Dakar,SenegalMay 2 in Senegal ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C
There is an African proverb that says ,”The Eye Never Forgets What The Heart Has Seen”, and that applied to today.
Unforgettable in many ways ,we wait listed a trip to a Game Reserve ,with many others, and got it, so pleased.!
As soon as we boarded our slightly dowdy bus ,a smaller model ,realised everything here is covered in red dust ,the bus and window’s no exception..sadly, but we will remember it all.!
Very basic Pier with many trucks adjacent, unloading in primitive ways , with lots of man power, various cargos. Then an oil spill, trying to be contained , but not really. Many haphazard vehicles covered ,in the red dust ,flat tyres… Around the Port Gates ,very dishevelled people in tiny, broken ,small shacks, that were shops. Out on to the streets, hilarious melee of traffic, warned there are no rules ,and even if there were, not followed .Roundabouts of chaos, with everyone jockeying for position…the ambulance ,siren going, getting simply nowhere ,you would be gone in the time that took to reach anything resembling a Hospital.. Sheep, the Arabian kind, long tails and tall, a small flock upon a pavement side, been wet in some way,. Thousands of Taxis ,in various states of repair ,like nothing seen before… A large new Railway Station, looking like a building in Shanghai , and of course it is Chinese…
A brief summary of Senegal, French for a very long time, French is still widely spoken, Slave Trade in earlier times ,terrible ,through France and Britain, the Island of Goree ,was a tour for passengers ,visible as a pretty place ,from the ship…French buildings etc. Independence in the 80’s as they wanted, but no ,like all of Africa, it is mismanaged and a disaster, for many, getting bigger by the day.
There apparently is some progress, but lapses like a HUGE bronze statue made by Nth Korea, costing $27 million ,sort of cartoon like, towers over the city ,while some people starve… the whim ,amongst huge protest, of a Prime Minister… However apparently 66% have electricity ,in the city ,sanitation , water as well, so all is not lost. Education is free, and a student allowance for University, so seems very good.. Further out ,and not much further, it is to be honest, squalor , no other way of saying…everything seems to be, being built, but is lived in, on the way, concrete blocks ,little reinforcing,2 rooms and a toilet,perhaps, the Banks lend on these at $30,000,they earn $3600 a year…so a difficult path .
Rubbish piled everywhere, and just dust , that is more so, because it has not rained since August last year… This is horse and cart country, a little related to Egypt, donkeys as well, who tow large loads and a lump of a person, often.! These people are tall , handsome , some have colourful robes, and the women ,in an almost completely Muslim country, wore very colourful ,long dresses ,some of beautiful fabrics. Water is sold from tanks, on carts ,to suburbs. More tiny stalls selling fruit, mainly ,along the dusty roadside…Herds of cows wandering ,also goats, they didn’t look starved…
Large orchards of Mango trees, seem to be quite well tended.
BUT, there are highways beyond belief, beautifully made, over passes ,channeled for water…even some landscaping ,being watered by hand. The lighting is all solar, such a good idea, they seem like the roads to nowhere, but they wont be, a new Airport is complete, so progress is obvious ,Chinese progress in the main…There are small parts of development ,inner the city ,apparently nice mansions, also, of those in power..
Soon many Baobab trees, the real Africa, disappointed we didn’t see them in Madagascar , but here in abundance, their national symbol . Some just coming into leaf, but many still bare. They have fruit of a powdery nature that is high in Vit.C. Gorgeous ,stately and live for 2000 years ,although in the drought ,some very old ones succumbed.
Soon to the Bandia Reserve ,all very professionally done. Waiting in the shade for our 9 seater , small trucks, many monkeys, so cute ,scampering about. Through majestic Baobab and acacia trees , making for the real look of Africa ,and dusty red earth.
Animals, well birds first, Ostrich ,many ,one flopped on her nest in the heat, with a few huge eggs scattered out at the sides, apparently they rotate, the eggs,and the Male does night shift..He has very black ,shiny, plumage.
Warthogs, cute Families , earnestly going about their day ,giving the Ostrich a wide berth ,they don’t eat her eggs…Giraffes ,many ,eating the hugely prickly Acacia, unaffected.. Various Antelope ,so clean and beautifully marked ,the Kudu ,the largest. Weigh 400lbs. Many kinds we had not seen. Water hole with dozens of monkey’s ,all sizes and shapes ,running hither and yon, tiny babies underneath…Expressions and actions I never tire of ,[ Sam can’t stand them..] Drinking and grooming the children..!
Rhinos ,being fed, as they have had to feed the animals, there is simply nothing left to eat,. Huge ones males, but horns removed of course… Buffalo, the look of Africa ,mean looking male, and his harem,also little ones , almost all with the little birds, as passengers, on their backs. Then my favourite.. Zebra, amazing stripes, everyone unique and apparently the stripes are like a kind of louvers, in heat reduction, how clever is that.! I could look at them for hours, they are beautiful, and they to me ,are Africa…
Hyenas …hideous , prowling, creatures, quite large and very strong looking, are contained just for viewing ,I asked what do you feed them ,he smiled and said they eat anything.! Crocodiles ,many, wild Guinea fowl, bigger than we know.
What we enjoyed most ,was seeing all the animals we didn’t see at the first Game reserve, we visited from East London, in South Africa., different today ,very close viewing ,many pretty birds ,as well, on the ground ,mainly. It wasn’t the greatest of Parks, but it was so Africa, the trees ,just as you see in pictures .Apart from being among, not such a nice lot of people ,who would not let the guide sit beside them ,so he hung from the side ,perched, for the duration…!
Later we gathered for a drink ,by the water, full of croc’s, only offering beer and cola,[ my bottle was from the 50’s]…so damaged I only had a little bit…!Goodness knows….So very hot and then rushed off to the bus, but noticed an urn type container ,made in Raffia woven with cloth, a very clever design ,quite lovely.
Journey back, on the amazing roads through the chaos . Not pictures really ,of it all, because the windows…
Gathering our passengers, who had been on a Safari of 6 days through many countries ,with many tales to tell, not all of them good…very happy to be back on board…
Also those on local excursions said they were physically handled in markets and quite frightened ,seemingly aggressive people, in parts, so not the place for your next vacation. Ever interesting, and a huge learning curve, anyway. The docks are like from another era ,of long ago, a big fishing Port ,and some containers in one part…
But we did enjoy our last day in Africa, much food for thought…as is all of Africa…
I will do a sperate blog, because of the many things that have happened in our last 6 days at sea.. Sailing along in the calm waters as usual…Perfect.Read more