Sandy piste on our way to Dakar. The only thing that improves dragging a loaded bike through sand is being chased by hordes of screaming children.
We took a small detour to the tourist spot Lake Rebta or Lac Rose, a super salty pink lake, where we had a good time floating around (impossible to sink!) while people tried to sell us things.
We reached Dakar, where this tiny bar became our haunt. For Edinburgh people, this place is the equivalent of Burlington Berties!
The statue of the African Renaissance, controversially expensive and strangely communist-style.
Black kites circling over downtown Dakar in the early evening.
Senegalese public transport!
The village of Toubab Dialaw where we had a nice swim after a particularly hot and sweaty day.
Flower strewn steps to Pomeguine beach.
Baobabs at dusk!
We cycled through a strange landscape of baobabs and very tall coconut palms like lampposts.
The largest baobab in Senegal! Not particularly tall, but as thick as a small house at 32m in circumference. It’s apparently 850 years old. An enthusiastic man beckoned us round the side to an improbably small hole and helped Zak climb inside. Dark and cool, with the shrill squeaking of agitated bats clustered in a furry mass on the ceiling and flitting about my head. The floor was thick with bat shit, crawling and heaving with unidentified creepy crawlies.
The road to Palmarin.
A baobab fruit
The inside of a baobab fruit. The seeds are encased in chalky white stuff which tastes a bit lemony.
Nice camp spot near the village of Palmarin.
We’re in mangrove country.
We decided to get a boat across the Saloum delta to Banjul, The Gambia – but first we had to find a boat in the small, bustling fishing village of Djiffer. We bumbled around confusedly for a bit, attracting hoards of snotty faced kids who attached themselves to our legs. Eventualy we found a guy, who in broken Franglish told us that we could, maybe, get a boat to a village across the water and then go direct to Banjul tomorrow. We bought some supplies and hurried to the shore to await our vessel.
A DOUBLE BANANA! Noone else seemed very impressed though
Dawn as we left the pretty fishing village of Dioneware for our terrifying voyage to Banjul.
After a 6am start with the first call to prayer we packed up hurriedly and followed our host through the dark streets. The tide was out. We waited and watched lights in the distance, made a coffee on the stove, and vaguely worried about what was going on. At last it was apparently time and we set off, pushing our loaded bikes into the river mouth bed, still in the dark. Sand turned to mud, mud to deeper mud, until the bikes dug deeply and pushing barefoot in the slippery quagmire was exhausting. Finally we reached firmer sand, and a few other people with luggage and children awaiting the voyage – a relief! Our pirogue lay on its side in the water ahead of us, with the crew bailing water out while the boat slowly righted itself. Sunrise was beautiful as we navigated the shallows. A man back on shore waved, and we waited as he waded across the bay and clambered in with an enormous gas canister. We taxied out of the estuary and the crew hoisted a large, battered sail. Initial enthusiasm wavered as we hit increasingly hairy seas, our low boat tossed about by huge waves thrown up by the meeting of river and sea.
The bikes safely stowed for our voyage.
Finally the sail was furled as we approached Banjul and The Gambia.