Dakar, delta and disease (October-November 2013)


Dakar was as expected not to be our favourite African city. Getting on or off the peninsula took ages due to the traffic. We had heard about a restaurant (Sunugal) that allows camping in N’Gor, once a separate village and now one of the northern suburbs of Dakar. The area was a welcome retreat from the noise of the city with a private beach on a little artificial lagoon – a bit like a big bathtub and perfect for cooling down. 🙂

On the first day we walked dressed up in a respectable manner with jeans, enclosed shoes and shirt to the embassy of Ghana. Because of the newish regulation of having to obtain a visa in your home country beforehand we were not successful. No explanations about our situation and the period of time we have been away from Europe already were fruitful so we will have to try in Freetown in Sierra Leone again.

Another day was spent taking the bus to the city centre which took over an hour because of the traffic and stops en route. The famous Place de l’Indépendance could only boast with neglect and hassle. We wanted to visit the market Sandaga to buy some vegetables and fruits but a big fire was still alight and the market hall burned out. People were carrying ruined sewing machines and other destroyed goods out of the smouldering remains. Fabian ended up buying a pair of dark red leather flip flops which were tanned so strongly that they coloured his feet and any clothing they touched for the next weeks. On the way back to N’Gor the bus got stuck in a small road for about half an hour because of parking cars. All in all not really worth the effort.

We were happy to hear that Huw was staying in Dakar for a couple of weeks. We had worked together in Australia for quite a few months about 3,5 years ago and it was great to catch up and have to many drinks together.

Having escaped the city after a few hours in traffic we were heading for the Sine-Saloum-Delta with stops in the pretty coastal villages of Toubab Dialaw and Popenguine before. The beautiful lodge and camping Djidjack was to be our base for the next days with a long deserted beach and plenty of colourful birds in the area. Together with James and Susi, two Brits on their way to South Africa in a Land Rover, we rented a pirogue to explore the mangroves of the delta. We spotted a couple of birds and some monkeys but all in all not too much wildlife. Navigating the mangroves was a nice experience anyway with not a soul in sight.

The following day Fabian came down with heavy diarrhoea, a stiff back and eventually 39° C fever rising steadily. Paracetamol showed no effect so the decision was made to head back north to the town of Mour and the closest hospital with Malaria being not unlikely due to the massive amount of mosquito bites in the past weeks and ineffectiveness of our repellent. The drive was not the most joyful one as Fabian was close to passing out several times and had to rest in the shade of the car. Our Land Cruiser does not have power steering which makes steering the 3ton beast difficult for Jasmine so Fabian is the designated driver. By now Jasmine has more practise though and we are both able to drive in case of an emergency.

Eventually the hospital was found and after an infusion of Paracetamol and having to explain that Fabians red feet were only due to flip flops mentioned before and not a symptom the fever went down half a degree. We were told to head to the laboratory the next day for an analysis. The result did not come until a few days later due to the weekend and luckily it turned out to be only a virus infection but nothing serious. While waiting we spent the days on a camping in Saly with its adjoining beach and friendly locals.

After getting the results nothing could stop us anymore from heading over Kaolack to the border of the Gambia.

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