The political situation in the Casamance region could be sometimes unstable.
In Goudomp the local people advised me not to go further, separatist where in fighting with the national army and police.
I returned to Velingara and crossed the border, into the Gambia.
In the Niokolo Koba Park there is a nice spot to stay near the Gambia river, called ''Camp de Lion''. We should spend the night there during our stay in the park. I red about it in the travelguide and saw lovely pictures of the place at internet, including VT.
When our guide showed us the place, we were very surprised. It looked like the place was allready abandoned for a long time. The huts were ruined, one was even overgrown with a climbing-plant.
What happened ? The guide told us, that in september -two months before we came there in November 2004- the place was flooded by the Gambia river. The water destroyed everything.
I hope they will rebuild everything very soon. But be prepared, maybe you will not find what you expect and what you red in the travelguides. Anyhow you can put your own tent at this place, if you like, or you can move to the Hotel de Simenti at a distance less than 10 KM from the place.
In 2004 when we visited West Africa, there was the worst invasion of locusts in more than a decade. The locusts, which can eat their own weight n food each day, invaded many of the countries we intended to visit during out transahara trip.
The FAO warned that up to 50 percent of the cereal production might be lost after swarms of locusts devoured their way through the crops. Not only people in the area lost their food. Also the animals like camels, cows, sheep and goats were under threat.
When we visited the area in November most of the swarms had moved to the north into the Sahara desert, far away from the crop growing areas in southern Mauritania, northern Senegal and Mali. Till we reached the Senegalese-Malinese border we didn't see any locust in Senegal.
In Kidira, the Senegalese bordertown we saw the first swarms of locusts. From far they looked like reddish clouds high in the sky. I even didn't recognise them as locust swarms, somebody had to tell me. At short distance the locusts looked like flying shrimps.
Everywhere in West Africa you can find internetcafes. The amount of cybercafes is growing very fast. On our way from Gambia to Mali we visited an internetcafe in Tambacounda.
But be aware, you are not always able to make connection, because the facilities are not always reliable. First there can be no electricity or even worse .... the electricity will go down at the moment just before you want to send your e-mail. Sometimes the server is down for half a day or more.
In Tambacounda we were lucky the internetcafes were open and there was electricity, but we had to wait very long. Internet is very popular in Africa, so almost every boy or girl has a yahoo account. If there are not many computers available, the waiting time can be very long. And be prepared, often the internet can be very slow in this area. Many times I didn't succeed to open my mailbox.
Senegal is a Muslim country and they start to pray at five in the morning.
So when you have to choose your hotel or sleeping facilities, beware where it's situated.
If it's located next to a mosque with a minaret, you'll definitely rise in time.
But when you don't mind, you should also bring a visit.
I never saw locusts in my life before, so I had no clear imagination how they should look like. I was very surprised, when I saw them at the first time in reality. It was at the Senegalese-Malinese border.
The locuts had a bright red-orange colour and their size was about 8 CM. The most locusts we saw were flying in the air, looking like shrimps with wings. Luckily they were high enough, so they didn't fly against our bodies.
Waiting for the borderposts in Kidira ( at the Senegalese side) and Diboli (at the Malinese side) there was a bus beside us. The roof of the bus was covered with locusts instead of the trees and plants around. We didn't know why. Anyway it gave us the chance to have our first close look at these giant insects. You can have also by enlarging the picture.
During the dry season (November through May), the Sahel region of northern Senegal becomes very dry and is subject to strong winds, which are called the harmattan. The harmattan causes dust storms which can severely affect those with breathing problems. In addition, the fine sand blown up by the winds finds its way into the eyes, nose, mouth, clothing, and onto camera and binocular lenses. Large sand storms can lift many tons of sand high into the sky. If blown high enough, the sand can enter the jet stream, which takes it around the world. Sand from the Sahara Desert has been found as far away as Greenland.
The sand storms of the Sahel are due in part to overgrazing by goats and cattle. The animals eat most of the vegetation, which would normally anchor the soil. However, with almost no grass or other herbaceous plants, the harmattan which blows in from the Sahara Desert whips up huge clouds of dirt and sand. This overgrazing, coupled with sand storms, is causing the Sahara Desert to creep farther south every year.
When I was in northern Senegal, there was almost always a yellowish cast in the sky caused by dust in the atmosphere. The dust was so thick that it filtered sunlight to the extent that it was possible to look directly at the sun at sunrise and sunset, even through binoculars. Many of my other pictures in this Senegal page show the brownish or yellowish cast which reflects the dust in the air.
Bilharzia, also called schistosomiasis, is a common disease in Africa, including Senegal. It is caused by parasitic worms called schistosomes which infect bodies of fresh water throughout the tropics. About 200,000,000 to 300,000,000 people worldwide are infected with bilharzia.
