We wake up in our eco Casa Verde nearby the beach. The beach that is usually full of Senegalese men from Mbour working out…
Nearby the Bandia reserve is located. Most animals in it are immigrants from South Africa. What matters is that they live well, nibbling at ease and being safe from any predators. We are in a jeep, moving through the alleys and through the bushes and trees of the park. Very closely we can enjoy the colorful birds, buffaloes, antelopes (local and foreign), impalas, monkeys, zebras and giraffes. Hidden from us remain only the rhinos.
Most of the animals not being native only raises thoughts in us. Once the majority of them had the right conditions to live in these areas. Not now. Yet someone has taken care to collect interesting species from Africa and to protect them in this reserve. One would have thought that this is not a real safari.
However, we loved meeting in person and very closely those cute animals. Observing their daily lives seems like a very real experience. We are filled with enthusiasm from their way of life and the sense of universal peace and happiness all around. Before departure we pass through lazy hyena and two turtles that make “gulu-gulu.” Crocodiles just starting their easy fight for lunch (fish is thrown to them) say goodbye to us.
The tranquility of the reserve is transferred to the tranquility of the beach Saly, a.k.a the tourist part of Mbour. We are crawling around some quite clean sand full of lounges and private guarded hotels and villas. We sit down to have a bite at the restaurant Obama Beach, coincidentally it is the very same day when Donald Trump was named as president-elect of the United States. Funny coincidence because this complex belongs to a local man, so Ali brought us here to stimulate local economy.
Entering a very big baobab
In the afternoon on our way to Joal Fadouth – the Shell Island, we pass a particularly large baobab. Baobabs are characteristic of Senegal and in whichever season you look at them they always deliver enjoyment and a sense of Africa. The fruits of Baobab (also called Monkey fruits) are utilized best to produce the buoy juice or other therapeutic fluids. The juice of buoy and that of bissap (similar to hibiscus plant), our soft local favorites. Later during the day we add another drink – unhealthy fizzy drink with pineapple flavor – the Pineapple Gazelle. Do not forget a digestive after every meal – black and green shot of tea with lots of sugar.
Let’s go back to the big baobab – so big that you can go inside. Young men are always there to help you get through the narrow hole. In return – you just have to stop by to see their stalls. You can see about 20-something young salesmen doing nothing around the baobab. A group of children surrounds you and perhaps the inside of the tree with its all bat residents remains the most tranquil place.
The Shell Island
The Shell Island is formed by those who have lived there through the hundreds of years. Even today there you can find the most delicious crabs, and shells continue to be accumulate and maintain the artificial island afloat. Two bridges connect the mainland with the cemetery and island village with a population of 600 people. By a wooden boat you can sail along the mangroves and hear the complete silence. The cemetery is shared by Muslims and Christians and all is made of shells. In general, wherever you go, no matter how rummaged – shells, crushed shells and mussels you will find.
In the village we observe different manifestations of religious artifacts, souvenir stalls, running through the narrow streets children. I will remember those black domestic pigs that live happily over there, tapping the creaking mussels. At sunset we walk back across the bridge to meet all students returning to the village – good to see so many intelligent faces. We wonder where all these people fit on this small shell island, barely erected over the water. But the physical space is not everything – it is more important how broad and free your soul is.
Night crawling the streets of Saly
In the evening we decide to go for a walk. Saly is a resort, and the streets are full of potential friends who want to do business with us. They offer excursions, tours, coupons, liturgies, to write emails, to meet and walk. Difficult to turn down so many offers and continue in the dark. Many of these proposals may sound strange or rude, perhaps their English needs improvement. They assure us that they are very friendly and they mean us no harm. Well, if you have to explain to someone that you are well-intentioned, that already means you’re failing at this. Our walk in the dark does not end in a bar or a disco, but in a fabrics shop. We can’t find a design we like for our new pants. Hopefully we’ll get lucky elsewhere. For example, in the markets of Dakar.
It was an active outdoors day today! Let’s find out if tomorrow we’ll be more able to chill and relax…