Surprising Dakar

Thierno lives in Senegal and presently works in farming and livestock. He is also a technician and an apprentice in industrial maintenance. He is a member of the Global English Classroom 

I live in Senegal and I would like to introduce you to my country, its regions and most important places.

Located on the west coast of Africa, facing the Atlantic, Senegal is a small country with 14 million inhabitants.

We mostly speak “Wolof”, but French is also spoken because the country was colonized by France at the end of the 18th century. Before then, the country was part of the Peulh Empire of Macina, which also included our nearest neighbours; Mali, Guinea, Liberia and Gambia. The empire was civilized and replacing pagan traditions with Islamic rules.

The arrival of the French changed everything. The country gained its independence in early 1960.

Dakar, the capital of Senegal, presents itself in striking contrasts, between modernity and authenticity. It delights those who have the idea to stay longer than a stopover. Its bustling markets, exuberant nightlife, history-laden sites, artisanal villages and, above all, authentic fishing villages, form a surprising kaleidoscope. [/sayit]

Leaving Dakar, you travel on a large baobab lined road to a new territory with beautiful seaside spots nestled in the heart of lagoon landscapes. Excursions of timeless experiences in the wild and traditional Senegal. This territory is called the Small Coast. It reveals magical worlds where tranquillity rivals the beauty of sandy beaches.

Sine Saloum, a UNESCO world heritage site, is an area of undeniable magic. The beautiful landscapes, the fresh air offer complete peace. A group of small islands linger in the heart of a maze of mangroves and lagoons that also invite you to a soothing boat ride.

This unspoiled area, ranked among the most beautiful bays in the world, is a paradise for fishermen and birdwatchers. There are 400 varieties of birds including the largest nesting colony of royal terns in the world and no less than 114 species of fish have found refuge in the mangroves.

The region of Saint Louis seduces history buffs and it often feels like being transported to another era as soon as you cross the Faidherbe bridge. The city preserves important testimonies of its prestigious past and architectural heritage from the colonisation. In this northern area, biodiversity is incomparable. Water and land become entangled, river and sea mingle. And like a huge oasis, the Senegal river delta is the last stop for thousands of migratory birds.

Casamance is the south. The originality of the region is felt not only through cultural diversity but also through its extraordinary natural wealth. Here is the greener part of Senegal where the ocean, river, mangroves, palm groves, rice fields, deep forests and savannah come together. The region quickly bewitches one, accentuated by the majesty of cheesemongers and baobabs that stand as the ramparts of an authentic civilization and a natural heritage that can be discovered by bike, canoe or kayak. For lovers of responsible travel, Casamance also allows discovering the local rural lifestyle while indirectly participating in the development of the villages that you visit.

Nearly 8 hours’ drive from Dakar, you enter a universe of raw beauty, an ideal destination for lovers of adventure and outdoor experiences. Here is the Savannah with waterfalls, greens mountains, dense forests, especially people who live in harmony with nature and a unique opportunity to observe hippos all along the Gambia river. There is also the unspoiled Niokolo Koba park where you can find wild animals by Safari.

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