Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2018 Grand World Voyage, Day 103, Dakar, Senegal (Part 1 of 3)

A cool foggy sail-in to Dakar but it was a beautiful day when the sun burned off the fog. Ann, Cathy and I got off the ship and were picked up by our Guide Amath from African Connection Tours (ACT) Senegal. We did a brief tour of downtown Dakar... passing the Town Hall, the railway station, and the modern business district. Our only stop in the city proper was visit to the Kermel ideal spot for taking the way, this market has been in operation for over 250 years. Next, we made our way to the waterfront ferry terminal to travel to Ile de Gorée....It was a short ferry ride from the Senegalese capital over to the island. There are no cars on the island, so we set out on a walking tour to trace the history that kidnapped 40 million human beings from the shores of Africa. Gorée became the first, and for a time, the most important slave depot in West Africa. Today, Ile de Gorée is listed as an Historic Monument and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We toured the Slave House built in 1777 with its cells and shackles and whose dark history comprises an integral part in the story of the slave trade. We climbed up to the fortress to see underground passages, vast trenches and gun turrets all built to secure the slave trade. With such a solemn past, today, Ile de Gorée is a charming and lively town with nearly 900 residents, brimming with cafés, art galleries and a beach. On our return to Dakar, we headed to Pink Lake. Driving in the suburbs outside Dakar, we saw the stark contrast of upscale homes just a stone's throw from poor residential areas. Travelling about 45 minutes to reach Lake Retba, famous for its unusual pink water...the water was not pink today! The lake has a very high level of saline...Workers crush the thick crust of salt that lies on the lake-bed and gather the salt to sell off shore. Sand dunes, a baobab forest and traditional villages with thatch-roofed huts line the shores of the lake...We crossed over sand dunes and stopped at the site of the final stage international car race of the Paris - Dakar Rally and along the beach during our drive around the lake. We had a brief stop at the Fulani Nomadic Village. On our drive back to the ship, we stopped downtown for shopping and a huge market was set up at the pier. Today, was a great day and I was very thrilled with my first visit to Senegal.

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