Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Around the World: Dakar, Senegal (Part 1)

Hello, from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean! Our family was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to Senegal. I'm always taking virtual vacations via Youtube and blogs so I thought I'd return the favor and take you on a trip to Senegal. Here are a few things I recommend doing while visiting.

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.

2) Try the Local Cuisine. Sengalese food is delicious, in fact, I'm missing it already :-( As a coastal country they eat lots of fish, especially thioff (pronounced choff). The hubs and I could not get enough of it, and had it many times. Our favorite fish dish was poisson yassa. It comes with a wonderful onion sauce that is finger lickin' good.

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.

 Throughout the island you'll see lovely mosaics made with recycled glass by local children.

 There's also a nice hotel filled with local art for purchase.

Before leaving the island be sure to stop by and see this man, he offers the finest meal in Senegal, and right on the beach no less.

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 :-(

Baby Z shopping for jewelry with a local artisan.

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


  1. Zoe looks so big now, it looks like she had a great time.

    1. Yes, she is steadily growing. She really enjoyed herself. It was great to watch.