1) Village des Arts. Dakar the capital city of Senegal has an AMAZING arts scene. The fact that the society values artists is immediately apparent as you see beautiful public displays of art everywhere. I could not get enough of the hand painted public buses found riding around town. Local artisans from the Village des Arts paint the buses and work with local children to make mini toy buses. The colorful creations offer an instant pick-me-up if you are having a bad day. In addition to painters the village houses sculptors who create breathtaking installations using scrap materials. Their ingenuity will blow you away.
They also have very tasty beverages. Be sure to have a cup of bissap, gingembre, and the local coffee (you will be seriously wishing this was on the menu at Starbucks).
3) Ngor Beach and Island. Senegal is blessed with tons of natural beauty. You can see spectacular views while on their beaches. I highly recommend visiting Ngor Beach.
Baby Z had a ball playing in the sand.
After spending time at the beach you can hop a 5 minute boat ride to Ngor Island. This is where you can get a tour, talk with local artisans, watch the sunset, and learn about the celebrities who inhabit the small island.
4) Goree Island. Goree Island is a world site that has lots of historical significance, as it was the largest slave trading post on the west coast of Africa.
The hubs inside of a cell where slaves where held as a form of punishment.
A look out into what's known as the "point of no return", because it was the last place where many slaves saw their family members before being packed into ships to head to various countries.
Baby Z inspecting the point of no return.
5) Lake Retba (aka Pink Lake). We headed out to rural Senegal to visit what is known as the Pink Lake. The atmosphere is beautiful and really something to see.
We made friends with a precious little girl named Umi.
Baby Z was unfortunately ready to unfriend little Umi after dad held our new friend for too long :-(
Dad and Baby Z were brave and rode a camel. I chickened out at the last minute and got down after mounting :-(
Workers do the hard and dangerous job of extracting salt from the lake. This works causes severe skin problems, but many of the workers do it anyways in order to feed their families.
The boats used by fisherman are super cool, just like the buses in the city. In Senegalese culture, fishermen buy a boat to honor their wife. I told the hubs I loved this idea, and he should immediately start boat shopping for me. He agreed to take me to Toys "R"Us when we got back to the States :-(
Well that's all for now. I'll share a second post with more details about Senegal when I get a chance. I hope you enjoyed.
"Oh, the places you'll go." ~Dr. Seuss