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Photo by Elke Schmidt, Senegal Bridge Year Program.

Sketches of Senegal: A Tentative Itinerary

Salaam aleykum!

Without further ado, we would like to share our “Tentative Itinerary” with you. The “Tentative” label is a cornerstone of our philosophy and reflects how flexible, adaptable, and alive an adventure with Dragons can be. Please note that dates and places are subject to change based on our own needs and wants, as well as some of the unique things that arise in the landscape of Senegal (such as but not limited to: weddings, funerals, naming ceremonies, political protests in light of Senegal’s upcoming presidential elections, and unexpected music concerts).

February 15: Arrival at the airport, check-in to our hotel in Thies, getting settled, oriented, and rest-in

February 16: Orientation in Thies (our first “official” day together). We will spend the day learning the basics of Senegalese culture, practicing our new language skills, meeting new friends, and doing some low-key exploration of the town of Thies (pronounced “chess”).

February 17: Thies– we will continue to get oriented to Senegal and dive into what Thies has to offer. Possibilities include a visit to the local market, spending time in a “daystay” with a Senegalese family, lessons in art, music, or dance, and a visit to the US Peace Corps Center.

February 18: Travel to Djifer. We will drive about 4 hours south along the coast to the seaside town of Djifer in the beautiful Sine-Saloum Delta area of Senegal. Upon arrival we will have a chance to observe Senegal’s famously diverse bird population and enjoy the waterfront and enjoy historical and cultural sessions from the instructors as we prepare you for your time in homestays in the island community of Niodior.

February 19-22: Homestays in Niodior. We take an hour-long boat ride to the island community of Niodior, where each of you will be placed with a local homestay family where you will spend the next 4  nights. Opportunities abound in Niodior to learn about local cooking, bread-making, and fishing, as well as the activities of the local women’s cooperative and school. You can pursue your individual interests with help from our hosts, including: music lessons, meeting with local artists, learning to fish, Senegalese cooking and tea-making, exploring the natural beauty of the island, learning about local farming activities, meeting with a local micro-lender, hearing about transnational migration to Spain/Morocco, and getting a introduction to Senegalese wrestling (the national sport, which Niodior is famous for).

February 23: Travel to Dakar with an optional day or overnight stop in Joal-Fadiouth, a community home to a large portion of Senegal’s Catholic minority where Muslims and Christians live in harmony as neighbors.

February 24-25: Dakar. We will spend the next two nights exploring the best of what Senegal’s coastal capital has to offer. Possibilities are vast! Visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ile de Gorée, to learn about the disturbing history of the slave trade. Go to the Monument of the African Renaissance and the Lighthouse of Mamelles. Visit the newly opened Museum of Black Civilizations. Shop for fabric and other souvenirs in Dakar’s many bustling open-air markets. Get a taste of Dakar night-life as we check out the restaurant and music scene in this cosmopolitan capital.

February 26-27: Toubab Diallaw. We will wrap up our time together in an artist enclave overlooking some seaside cliffs south of Dakar. Here, in this beautiful natural environment, we will have the chance to reflect on our time in Senegal, enjoy the beautiful beaches, and think about the implications of our time together for our lives at home.

February 28: Airport Day– people will be catching flights in the evening. We will enjoy a final day in Toubab Diallaw and then all head to the airport together at night to see you off on your journeys home.

 

Until soon,

Your Instructors (Samba & Jenny)

 

Mangrove forest at sunset, Niodior, Senegal

View of Dakar from the Phare de Mamelles Senegal