Today we have Anna with us, a paris based blogger who shares her travels on her blog Globe-croqueuse. She’ll be giving us the lowdown of her last trip to Senegal.
How would you describe your trip to Senegal?
It was an amazing getaway! I can’t really say I saw Senegal because I only visited Dakar and its surroundings. You need more then a couple of days to absorb this city’s effervesce. The capital definitely left a mark on me, just as it did on my first trip. I’ll be sure to come back!
And its people?
Full of life. The Senegalese exude this amazing positive energy. Everything seems possible even with a pace of life that is less intense than in Europe. Things still get done and even if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. This was a welcome break from the typical humdrum of daily life.
The women are sublime. All Africans will tell you that Senegal has the most beautiful women on the continent. I don’t know how best to describe their effortless poise, the way they graciously carry themselves and dress majestically in all the colours of the rainbow. I’ve never had to do so many double takes!
Your 3 favorite spots?
1) N’gor island. We got there in a canoe filled to the brim and laid our feet in the sand as the sun beat down overhead. Here, Teenagers around us dove from the rocks before returning to their bustling city lives. The colours of bougainvillea plants mingle with the smells of holidays, while the capital is easily within reach.
2) Gorée Island and its small white houses with colourful roofs and shutters. Though they are picturesque, they hide the terrible history of slavery. To this day many French people do not admit our part in this. Historians have shown that the role Gorée island played was minimal compared to other similar locations. However, this place where many heads of states came to meet is a symbol, a place where our past as colonizers is surely felt.
I wrote an article about Gorée two years ago.
3) The Mosque of the Divinity. Its location is unassuming and you have to make a detour from the Corniche. This imposing African Renaissance monument lies just beneath it. We went there during the sunset, when all the fishing boats had returned and the colours were incredible.
Food and drink favourites?
The grilled fish I got a few kilometres from the airport, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The bissap, for the refreshing taste of hibiscus flowers. Mangoes, if you are lucky to be there at the right time (June). I also wrote an article on senegalese food two years ago.
Places to shop?
Soumbédioune market on the Corniche. I found some fine silver jewelry that have now become prized possessions of mine. It’s better to go there with locals or be ready to do some serious haggling for great deals.
Souvenirs to bring back from Senegal?
Hibiscus flowers to make your own home-brewed bissap. I would have brought back local fabrics but I don’t sew. On top of that I don’t think I could pull off those glamorous outfits like senegalese women.
How was it different from your first stay?
I was a little better prepared during my second stay, and I already knew a little about how things work in Dakar. It was less of a culture shock. On both occasions I was always under the wing of locals or drivers so I was never left to fend for myself.
On my first visit, Obama was visiting. The high level of security imposed put a damper on our trip but we still managed to get around. During my second stay, the Paris bombings had just taken place, and there were as many soldiers on the cornice as in France. I was checked 11 times between checking in boarding the plane! I hope my next trip will be calmer and that I’ll get a chance to check out the wilderness. This time around there was not enough time to do so.
How do you choose your destinations?
I didn’t exactly choose to go to Dakar, I had a work meeting there. When I do go on trips for my leisure, I prefer picturesque landscapes and wide open spaces. I love Europe, but I love to discover new cultures and deepen my understanding of all four corner of the world. My destination choices are based on advice, things I read and encounters I have. Over the years, my list of countries to visit has only grown longer!
Your next African destination?
I don’t have one in mind yet but I have heard a lot about South Africa and the Cape peninsula, safaris in Kenya or in the South-East region of the continent. I must admit that all this intrigues me. What I do know for sure is that my next African trip will be centred on wildlife, whether its the penguins of Cape Town or giraffes and zebras in the savanna.
Translation by Sally Vusi. French version HERE