in Dakar in Banjul. Klingt verwirrend? Ist auch ziemlich ungewöhnlich, dass eine deutsche Botschaft in einem Land eine Vertretung hat, die wiederum einen Repräsentanten in einem anderen Land hat. Aber es scheint zu funktionieren. Es war recht interessant, da sie uns die Ergebnisse der Wahl bereits sagen konnte. Die Lage bleibt stabil, die Ergebnisse sind eindeutig.

    Ein neuer Spaziergang am Strand, ein erneutes Meeting und eine Verabschiedung der "Delegation from Germany" später sind Friedhelm und ich zum Essen gefahren. Soweit ich mich erinnern kann war das mein erster Besuch bei einem Libanesen. War lecker! Ich hoffe, mein Magen sieht das auch so... ;)

    Um 22.00 Uhr hat mich dann ein Freund von Katja, den sie hier kennengelernt hat, abgeholt und zum Flughafen gebracht. Allen Witzen und aller Kritik zum Trotz wird Arik wieder fliegen! Hoffentlich pünktlich (um 2.45), wir sitzen nämlich bereits am Gate (um 23.45).

    Ja, Arik war fast pünktlich! Sie waren zu früh, um 1.30 h begann das Boarding! Ich bin echt stolz auf die. Nur die Schockfrostung könnten Sie abstellen. Gefühlt 15 Grad - kein Scherz! Flug über Dakar. Also nach 30 min wieder runter, warten bis die Dakarer ausgestiegen und die neuen Passagiere eingestiegen sind. Es ist jetzt 3.20h. Ich bin müde und mit ist sooooooo kalt.... das nächste Mal mit Skijacke!

    Ich hoffe, Ihr habt eine bessere Nacht! ;) Schlaft gut!

    -------------------

    I'm sitting at the airport and have to say goodbye to very nice people, a beautiful beach, a comfortable hotel and a city that I haven't seen ;). Yep that's typical business trip. I don't know Banjul, I don't know that Gambia. It's a pity but the possibility will come again and next time I will hopefully be healthy ;).

    We visited today the FAO - an organisation that supports farmers and the whole agricultural sector. The SBFIC offers business games - among others a game for farmers in which they can learn to manage the economical aspects of a farm. We or better Stefan Henkelmann introduced this game to the counterparts. They seemed to be interested to offer the game to their farmers in the long run. Let's see ...

    Later on we had an appointment with the representative of the German embassy in Dakar in Banjul. Sounds strange? Jep, that's quite unusual that a German embassy in one country has a representative in another country. But it works. It was quite interesting because we got the official results of the election from Gambia yesterday. The results are unique so that the political situation will remain stable.

    Another walk at the beach, a next meeting later Friedhelm and me went to dinner. As far as I can remember my first dinner in a Liberian restaurant. It was good! And I hope my stomach agrees with me ;)

    At 10.00 pm a friend of Katja who met her in Gambia picked me up to the airport. Despite of all jokes and criticism I heard today - Arik will fly again. Hopefully punctually (at 2.45 am) because we are already sitting in front of the gate (11.54 pm).

    Yes Arik was almost punktuell! They started the boarding at 2.30. I'm very proud of them. They could stopp the air condition which friezes me. I feel as if this had have 15 degrees - no joke. Flight over Dakar. This means after half an hour flight, landing, waiting for the people who leave the airplane, waiting for the people who enter the airplane. It's now 3.20. I am tiered and im cold, very cold! Next time with skiing jacket.

    Hope you have a better night! ;) sleep well!
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  • Day68

    Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates. I've had some technical difficulties, but I should be able to catch up soon.

    A return to Senegal, sees me into Casamance, a region even flatter than the rest of Senegal, yet very different. The whole region is basically a flood plain for the Casamance river where the highest point seems to be provided by the senegalese love of monumental speed bumps. This flatness and the seasonal rains means the locals, who want to be independent, are epic rice farmers and the meals are both tasty and healthy.

