ENTRY INTO SENEGAL FROM THE GAMBIA
Fathala game reserve, where we were heading, is situated not far over The Gambia/Senegal border.
I had gone there on a day trip from The Gambia with Arch-tours.
Entry into Senegal, through the border town of Karang, was quite quick.
Although I was reported by a passer-by for taking photos of the border control building. An official came and checked my camera and was satisfied that I had taken a photo of a donkey and cart on the opposite side of the road, not the Border building.
We had filled in three forms before getting to the border, so we didn’t have to get out of the jeeps at the border.
We had to take our passports, but Arch-Tours, a Gambian based tour operator, had an arrangement with border control, so we didn’t need visa’s to enter Senegal. The guides took our passports and the filled in forms to the control office and after about 10 minutes we were on our way.
in many street restaurants when going out with friends or when you are invited by some Senegalese people to share a meal you might miss dishes. Traditionally everyone shares the food from the same bowl or big plate. Sharing the bowl does not mean there is no decorum, though: It would be regarded improper to reach over to the spots closer to your dining fellows. Everyone is supposed to dig into the food just in front of them
rice is the traditional staple food in Senegal, and riz Wolof a meal you will find everywhere in different variations. A simple version might be just rice with some tomato sauce on it, the posher version is with meat or fish, or an array of meat and veggies topping the rice with some spicy sauce. it is found in simple street restaurants as well as in hotels, so you should try it at least once during your stay in Senegal
The people who live in northern Senegal belong to the Wolof tribe. Most of the Wolof still live traditional lifestyles and rely on goat herding to make a living, although others also herd cattle. The meat and milk of the goats form a staple in the diet of the Wolof, and the goat skins are also put to various uses.
When a male baby is born, he is presented with a pair of goats to get him started in life. By the time he is old enough to take care of the goats, his flock has increased, and by the time he is ready to marry, he is usually wealthy by Wolof standards due to the large size of his herd.
In the Sahel region of northern Senegal, it is a common sight to see small boys tending to their goat herds. Since the goats rely on meager forage in this dry region, these boys and their herds can roam miles from their villages, and even spend nights out in the bush.
Every morning along the coast of Senegal, fishermen take to the sea in pirogues, long boats that are usually 33 to 49 feet (ten to 15 meters) long. In the afternoon, they sell their catch at beach markets.
The base of each pirogue is made from silk-cotton wood, which is soft and spongy. The wood is left outside for about eight months to weather in the elements. After the wood is properly seasoned, it can be easily shaped to form the floor. The sides of the pirogue are made from long planks of a harder type of wood. The seams are then coated with tar for waterproofing. Most pirogues are painted in bright colors and make for great photographic opportunities.
Since pirogues cost around $17,000 to make, they are beyond the means of most fishermen. Many are owned by businessmen who lease the boats to the fishermen.
Gouloumbou, monkey in the garden
In front of the entrance of the restaurant at the Auberge in Gouloumbou I saw this nice monkey. It was not the first auberge or campement I saw, where they have a monkey as domestic pet. Mostly the monkeys are tied with a long rope, so they can walk around a bit.
This one looked rather healthy and nice, but be careful they can be sometimes also very naughty or even aggressive, which I experieced at another auberge, where kids, or maybe also adults, provoked the poor animal.
Round huts with thatched roofs in Dar Salam
At the Dar Salam entrance of the Niokolo Koba Park we had to wait some time for the paying of the entrance fee and arranging our guide.
Beside the road, leading into the park, are some traditional Senegalese round huts with nicily thatched roofs. I liked the possibility to have a closer look at it, because I'm always interested in traditional building methods.
But when the kids in the village found out, that our cars were standing in front of the parkgate, they run towards us and our cars. So the quietness was over. Some of the kids were really shy and cute, but others very bold.
Tambacounda, furniture workshop
Around the corner, only a 100 M from the welding workshop, we also were sitting a long time, waiting for our turn at the cybercafe. I was allready used to the fact, that in Africa you have to wait a lot for almost everything. Take it as an advantage.
I was never disappointed for all the waiting, because when you sit down somewhere in the shade at the sidewalks in any town, there is so much to see. I think I can sit there for hours or more.
Opposite the cybercafe was a furniture workshop, also in the open air just beside the road. So you can see the furniture makers at work, but also the results of their work. Look at that fancy decorated bedstead, handmade in Tambacounda.
Tambacounda, local transport
Waiting at the welding workshop till our car would be repaired, it was nice not only to look at the streetstalls and little shops, but also at all the people and all means of transportation passing by.
There were many horse carts, used by younger as well older people, like these three, nicily dressed old men. With so many horses in town I got the idea, that the containers made by the innertubes, maybe could be used for the horses to give them water or food.Related to:
- Road Trip
While we were sitting in the shade at the welding workshop in Tambacounda, we had a nice look at the streetlife and could see what was going on in the street.
Oppsite the workshop there was a interesting streetstall with all kind of plastic containers in different colours. But the most peculiar containers were the ones, made of black innertubes. They looked funny hanging at the roofrim. I have no idea for what they will be used, but I'm always surprised about the creativity of the African people, especially, how they recycle and re-use materials.
Tambacounda, welding workshop
In Tambacounda we had to look for a welding workshop to repair the imperial of the Mitsubishi Pajero and the shock absorber of the Toyota Landcruiser before we should start our deserttrip.
At a side-road of the mainroad into Tambacounda , coming from the Niokolo Koba Park we found a welding workshop. It was very easy to find it, because the workshops in Africa are usually just along the roadside in the open air.
The people of the workshop were very friendly and immediately started to fix it. They did an excellent job. We continued without these problems anymore, allthough other problems did occur later during our trip.Related to:
- Road Trip
Characteristic fences of wood
On our way back from the area north of the Casamanca to the Gambia we took a dirt track and passed a lot of small villages. Along this road we saw a lot of fences around the compounds and the small agricultural fields, to keep the wild animals and cattle out or in.
As a landscape-architect, I'm always interested in fences all over the world. I admire these fences, made of wooden sticks with their irregular forms. They are very characterestic for this part of Africa.
Tea drinking is a national sport over there, they will invite you to come along and drink with them.
In the beginning it’s interesting, but after a few weeks you’ll change your opinion.
Enough is enough. I drank tea enough for the rest of my life.
There are lots and lots of beggars in Senegal, and perhaps the most bothersome part is that parents encourage their children to beg when they see a visitor.
It starts fairly innocently asking for a "cadeux", but can actually turn nasty.
As a nuisance it doesn't beat the touts and shopkeepers in Dakar, though...Related to:
- Road Trip
In a muslim country, you must expect for their religious ceremonies to be carried out no matter what.
So, if you're taking a long trip in a «rent-a-taxi», you should be patient and allow your driver to make his prayers on his carpet facing Meca.
They will do it, despite being in the middle of the desert under 45'C or in the middle of city traffic...Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
- Religious Travel
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