The next morning, we checked out of Ngalawa Hotel & Resort and were driven to Double Tree by Hilton, Stone Town for a networking session. We had lunch afterwards before embarking on a journey to another part of the island where we were to spend some time.
On the way, we stopped for the spice tour, after which we were split into specific buses going to the specific hotels we were allotted. I was on the bus to Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa with quite a few of my friends.
We arrived Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa just before 19:00hrs and were welcome with glasses of refreshing fruit juice. We were checked in and after freshening up we went to the restaurant for dinner. We stayed back chatting for a bit.
In the meantime, a local troupe provided entertainment with some dance and acrobatic displays. Some of us joined in the fun before returning to our rooms for a good night rest.
It was Thursday and time to bid Saly farewell and head up north. Saint Louis, the former capital of Senegal was calling. I called Mamadou* and by the time I had checked out of my room, while settling down to the quick brekkie which Dominique had fixed for me, Mamadou showed up. With breakfast over, and we were on our way to Réserve de Bandia – an impromptu decision I made that morning after we couldn’t access it the previous day. Thankfully, it was a wise decision.
By midday, we were done and Mamadou dropped me off at la gare routière where I boarded a sept-place to Saint-Louis, via Thies. Saly had been so wonderful and I felt a tinge of sadness as I left. I sat next to a beautiful Senegalese, but we couldn’t say much because she didn’t speak much English. She had a lovely smile and seemed eager to help me. I remember when I needed to get airtime and she had to patiently wait to understand what I wanted through gestures and then explain to the vendor.
We were in Thies in about two hours and I felt sad to see her alight from the vehicle. Anyway, we moved on and didn’t get to Saint Louis until it was past 16:00hrs. I had called Diallo after buying airtime to ask if he had a contact in Saint Louis I could look out for. He had promised to get back to me, but his call had not come through by the time we got to the final stop in Saint Louis. I tried his number and it was not going through.
Stranded, I dragged my luggage to a nearby fuel station and met a woman there – she seemed liked the manager and thankfully, she spoke English. Diallo had recommended a place to me and I had also searched one out while in Saly, so I asked the woman how I could get to either of the places. She got a cab to take me to the one closest, which was on Saint Louis Island. Before I left, she gave me a piece of paper where she had scribbled her number so I could call her if I had any issue. Interestingly, her name was Mrs. Diallo.
We spent about 45mins in traffic on Pont Faidherbe as we crossed from the mainland to the island. The cab dropped me at the hotel which was situated by the banks of River Senegal, however I didn’t like the available room so I had to move on.
I got another cab and headed on to Hotel Djamarek on the peninsula. There was traffic again after the link bridge connecting island to peninsula on Rue Hydrobase. A lot of fish business is done in the area and several ice trucks were packed along the road, which already had bad portions probably damaged by frequent usage by those heavy-duty vehicles. Then the inevitable calèches who moved at their own pace.
I liked the ambience once I arrived, flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and River Senegal on the other. I checked in and made my first friend in Saint Louis, Eumeuh who checked me in at the reception.
Pretty tired at this point, didn’t know what to do, so I tried Diallo’s number again. He picked and sent me the contact he promised, a guy called Adama. I called Adama to come over, so I could explore the night, but he made excuses and we rescheduled for the next day.
As 2019 promises to be an exciting year for Malawi, we look back at 2018 to see how the country’s wildlife has transformed, catching the attention of the world. Tours & trails have developed by local operators as the country becomes a hot destination for safaris in Africa.
Wildlife Transformation ‘Completing’ Malawi
For a long time Malawi’s stunning beaches, beautiful and varied landscapes and fascinating and friendly cultural experiences have been some of the best that Africa has to offer. With the wildlife transformations continuing courtesy of African Parks, Malawi’s safari experiences are now starting to match its other attractions as it emerges as one of the most complete destinations in Africa.
2018 saw a focus on lions. A group was introduced to Liwonde National Park, some of whom came from Majete, where the lions introduced a few years ago have increased their numbers very successfully. To widen the gene pool, more lions have also been added to Majete from South Africa. With cheetahs re-introduced in 2017 already breeding very successfully and more predators rumoured for Liwonde, plus giraffe just re-introduced to Majete, and plans of elephant, rhino and antelope relocations in 2019, there is no let-up in Malawi’s wildlife transformations, and the country’s fast-tracking to become one of Africa’s most complete destinations.
Brand new Tours, Trails & Experiences launch in Malawi
Malawi’s dynamic tour operators are keeping pace with the accommodation too, developing new tours and trails to meet demand. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust have launched a brand new Malawi Conservation Experience that combines wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work with research and some lakeshore R&R. Malawi stalwarts Land & Lake Safaris have a new set of tours covering even more locations and Central African Wilderness Safaris have launched brand new trails in Liwonde and Nyika National Parks.