    However my ride through 'upper' casamance took me to a dirt road, at times more like a footpath. Where I had crash #3 & #4. #3 was rather embarrassing, riding about 10mph, I tried to turn off the gopro, lost my balance and pathetically fell to the side, breaking my fly screen at the same time. #4 was much more dramatic as I went in to a sudden sand pit, buried the front wheel and lost it at about 35mph, only to be instantly engulfed by a massive cloud of sand and dust. I pull myself up and as the cloud clears I see about 20 people coming to help me and the bike up. No damage on this one, but I've got a cracking bruise on my leg.

    I've also stayed in a camp site by the shore of the casamance, where they had 7 small crocodiles in a pen, just by they bar. They catch them if they come close to the town,  but still I've been told it's not a good idea to go in the water! On the plus side I've been told crocodile is tasty! While here I took the opportunity to ride the bike unloaded and visit st George's point and very briefly see manatees. This involved a very Sandy track where it took me 1.5 hours to do 12 miles, but I was rewarded when I arrived with an impromptu rice and fish lunch with a local family and secured some palm wine for dinner later.

    The link below should show a YouTube summary of the journey so far from the UK to Senegal.

     https://youtu.be/JWtZhocU-rU
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  • Day56

    I love Dakar. It has a real intensity and busyness with everyone seeming to have a purpose. Aside from Fes and Marrakech, it is the only city so far where most people are enjoying life rather than just moving from day to day. I joined in with the hustle and bustle and spend my 4 days here;
    Getting the Guinea visa;
    Visiting Ile-de-goree, the island where ships departed to take slaves to America;
    Haggling in the massive markets. I got quoted the equivalent of £100 for some Africa print trousers, I ended up paying £2.60 for them, and I still know that's too much;
    Searched for engine oil so I can do an oil change in a couple of weeks. This is surprisingly difficult as everyone just fills their bikes with car oil;
    Visited the most westerly point in Africa, which is predictably semi-occupied by the US embassy, a building big enough for about 1000 people;

    Also after 3 weeks it's time to say goodbye to Ferry and Gulcin 😭. They have 2 years to tour Africa, whereas my plan was 6 months, but I've now decided a year is definitely needed!

    Photos
    1&4) Africa's most westerly point
    2) View across Dakar to ile-de-goree
    3) Pirogue fishing boat
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  • Day54

    So a night was planned at the famous Lac Rose where a mixture of salinity, bacteria and sunlight mean the water turns pink. However there have been a few issues with this.
    1) The road the mapping app suggested for the last 5 miles ranged from horrific to non existent. Picture the good bits - the kind of sand where the front wheel slides from rut to rut, while the back fishtails along. The bad bits being flat out desert type sand where I've got the throttle open, I'm bouncing up and down over the rear wheel to get traction, meanwhile half the village is getting covered in what's being kicked up from the rear, all while moving forward at half walking pace, with a rather large audience at times.
    2) The plan was to arrive at dusk, but because of the conditions, most of this riding is done in the dark.
    3) The bloody lake isn't even pink the next day when we see it!
    4) Leaving in the morning, all we had to do was ride 2 miles on a hardcore road, then turn onto tar...much easier.

    Photos
    1) The unpink lake
    2 & 3) Sights on the way there. Unfortunately the gopro was out of charge for the sandy bits.
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  • Day51

    First stop a desert oasis in the Adrar gorge. It's nice to see something other than a panorama of sand. Then onto Senegal via a quick pitstop in Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital, to acquire a Mali visa. The only reason i want the Mali visa is so I can do a quick dash later to Bamako, Mali's capital, to get a Nigeria visa because every other Nigeria embassy insists on me getting the visa in the UK.

    The driving in Nouakchott is absolutely atrocious. I've driven / ridden in many places where people say it is chaotic or dangerous,  but my experience is normally that the locals ignore all rules, but actually drive with common sense and tend to be more aware of what's going on around them. Nouakchott is NOT like this, it's like the entire population has had a lobotomy from the part of the brain that promotes self preservation. Everyone drives like they're playing GTA.

    My next treat is to cross 2nd most notoriously corrupt border in Africa....on my birthday, but first we pass a national park with warthogs, which we saw and crocodiles, which we didnt ☺. The border was actually OK apart from the Mauritania customs guy who wanted 10 euro each to stamp the bikes out. He didn't take so well to me pointing out his vehicle records book had 25 entries for the day before, but his receipt book only had 5, at which point he gets angry and says he's the custom chief and tells us to go to another border (the even more corrupt one). Ferry's and my response is to say, OK we will wait here for the stamp.... right in the middle of your office. An hour later, after some concillatory conversation ("where were you born, how many children do you have, you're very successful to have such an important job, Mauritania is a good country, it's my birthday today etc") we finally get our stamp for free.

