Senegal – from the Atlantic ocean to Desert de Lompoul

Accuracy is not the greatest virtue of the Senegalese. Or at least these are our impressions so far. Therefore, at the time of departure from the hotel 8.40, we still have breakfast at 8.30 and enjoy the greenery around.

Our guide Ali and our driver Tafa arrive in time – we are beginning to enjoy the accuracy of the tourism sector. We take the deserted streets of Dakar (it’s Sunday).

Travel to Senegal, Dakar, sunrise, buildings, sun

Festive mood, a market here and there and colorful Car Rapids – as always loaded with people and luggage, and with someone snagged back.

Travel to Senegal, Dakar, highway, road trip, toll taxes

We keep on talking with Ali and Tafa about tolls of the nice highway, about what people can afford in Senegal, about learning foreign languages in the tourist market. Our first hour together passes in a constant conversation.

Sunday Chtistian liturgy in Keur Moussa

We are headed to the Keur Moussa for Sunday Christian liturgy. In the woods to the small cathedral a lot of people have gathered together – 90 percent of them women – singing and dancing, ready to begin the service. The speak the official language of the country French, they sing and smile sweetly, they bring chairs for us to not stick out straight. Good Christians.

It seems this place attracted people from far away, there are tents to sleep in, and a big pile of suitcases, backpacks and bags. Lunch is cooked in quantities as for a serious rural fair in Bulgaria, but our plan is to continue further north to the fishing village of Kayar (Kayar).

Senegal, Keur Moussa, church, religion, liturgy, monastery, ceremony, people, singing

Senegal, Keur Moussa, church, religion, liturgy, monastery, ceremony, people, singing

Senegal, Keur Moussa, church, religion, liturgy, monastery, ceremony, tents, camp, accommodation

Senegal, Keur Moussa, church, religion, liturgy, monastery, ceremony, cooking, food, kitchen

Kayar fishing village

The village of Kayar turns out to be a huge center for fishing activities in the area. Hundreds of boats reel in the ocean, some of which remain to fish for days.

Fishing is the main livelihood of the population, and Senegalese fish feed the world. A boat is inserted and ejected from the water by at least 20 young men. Fish is cleaned by women, storage is under the shadow of a moored boat or on top of special devices for sun-drying and salting in preparation for transportation. The fish and sea food leftovers are discarded at sea which brings very unpleasant sight and smell. I do not know whether it is better for the environment, whether big fish eat this. But this is disastrous to the cleanliness of the beach.

In general we can see all processes related to fishing and distribution of fish. That includes worn-out refrigerators that do not even remember that they were once refrigerators. They look like commodes and have the rusty color.

We pass through the sector for repair of boats in the machine where protect its trade secrets and not let us shoot. The “small” village boils business for millions. And once one minister they had let the Chinese to fish. Big mistake – not enough fish in the sea so the locals starved. But how can one feed a billion of mouths, huh?

Transportation and Senegalese traffic patrols

Driving in Senegal is not quite boring. Besides the villages where on Sunday families relax in the shade beside the road, we pass through traffic police. For our first day on the road we are stopped at least three times. Ali and Tafa argued that these were not corrupt, yet our outlandish faces attract attention. Sometimes, however, the police sincerely begged for a thousand bucks to buy breakfast, and they gave them. Just because they asked honestly. Bravo, sincerity over insolence.

Senegal on the road - traffic police

Our lunch today is choux fish, of course, at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It may be in the middle of nowhere, but mosquitoes know it as well as several foreign early afternoon drink lovers.

Senegal, fish, fried, fresh, cooked, lunch, rice, sauce, onion

Then we head further north towards the desert of Lompoul. In the village we leave our Dacia (which comes from Romania all the way to Senegal) to transfer to a 4×4 vehicle. It has no roof and speeds away across the sands towards the eco-village where we will spend the night. First we pass trees, bushes, gardens – planted with cabbage. After the last hill and another spin in the sand we see several tents and sand dunes to infinity. We will spend the night here.

Lompoul, desert, Senegal, sand, dunes, tents, off-road, jeep

Lompoul desert

There is some hidden romance desert life (especially when you are there for one day only). To climb dunes and your legs to disappear in the warm sand, to fall in the bottom more often than normal (because you like that mild stroke and you do it on purpose). The last rays of sun caress your face, your teeth squeak of the sand you have just eaten while doing gymnastics in freedom. We hear percussion in the dark when all the large beetles hide. Kerosene lamps help us find our tent. Dinner is served in metal utensils and we tell stories about which neighbors are friendly and which are not. The romance of the desert. There is something charming about Bedouin life. And do not skip the typical things – the tent has a sheet that divides the bedroom from the bathroom. I have not visited a toilet with carpet and underneath sand for a while.😃
And the smells are spread quickly – the door of the tent does not close, they are designed like this. Just drop the canvas and some night breeze will caress your face. And what is romance if not a silhouette on the toilet, fleeing shadows in sandy towels, stripped girls at kerosene light? Yes, the romance of the desert.

For the first day out of the capital Dakar, we had an intense and enriching program. We became part of a religious service in Keur Moussa, got acquainted with the primary fishing sector in Senegal, and left footsteps in the sand dunes of the desert. On our way we sealed the image of a lazy Sunday, we smiled at road patrols. We ate the local fish delights and mosquitoes greeted us welcome with a few bites.

Lompoul desert romance in the morning

Bedouins wake up and climb barefoot to the “breakfast diner” (last night it was the dinner hall and all the time it’s a tent). After a hearty breakfast (sorry, camels) and before the final use of the tent built-in toilet, we are loaded on three cute camels. A skillful and slightly lazy cameleer is leading them through the dunes.

Going uphill is good for us, downhill – for the camels. Romance is not over as the night passed, it will continue until there is sand in the desert.

Our horses in the steppe are camels in the dunes. After a shaky getting off them, we rest in hammocks before our final 5-kilometer drive to the “civilization.”

Senegal, Lompoul desert, traveling, selfie, bedouins, camel, ride
Senegal, Lompoul desert, traveling, selfie, bedouins, camel, ride
Senegal, Lompoul desert, traveling, selfie, bedouins, camel, ride
Senegal from ocean to desert Pinterest
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10 Responses

  1. Sam and Veren

    Very interesting! Especially to see your observations about the fishing influence on the village. Sounds like a magical adventure, haha the romance of the desert! We’ve never been to Africa, but we live closer now that we are in Spain. Maybe in the future!

    • Thank you guys! It is magical indeed. If you decide to go, do not hesitate to contact us for more questions or simply share your story with us 😉

  2. Shane Prather

    I think it’s so neat you can go from the ocean and a fishing village to the desert so nearby. Looks like a rich and diverse destination I can’t wait to one day visit!

  3. Great post! Thank’s guys for sharing them 🙂 Seems like you had a really good time there!

  4. thesanetravel

    It’s the first time I read a post about traveling Senegal. It must a very special country to visit. It seems you have had very diverse experiences. Thanks for beautiful pictures.

    • Thank you! It is very special one and it should be visited if you want to feel the real experience.

  5. Love your recap and the photos — especially of the food! Sounds like an amazing trip