The schistosomes grow and develop inside fresh-water snails. Once they reach maturity, they leave the snails and float in water where they can live up to 48 hours. If the schistosomes come into contact with human skin, they enter the body though the skin. They can also enter through the mouth when contaminated water is drunk. The worms must pass between snails and humans to complete their life cycles. Once inside the human body, the parasites lay thousands of eggs, which are generally deposited in the lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, and rarely the brain.
Symptoms of bilharzia include chills, fever, a persistent cough, and blood in the urine which is caused by damage to the kidneys. The disease also causes anemia and a decreased resistance to other diseases. The symptoms are caused by the body's reaction to the schistosomes, rather than by the worms themselves. At this time, there is no cure for bilharzia.
Anyone traveling in the tropics, especially Africa, should avoid swimming, washing, or wading in fresh water in order to avoid bilharzia.
Nile crocodiles are one of three species of crocodiles found in Africa. Their range is throughout tropical Africa south of the Sahara Desert, and they can be found in rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and irrigation ditches.
The Nile crocodile is the second-largest species of crocodile in the world, after the Australian salt water crocodile. They commonly grow up to 16 feet (five meters) in length, and larger specimens have been known to reach 20 feet (six meters). The crocodiles are bulky as well as long, and they commonly attain weights of 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms), and can even get up to 2,465 pounds (1,200 kilograms). Because of their large size, Nile crocodiles can kill animals as large as wildebeasts, zebras, and even humans.
When I went on a boat trip along a reed-lined channel in Djoudj National Park, my group saw a couple of large Nile crocodiles. They are attracted by the park's large pelican colony, where they capture young birds that fall into the water. The crocodile pictured here was estimated to be about nine feet (three meters) long. (By enlarging the picture, it is possible to see the tail of a young crocodile on the right. There was a total of ten little crocodiles that were around their protective mother). We saw another crocodile which was very large, and may have been about 16 feet (five meters) long. Unfortunately, it was mostly hidden within the weeds and I was not able to get a good picture of it.
Keep in mind that Senegal (african) way of life is not european or american way of life. Try to adapt yourself to their customs. I love the african proverb : we have the time, you have the watch.... It explains a lot of the difference between ours and their way of live and I'm convinced they are probably right.....
PLEASE PREPARE! Malaria can sometimes be fatal and at best may make you regret that you survived. Most MalarIa medicines must be taken weeks BEFORE you come here. There are 4 different species of Malaria and humans can get them all from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Illness and death from malaria are largely preventable - if you plan ahead.
While you are here you need to use a repellent spray early in the morning and any periods of darkness, especially at night. The Bartender at my beach hotel had Malaria 3 times before he was 25. Do not take chances!
I would suggest you buy repellent with 100% DEET.
They will neither help nor hinder you.
At every road block they extort bribes from motorists, they are always the big man in small towns.
If you talk to adults they will usually tell you In hushed tones how bitter they feel about the corruption. Children on the other hand seem to spend hours hanging round the police post, they know exactly what they want to be when they grow up.
It often made me angry to see this but you have to remember that even police are part of en economic system that relies on the government and that anyone working for the government will be well paid through corruption or other means but also obliged to provide help to a large extended family of poorer people.
Beware of pickpockets in Dakar, particularly on Ave Pompidou and down near the port and railway station. Don´t carry any small notes or loose change in unbuttoned pockets unless you´re prepared to lose it (as I did!)
The Sine-Saloum estuary is a wonderful breeding ground for mosquitos. Malaria is rampant here, and locals complain about "fatigue" - perhaps related to bouts of malaria?
Take your malaria pills!
If you return home and feel unwell about a week afterwards, go to the doctor's.
africa has a great deal of local african arts, mainly wood carveings. ebeony is the artasin's choice, but poor carftman have tircked tourist into carved items finished in shoe polish instead of stain! also to an unexperinsed buyier just because it hads a dark stain color dosen't mean it's ebeony! here are some tips for buying ebeony carveings: lick or wet your'e fingure on the finish surface of the carveing, if the you get black grease on your'e fingure it's a fake! #2test ebeony dosen't float, it like the only wood that sinks! if thier is shallow water near by try testing it abilly to float. also thier are alot of local thiefs. beware of locals cliaming to be tour guides! i've seen young tourist taken for all thier money just for a walk down the street! tranportion on local buses is safe, but taxi's are wrose than any croke cab driver in manhattan! if your'e hotel has transportion acommadations i strongly recommend useing them instead. don't travel alone, more fun to travel in groups anyway! one good thing about this adventure is now you can say "it's hot as africa out there! I know i've been!" =-p
Boulevard Martin Luther King, Dakar, 1179, Senegal
Good for: Families
Avenue de la mer, Plage des cocotiers - BP 1524, Mbour, BP 1524, Senegal
Good for: Couples
BP 1810, Dakar, Senegal
Good for: Business
More Regions in Senegal