    Once over the border it becomes clear how different mauritania and senegal are, in senegal there are so many colours, so many more people and everyone seems an extrovert.  Now I'm at the famous overlanding spot near St Louis called Zebrabar with a birthday beer and I've seen my first wild monkey. The view here is pretty damn good.

    Photos
    1) Terjit oasis
    2) Adrar gorge
    3 & 5) View from Zebrabar
    4 & 6) The city of St Louis, the former capital of French West Africa
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  • Day60

    5 hours after leaving Ferry and Gulcin I spot a group of 12 bikes parked up. After a quick chat with the Polish/ Austrian group it turns out we're going to the same place, le petite cote. So we join up. The first night involves some typically Polish drinking which is an experience for my head and liver after hardly drinking for 6 weeks!

    The next day we go on a pirogue trip up the Saloum delta, but first we have to go to the next village which involves 12 people getting a ride from a battered old Peugeot 405. 2 in the front including the driver, 3 in the back, 2 in the boot, 6 on the roof, but before we can go anywhere the driver has the hammer the passenger door shut.

    The boat trip itself was great, seeing the mangrove swamps and lots of birds. The boat even got stuck on a sandbar on the way back so we all had to lean the boat perilously over towards the crocodile inhabited water. Most worryingly though my premium quality Africa print trousers have ripped.

    In the afternoon I have a little ride up and down the beach without all the baggage. The bike feels much better without all the extras bouncing up and down with it. After going up and down for ten miles I think it would be a good idea to get some dramatic video footage in front of the shipwreck. So I start being a yob and doing donuts in front of a shipwreck, predictably this ends up in me laying in the sand. Pick the bike up, and it won't start as I need to wait for the petrol to drain, meanwhile I tensly watch the tide come in and start lapping at the back wheel, but she starts. Then it turns out I actually pressed the wrong button and don't have it filmed.

    In the evening I find out there is the local annual wrestling competition, Senegal's national sport. To be fair I saw more build up than actual Wrestling but the rituals the crowd and the wrestlers go through are quite something, including drumming, call and respond chanting, animated dancing, throwing of leaves, throwing water out of a hollowed out animal horn, drawing in the sand. The wrestling itself is a little tactical. I was expecting these huge men, mostly 6ft 6+, to start throwing each other around. The reality though is that 95% of the time is spent playing slapsies.

    Photos
    1 & 5) Pirogue trip
    2) Everyday traffic
    3 & 4) View from my tent
    6) Wrestling
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  • Day9

    Heute ging es mit der Pferde-Rikscha durch die belebten Straßen von Saint-Louis. Die Stadt nahe der Grenze zu Mauretanien ist durch seinen französischen Charme eine der schönsten Städte des Senegals. Auf der Fahrt durch die Stadt trafen wir auf viele lachende Kinder, die uns auf unserer Rundfahrt die ganze Zeit begleiteten.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Senegal, Senegal, ሴኔጋል, سنغال, Seneqal, Сенегал, Senegali, সেনেগাল, སེ་ནི་གྷལ།, Sénégal, Senegal nutome, Σενεγάλη, Senegalo, سنگال, Senegaal, Sènègal, An tSeineagáil, Seanagal, સેનેગલ, Sinigal, סנגל, सेनेगल, Szenegál, Սենեգալ, セネガル共和国, სენეგალი, សេនេហ្កាល់, ಸೆನೆಗಲ್, 세네갈, سینیگال, Senegalia, Senegaalo, Senegalɛ, ຊິນີກັນ, Senegalas, Senegale, Senegāla, സെനഗല്‍, ဆီနီဂေါ, सेनेगाल, ସେନେଗାଲ୍, Senegäle, Sinigaal, செனெகல், సెనెగల్, ประเทศเซเนกัล, Senikalo, سېنېگال, سینیگل, Xê-nê-gan (Senegal), Senegalän, Orílẹ́ède Sẹnẹga, 塞内加尔, i-Senegal

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