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November 14, 2012 / samwilson60

Finding our feet in Senegal

From the auberge in St Louis, we took it gently and drove a grand total of 20km to the Zebrabar campsite, run by a nice Swiss couple, in the Langue de Barbarie national park. We washed every item of clothing we have, then had a swim to cool off and relaxed over a couple of beers and a lovely dinner.

  

We had been planning to head off through the centre of the country towards the Niokolo-Koba national park but this was a black hole in the guide book and our hosts at the Zebrabar pointed out the complication of crossing the Gambia river after the rains. Plan B had us heading south towards Dakar, poised to turn east as soon as we got the chance. The to-do list included insurance (needed extending within the week) and food/drink shopping (out of biscuits and beer), but we really didn’t want to get too close to Dakar. Saly – a slightly Europeanised stretch of the Petite Cote south of Dakar – came to our rescue. There we found our kind of campsite right on the beach – no frills and no hot water, but lovely staff, comfy hammocks and cold beer.

We found a Carrefour supermarket and Axa car insurance that covers us for three months in every country until Gabon – a success by anyone’s standards, if a little mainstream. Initially we were wary of the insurance pair, as they seemed a little too keen to sell us more than we thought we wanted, but we ended up with precisely what we needed for 100 ceefa less than quoted (to save them the hassle of digging out the change). The lady even ran out after us to return the skanky biro we’d left on her desk.

As we wandered around town trying to decide what else we could achieve while on a roll, we bumped into the cook from the previous night’s campsite. He wanted to check we weren’t getting too much hassle from the locals, all of whom had something to sell. We assured him it was fine, everyone was taking no for an answer, and he came out with the perfect description: “We [or rather they, the salesmen] are a bit like flies, but not like mosquitos.”

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