We (Cor and Grietje van NoFear Travel), travel with our Toyota Hilux 4×4 camper by Africa. The African continent is the Mecca for 'overlanding' with many challenging routes and beautiful destinations. The first African country we visited during our trip to South Africa is Morocco, followed by Mauritania en Senegal. Because we Gambia en Mali also visited, the route technically turned out so that we are now in part 2 reporting from southern Senegal, The Casamance. Of course you can also start watching the video again!
Remark: Unfortunately, the sound with Toto's music in the video has been blocked by YouTube. So a different, royalty-free number has been added so that the video can still be viewed.
Table of contents
The border crossing
We crossed the border Mali about bee Mussala (Location here ) and came south-east Senegal back in. The procedure at the border went fairly smoothly. Two officials tried to ask for some more money for stamps, but after some light counterpoise they let go of their question.
Mali was very bad in terms of through roads, so we hoped for better roads in this part of Senegal. That was quite disappointing. Yes, sometimes you could drive a few hundred meters without potholes. But if you gave it a little gas, you were soon punished again with deep holes in the asphalt that cannot be missed. Fortunately, a few hundred kilometers deeper into the country, things got considerably better.
In this part we actually only spent the night in the wild. Often we had two choices: either safe in or near a village with the protection of the population, or in “the middle of nowhere”, where hopefully no one will come.
Once when we were isolated, about 50 meters from a dirt road, it turned out to be less lonely than expected. Yes, when we arrived at 18.00 pm it was quiet, but the next day sand cars and mopeds drove back and forth. When they saw us, they honked and waved loudly. Nice, but after half a day you are done with it.
There is no lack of friendliness, as someone spontaneously came by in the afternoon with water and peanuts. The next day, just before we want to leave, we shout again… Bonjour, ca va? A man in a long robe came around the corner of the camper and showed some kind of medal. We understand it's the mayor. He asked why we are here.
We tried to explain in our best French that we spent the night here and are about to leave. At the same time, more and more people arrived. At one point there were about eleven. One spoke a little English. He explained that the mayor would have wanted us to ask permission.
The party grew even bigger when two summoned agents appeared. One looked terribly angry and asked for passports. He leafed through it for fifteen minutes to come to the conclusion that we are completely legal in Senegal.
A few more calls back and forth and then the town clerk appeared. After more deliberation he told us that we have to sign a document stating that we are responsible for the way we leave the place. Some paper was collected and the secretary began to write an epistle.
We signed the document, thanked them for their hospitality and said goodbye to the now 16 people, including the mayor, two gendarmes and the town clerk.
Continue to Kolda
We cleaned up and continued our journey via a 100 kilometer off road track to on the arm (Location here ). We did some shopping here. Further west we found a spot on the Casamance River near a village. The village children and the elderly found us very interesting again.
They were with a large group and watched us set up the camper, unfold the table and chairs and later go for a swim. Some had wide eyes and stood for minutes with their mouths open, dazedly looking at us and the camper. Finally, when it was well past 19.00 pm, they went to their round mud houses to eat and sleep. Then we could also enjoy the peace….
Further west is the capital of the south and the Casamance: Zinguin Chor (Location here ). Here we spent the night at a campsite, we arranged the visa for it Guinea-Bissau and we did laundry.
You could clearly notice that it is more humid and warmer here. In the morning around 5 o'clock – when the temperature has reached its lowest point of the day, about 23 degrees – water drops splashed on our camper roof. The humidity was so high that the palm leaves above us regularly released drops.
The town itself looks more like a large village, but we were able to buy some things that were not available elsewhere in the countryside.
Point Saint George
In a remote spot on the south side of the Casamance, we found a village named Point Saint George (Location here ). A village where traditions are honored with dance and music. It is also a village where some Western tourists are staying in the two accommodations. They come to spot manatees, a mammal found only in the warm waters of tropical regions. Unfortunately we did not see them, we owe that.
The last few months we had done little sporty things, so it was time for a brisk walk again. In this part of Africa there are few marked routes and hiking trails… Nevertheless, we found a mountain bike route of about 18 kilometers and we decided to walk it.
We walked Oussauye (Location here ) and later into a forest with many different trees, a real tropical forest with palm, cashew, and mango trees and termite mounds. Then we walked through a small settlement where we saw many huge thick trees.
Villages and harvests
On the one hand, the villages here are a bit more modern, at least the houses. These are angular, built of stone, fairly large and roofs of zinc plates. But otherwise life is a bit less modern. For example, no one has a car and water is drawn from the well. There is a lot of dirt in the roadsides and the yards around the houses are made of sand.
After this we arrived in a lower area, where rice is grown. Women and children were busy with the harvest. They enjoyed showing off their technique. Harvesting is a very labour-intensive job.
We continued and after passing a few more villages, we gradually got tired and were glad that there was another terrace just before the end of the tour. That is quite exceptional here. We rested and drank for a while. The walk confirmed to us once again that you perceive the environment much better when you walk. We have put the walk on Wikiloc (click here ).
On the supply route to Cap Skiring (Location here ) it became increasingly clear to us. The amount of white people we encountered showed that we were on our way to a tourist area. And indeed, there are bars, restaurants and hotels here.
We found a spot on a stretch of beach where it was quiet. The only access is via the beach when the tide is low. We stood on a concrete slab, under tall palm trees, on what was once the terrace of a hotel bar.
It is part of a large abandoned complex. A shame… Later we hear that the Italian owner could not agree with the government. With a fantastic view over the Atlantic Ocean, it was wonderfully quiet here.
From our camping spot it was about a 4 kilometer walk on the beach to the village. A nice walk along the coastline. Unfortunately, the beach was littered with thousands of dead fish. A local told us that fishermen dump their bycatch at sea and that eventually ends up on the beach. The many vultures that fly around here have a nice meal.
Just before the village we passed the hotel complex of the French Club Med. The sunbeds on the guarded part were full of older whites and it was neatly raked in between. Via the fishermen's beach, which is pretty similar to what we saw in Nouakchott, Gambia en Dakar Rally, we entered the village.
It is a lively place, there are many shops and sales kiosks and it has a pleasant atmosphere. Unlike the rest of Senegal, we saw many Western restaurants and cafes here. You can also rent bicycles, mopeds and quads.
Cap Skirring is a tourist attraction, yet the traditional atmosphere is reasonably well preserved.
We left Senegal after this. The country is clearly more modern and progressive than Mauritania en Mali. We enjoyed the different people and their lifestyles. But it was time for a new adventure and so we went to Guinea-Bissau. You can read more about that in our next blog.