Highlights of the Sahel Adventure include overnight stays at the charming Ocean and Savane Lodge, visits to the Djoudj Park or the Langue de Barbarie National Park, a barbeque on the banks of the Senegal River, a horse-drawn carriage ride through Saint-Louis and a visit to Thiès.
Arrive in Senegal – Dakar
On arrival in Senegal you will transfer to your Dakar hotel (Lodge de Almadies or similar).
Dakar – Thiès – River Senegal - Gandiol
We will depart Dakar after breakfast and head for Saint-Louis by road.
The first stop is at Thiès; we will go through this spacious city with its shady streets in which there is the central market. Many buildings of the colonial era indicate the former importance of this "city of rail". We will also make a stop at the basketry market.
Taking the road to Louga, we then arrive at the ancient mouth of the Senegal River, where the Langue de Barbarie has re-joined the mainland following the creation of an artificial river mouth south of Saint Louis. In this wild, natural place you can bathe and relax and enjoy a picnic in the shade of the palm trees on the sand dunes on the banks of the river. A barbeque of fresh prawns is prepared for us on the beach under the shade of palm trees, whilst we take time to fully appreciate the wild beauty of the area. We can then swim in the newly formed lagoon and observe the numerous birds.
We can then take a walk along the cart tracks by the side of the river shaded by the palm trees. We will meet there fishermen, farmers and villagers who are getting about by cart. We will take our vehicle to cross the Gandiol region and the region of Niayes, little oases of vegetation fed by wells in the middle of the dunes.
Upon arrival at the Ocean and Savane Lodge, located on the banks of the river Senegal, you will discover an exceptional site offering a view that embraces the crystal waters of the river, the Langue de Barbarie on the opposite shore and the ocean on the horizon. You will stay in a ‘safari tent’ mounted on a terrace on stilts with beautiful comfortable beds and a private bathroom.
You can enjoy some time at the end of the afternoon in the peace and beauty of this place, sampling the infinity pool overlooking the river or a walk on foot under the setting sun.
Dinner, with local specialities, will be served in the restaurant whilst enjoying a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. You can prolong the evening on one of the numerous terraces enjoying the ‘three Senegalese teas’.
Djoudj Park (or Langue de Barbarie) – Saint-Louis
We set off early for the Djoudj National Park, the third largest ornithological bird reserve in the world. A Unesco World Heritage site, the park is home to more than 3 million birds. We will explore this exceptional sanctuary by pirogue. From November to April, endemic birds and migratory birds come together to nest: pink flamingos, tundra ducks, herons, ibis, ospreys, cormorants and serpent birds. But the most astonishing is the spectacle put on the by the pelicans as they fish or perform their aerial ballet. There are also several types of reptiles: lizards, pythons and crocodiles; and many mammals: jackals, monkeys, hyenas and warthogs.
NB: From May to October, we will explore by pirogue the National Park of the Langue de Barbarie, taking in the island of birds.
We return to Saint Louis for lunch in a very beautiful restaurant at the heart of the island.
We will take a tour of the island of Saint Louis by calèche, a horse-drawn carriage, with our Saint Louisien guide who will share with us his incredible historical knowledge. As a port of call for European vessels of the slave trade, the first capital of French West Africa, a stopover for the air postal service operated by Jean Mermoz, the island retains important evidence of its prestigious past: La Governance, Faidherbe Square and its two barracks, the Cathedral.... We will then extend our visit in the fishing quarter and finish with refreshments in the Hôtel de la Poste, which was also involved in the history of the air postal service.
We can stroll leisurely in the streets or purchase a few souvenirs in some good shops before retiring to our charming lodge. We return there at the end of the day in order to take in one last time this wonderful natural site.
We then enjoy dinner and a night rocked to sleep by the waves of the ocean.
Free morning / Dakar
The morning is free; you can take the shuttle bus to go to the Langue de Barbarie on the opposite side of the water and enjoy a swim or a walk on this beach by the wild ocean. Other activities are available: water sports, a bush walk, quad bikes…
After lunch, we will take the road back to Dakar to the airport or to your next hotel.
THAT THE ITINERARY MAY VARY SLIGHTLY DEPENDING ON WEATHER, TIME OF YEAR ETC.