I arrived in Saly around 15:00hrs, disembarking at the fuel station along the main road. The air was dry and cool although the sun was ablaze. It was harmattan season.

To get to Saly, I had boarded a Sept-Place (usually Peugeot station wagons) heading to M’Bour from Dakar and the journey took about two hours. I met with my Senegalese friend, Diallo at La Place des Bougainvillées and a cab got us to the Baobab Belge in about 5mins. Dominique, the Belgian owner of the B&B gave us a warm welcome and Diallo left shortly after.

Saly is a beach resort town and a major tourist hub in Senegal, about 70km east of Dakar, lying on the Petite Côte. It is classified under the M’Bour Department in the Thies Region.

Accommodations on the (beach) Plage de Saly

Compartmented into three areas – Saly Portudal, Saly Niakhniakhal, and Saly Nord – La Place des Bougainvilléesin the Saly Portudal area is the heartbeat of the town. It is where you’ll find the clubs, bars, casinos, restaurants, banks, shops, discos, ATMs, taxi rank, etc. The Baobab Belge was further down along the beach road in Saly Niakhniakhal, about a 5mins drive away.

Dominique manages Baobab Belge with her Senegalese husband, Dudu. She had actually taken time to call me before I left Dakar to confirm my arrival and I was impressed by the fact that she offered to pick me up on arrival. After settling in my room (the Balafon), she made me my first meal in Saly, thieboudienne (rice and fish).

Located on the beach (Plage de Saly), about a two-minute walk from the sea the Baobab Belge is a cute little B&B cottage with about five rooms in a garden-like compound. These rooms of varying sizes are named after local musical instruments and they include: two Koras, one Balafon and one Tam Tam. A two-storey building nestles behind the compound where Dominique stays with her husband, and I learnt there were available rooms there too.

Tam Tam, or Studio Room

There are a couple of raffia shades, hammocks, and a cute little Jacuzzi-like tub in the garden. There’s a sitting area in front of the kitchen, where breakfast is served. The rooms have all the necessary convenience – bathroom with shower and toilet. Each room has a flat screen TV, mosquito nets and fans, as well as air conditioning. Wi-Fi was pretty fast and reliable, and the environment is neat, welcoming and quite relaxing.

Dominique mentioned that she and her husband play with a band most evening at one of the spots at La Place des Bougainvillées, but I never got to go see them before I left. They also organise activities like quad-biking and water sports for guests, and even take people on tours to places like Réserve de Bandia, La Somone, and other interesting places close by.

Staying at the Baobab Belge felt much like home, because I had the keys to the main entrance, so I could stay as late as I wanted.

Conclusion:

The Baobab Belge is safe, secure and economical for budget travel. The environment is neat and the atmosphere is peaceful and quiet. Rooms are comfortable and sleep comfort is good. Breakfast is okay, while other meals are usually served on request. Internet connection is fast and reliable.

*****

Disclaimer: This review is based on the writer’s experience at the property in March 2015.

Niyi David
Author

‘Niyi David is a travel writer/photographer and Editor-in-Chief at More Cream Than Coffee. Previously, he worked at Afro Tourism West Africa Ltd as a travel writer, and was Head of Media and C.O.O. before leaving in May 2018. Prior to that he had worked as scriptwriter on some major media projects in Nigeria, such as 'Peak Talent Show' and the Ford Foundation sponsored 'Stop Impunity in Nigeria' campaign.