On good advice, we decided to take the coastal route south to the tropical Casamance region in southern Senegal.  It was a 14 hour, extremely painless journey; that is quite something in Western Africa!  Cathal and I took couchettes for the overnight trip, which turned out to be very comfortable, even though we were sharing with 10 Sengegalese men! 

x Wilis boat, Dakar to Ziguinchor

Couchettes Accomodation on the boat

We travelled down the coast and then east up the river Casamance, to arrive in the town of Zinguichor.  After a lovely lunch, we took a sept-place car (the same type of Peugeot 504 that took 9 people in Mali!) out to Cap Skirring, a small resort at the coast.  We decided to treat ourselves for a few days, and booked into the lovely Maison Bleu, about 1km out of town, right on the beach.  Bliss!  We have a week to kill here…Nice. 

Pool Pool at Maison Bleu

Staff member Staff at Maison Bleu – Sunset from our hotel

Hibiscus Hibiscus – an example of the beautiful tropical colour

15 Dec

Having enjoyed the depths of luxury for a few days, it was back to backpacker standards in one of the campaments!  Still along the same stretch of beach, still very very nice…One just has to watch out for the numerous locals who are on the beach.  Some genuinely just want a chat, but if others get you in their double handed handshake you are doomed to spend at least 30 minutes in their statue/batik shop ‘for the pleasure of the eyes’. 

Could tehy get away with it in Dublin? Could they make that fashion statement anywhere else?

We managed a small bit of surfing, after a long search for a board that would work at all.  ‘Club Med Point’ proved to be the best spot, unfortuantely on day 2 Cathal got chased off by Club Med Security – we didn’t know anyone could own the surf…!

cows Beach companions at Cap Skirring

Pirogue Trip to Ile de Carabane

We took a  river trip up the Casasmance to visit some villages today, a great last day in the area.  We shared this trip with a French couple called Yann and Marine.   Our guide Albert was great.  After an initial hiccup involving a stolen engine and us avoiding having to fork out for an extra taxi ride (tourists seem to have to pick up the tab for mishaps here), we set off on a very enjoyable day.  We visited two fishing villages, one small isolated one, and one called Elinkine.  The smell of fish was overpowering, especially where they were drying the stuff!  Both villages were very relaxed.

Cathal w kids on Ourou Cathal on Ile Ourou

Ourou island Approaching Elinkine

drying shark Elinkine Dried shark – Jane grimacing at the smell!

The trip also included a visit to Ile de Carabane, one of the former French trading posts, and a slave-holding point.  We travelled back to Cap Skirring in the evening, finishing by a trudge through the mud flats, not pleasant!  We went through the ‘real’ village of Cap Skirring, the pre-tourist one.  You would never know it was there from the main holiday drag.

We enjoyed Saturday night out with the French couple.  One highlight of the night consisted of everyone rushing out of the restaurant to watch the charter plane fly exceedingly low over the village.  A visit to Casa Bambou ended our night – as travellers we were hopelessly underdressed compared to glam locals!  Festivities are generally hotting up for the Tabaski festival, a big date in the Islam calendar, (their equivalent of Christmas) which is happening on 21st December.  Everyone gets new clothes made, and each family must aa sheep for slaughter.  This can prove expensive.  The nightclub even raffled a sheep a couple of days before we were there!

pirogue Jane with Albert, Marine and Yann on the pirogue

Bougainvillea Leaving Casamance – bougainvillea explosion!

4 Responses to “3 Casamance Region 7-15 Dec”

  1. 1 JB and Sonja December 13, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Honeymoon Adventurers,

    Great website, looks like you’re having a fantasic trip(s). Gearing up for Christmas, weather a bit different to yours but we managed to squeeze in a week in Tenerife in early Dec to get a dose of vitamin D. Very little paddling so far this year, due partly to Eva who is now a champion toe chewer – her own that is!

    Have a sunny Christmas – any sign of a native turkey for good eatin’?

    Best wishes

    Sonja and JB

  2. 2 jalal December 15, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Hi Jane, Cathal…

    very very nice journey, and an easy style of writing… very addictive.

    kinda reminds me of Michael Palin travel books… (Sahara!)

    keep it up,


  3. 3 sheenagh and Denis December 17, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Hi Guys,

    Just a quick one, to wish you both a very happy first Christmas! Are you making it back to your famalies for a week or two? It’s all excitement here, the boys are giddy beyond belief and have counted down the sleeps to the big day (not your home coming….the other big day!!). I don’t know if I can keep them in one piece with all the jumping around and skydiving off the top of couches that is going on! Denis had his inaugural sail in his FX1 yesterday, he still had a big grin on his face this morning which is saying something on a Monday. Enjoy your Christmas wherever it will be and keep up the writing, it entertains us on dark cold Monday mornings!!

    Love Sheenagh Denis and Boys xxx

  4. 4 Niamh Hogan December 17, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Great adventure stories Jane and Cathal….hope you guys have a very very happy first christmas together …take care Niamh xx

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