The trip down from lovely St. Louis was kinda bitter sweet. The sept-place (7 place ) taxi was an old beat up Renault 5 kitted out for seven….dwarfs! It was uncomfortable at the very best. What made it bearable was the numerous Baobab forests along the route. I’ve never seen such beautiful trees and arranged by, what seemed like, a giant. For those who don’t know Baobabs are, for me, distinctly “African” trees that epitomise all that is old and beautiful about this great continent. click here.

We arrived later than scheduled into Dakar and its traffic. Made it to a hotel and opted to find an eatery nearby. I discovered “yassa poulet”, a kinda spicy sautéd onion goop with chicken….don’t knock it till you’ve tried it folks! That night wandering home three fellas selling their wares decided to grab hold of me pants and refused to let go. A quick thump on his chiseled hands made him release. Meanwhile the two others had surrounded Molly. A not so good situation that could of gone wrong very quickly. The incident put me off kilter (especially keeping in mind that Dakar is famed for its street crime) and we resolved to finding accommodation on Ile de Goree. Goree being and island 3km off the coast of Dakar.

It was like a breath of fresh air. The island being only 900m long and 300m wide. There are no cars, sand streets, extremely friendly people ( alright Paco and Salif ) and adequate accommodation. The island was the administrative point for the West African slave trade starting from the 1700’s onwards until its abolition. Dutch, French, English and Portugese all had a go and all have contributed to its architecture. In some ways there is an erie feel to the island knowing that many people passed through it bound for America. Often the last of Arica they saw was the inside of a small cell and a forboding wooden door (in between the stairs ) leading to a ship.

Maison de Esclaves

Maison de Esclaves

With African Fish Eagles perched upon everything, swooping down to pick a fish from right in front of us, and waking us up in the morn with their cry, I loved the place.

African Fish Eagle

African Fish Eagle

The Inhumanity of Slavery Monument

The Inhumanity of Slavery Monument

We decided to stay for four nights as the Mali and Gambia visas had to be applied for. My kilter now mended were turned to Dakar for the onward journey to Palmarin and then on to The Gambia.

muni

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