Senegal – birds, toubabs and beaches

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Senegal, Saint Louis, fishermen, bridge, river, boats, kids, streets, dirt, junk, beaches, sunset, carraige, sunrise

 

A goodbye to remember from Saint Louis

The magic of being geographically located by the ocean and by the river. Sunset – over the ocean. Sunrise – over the river.

The orange sun greets us and rises quickly. We race through the fishermen sector with a whiff of carrion and head outside St. Louis. We leave the three-faced city life (rich, fishermen and traders) to take dirt roads (in this case red-colored) to a kingdom of birds named Djoudj Sanctuary. After shaking on the red roads and several encounters with smiling wild boars, we arrive at an improvised port.

Senegal, Djoudj, reserve, sanctuary, birds, pelicans, lilies, lake, island

Peacefulness and busyness of Djoudj bird sanctuary

We get on board a boat along with other toubabs (tou bab – a white man, more on that later). We point the cameras to the little islands on the lake, where a variety of bird species are strolling.

Only the trained eye of an ornithologist would realize the impressive variety of flying fauna. We notice the larger species – cormorants and pelicans. And countless water lilies floating on the surface of the lake.

The view that leaves us without words is a colony of dozens of pelicans, caught up in daily activities and sitting closely next to each other. Some rise in formations in the air, others just stand and are beautiful. There is something charming about so many creations of nature, all being at one small space at the same time.

Senegal, Djoudj, reserve, sanctuary, birds, pelicans, lilies, lake, island

Senegal, Djoudj, reserve, sanctuary, birds, pelicans, lilies, lake, island

Looking for “normal” lunch

It’s getting hotter and we decide to head south. Day brings us a long journey from the north of Senegal and down south after Dakar. In many villages, with or without shade, life does not stop.

Let the journey take you to  Kenya – Hello, Maasai Mara

Beautiful Senegalese women with elongated necks and graceful presence carry large baskets, bowls and other goods on their heads. The markets are full of seasonal melons (which are monochrome green), and other gifts of the Earth.

The air conditioning in the car helps us almost not feel how hot it is outside – 38 degrees Celsius. We try to stop at a village for lunch – only Senegalese cuisine. Today, we have restless stomachs (read – light diarrhea) and decide to abstain from fish cuisine. Do not get us wrong – it’s very delicious and fresh, but we are not used to eating fish twice a day. So with every village we pass, we get more and more hope to get to the city where we will eventually have some choice for food.

Eventually we reach a town and get directions to the first “western” place for food. We order basil pasta and we’re happy with this simply but delicious choice.

Nace is even able to talk with the workers in the toilet in pure Bulgarian ( “can I go wash my hands?” and they moved so he can get to the sink). It’s time to proceed to the town of Mbor (Mbour). There the cute ecological Casa Verde is waiting for us – a two-floor African hut with a spiral staircase inside.

Senegal, lunch, pasta, heat, stomach, belly
Simplicity is delicious – basil spaghetti

 

Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

Going south – destination Mbour

From the local language Wolof tou bab means white man. Although you can never know whether it’s used in a positive or negative sense – we are starting to get used to be called like this. Children are the most expressive and often run after us and shout “tubab, tubab” sometimes it evolves to “tubib, tubib.” And yet we don’t know that soon we would start to call each other so. We use it, of course, in a positive sense, playfully. We do not want to discriminate on racial, so we avoid lines like “to eat as tubabs finally”. It’s easy to spot the everyday language racist stereotypes in places where you are a minority.

Let the journey take you to  Bali - many of everything

We’re back to the beach, only this time a lot happens on the beach. Mbor men do many sports, so every three seconds you can see someone running, exercising, or working out in front of your eyes. Any type of strength and endurance training is done on the beach.

Still you can spot some pieces of litter on the sand, but the sport spirit kind of compensates a little. At sunset we hear percussion instruments playing on the beach in groups.

Another typical activity is the wrestling, as the Senegalese love this sport. While we are monitoring the beach sport life, we are monitored by several saleswomen with bracelets and scarfs of every shape and color. Luckily they receive some attention by a group of elderly French men, apparently the language of love is French indeed.

Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees   Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

 Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

 Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees  Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

 Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

 Senegal, Mbour, sport, running, sunbed, sand, smile, drums, palmtrees

 

What would you do if you lived next to the beach? It looks great for sports, relaxations, romance, walks, what else?

 

Stay with us! Tomorrow we continue with Senegalese arts and tranquility…

 

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10 Responses

  1. Love your positive response to the “tou bab” remarks. Darcee and I had similar experiences in India where we were sometimes the only white people in these small poor villages and though they may have been trying to slight us, we took it as a fun jab and laughed it off.
    As for those pelicans, wow, what a beautiful species. We have brown pelicans here in New Orleans and they are beautiful but the beaks of those white pelicans were amazing!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Thank you,Eric! I find this very important to positively respond to things like this. Great you managed to do so in India as well 🙂

  2. Nausheen
    | Reply

    This is fascinating, I’ve never visited a bird sanctuary or even considered it! Love your storytelling approach to writing the post, and craving some of that simple basil spaghetti right about now:) Thanks for sharing!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Thank you, Nausheen! Hope you consider visiting some bird sanctuary now 🙂 And simplicity rocks, right?

  3. fittwotravel
    | Reply

    Great story! Loved seeing all the birds, great photos of them!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Thank you, Nace does his best at photographing those wonderful birds 🙂

  4. Tom
    | Reply

    I’ve never considered visiting a bird sanctuary, but after reading this I may reconsider that! Looks like you had a great time!

  5. eulandas
    | Reply

    We’re planning to visit Senegal within the next year, so your post comes at a great time! Your photos of the bird sanctuary are lovely!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Hey, that’s great news – you’re going to Senegal! Here you can read everything we published on it so far. We’ll be happy to help you if you need any help! Happy travels!

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