Ever the innovators, as well as the launch for their Women’s Entrepreneurship & Women’s Challenge programmes, The Responsible Safaris Company ran their first ‘Sport with a Purpose’ challenge and counted Dame Kelly Holmes as a participant! They will be aiming at big names again to participate in 2019’s challenge!
Malawi is a hidden gem. It is the unique combination of Landscape, Wildlife, Lake and, the People which makes this one of Africa’s most amazing countries. Safe and friendly, Malawi offers visitors a fascinating variety of sights and experiences. The diversity of landscapes, the huge lake and the national parks and reserves provide the foundation for the unrivalled choice of safaris, water sports and outdoor activities on offer.
As February approaches earnestly, reminding me that a couple of important occasions are celebrated in the month, I can’t help but long for Saly. Oh sweet Saly, how I have missed thee.
So who is Saly? Actually it’s a place. Located in the Thiès Region and part of M’Bour department, about 80km from Dakar, Saly is a popular beach resort and one of the most alluring tourist spots in Senegal.
Saly is not just a major tourist destination in the country, it is regarded as the top tourist destination in all West Africa. Known in full as Saly Portudal, it was originally a Portuguese trading post named Porto de Ale.
Although Saly is still a developing community (you can see construction work going on at different places), yet it is at once both rustic and urban in a sense, offering you a refreshing world of fun and excitement.
I suggest a good knowledge of French because, trust me, it can be pretty difficult getting by, except you have a guide who understands English. Wolof and French are the main languages in the country. But well, I survived – no, I enjoyed my time in Saly.
There are several hotels and places to stay offering varying services from cheap to boutique and luxury.
Night life in Saly is vibrant and it starts pretty late from about 23:30hrs and it don’t stop ’till the break of dawn.
La Place des Bougainvillées is the heartbeat of Saly where the bars, lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, and restaurants are clustered. Banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, shops and ATMs are within also that axis, and taxis are there all day, all night to take you where you want to go.
Golf de Saly is there for you, if you want to play golf. About 20km away is the Réserve de Bandia where you can enjoy a safari. No lions, elephants or leopards, but it’s a great experience all the same.
The people are pretty warm and friendly, and Saly is safe enough for a late night stroll, but you don’t have to take chances.
Anyway, February is here and it’s my church’s anniversary month on the first. I’m getting ready for the Blessing Pact on the seventh, Valentine Day follows a week after, and of course my birthday, a day before. Perhaps, I need to see Saly again this February and enjoy some teranga hospitality.
After a couple of days in Dakar, Senegal, I headed on to Saly to meet with my Senegalese friend Diallo. I had booked a one-night stay at the Baobab Belge, a B&B via Booking.com, anticipating that if it falls short of standard, I’ll move elsewhere. I didn’t have to. The Baobab Belge turned out the perfect place – nice, cozy and cost effective.
Saly, a major tourist hub is a beach resort town, about 70km east of Dakar, lying on the Petite Côte, and classified under the M’Bour Department in the Thies Region.
Saly is divided into three areas, or like Fatmata, my Gambian friend puts it, “…there are three Salys.”Saly Portudal, Saly Niakhniakhal, and Saly Nord. The heartbeat of the town is La Place des Bougainvillées which is in the Saly Portudal area. That’s where you’ll find the clubs, bars, casinos, restaurants, banks, shops, discos, ATMs, taxi rank, etc. The Baobab Belge was further down in Saly Niakhniakhal, about a 5mins drive away.
I arrived Saly around 15:00hrs, disembarking at the fuel station along the main road from the Sept-Place I boarded from Dakar. Once I got down, I called Diallo and he told me where and how to find him. I got a cab which took me to La Place des Bougainvillées where Diallo was waiting with his warm teranga smile. We were meeting for the first time, but we’d been communicating via emails.
Being pretty tired, I declined Diallo’s offer to grab a bite first, opting to get to my accommodation instead and settle in. I assured him we would explore the night together, later. A cab got us to the Baobab Belge in about 5mins, where Dominique, the Belgian owner of the accommodation gave us a warm welcome. Diallo left shortly after, promising to return later for our nocturnal rendezvous.
Dominique manages Baobab Belge with her Senegalese husband. 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, but I told her I was meeting someone, Diallo. She showed me around the place and made me my first meal of thieboudienne (rice and fish) in Saly, after I had settled in.
Located just about two minutes from the beach (Plage de Saly), the Baobab Belge is a cute little B&B cottage with about five rooms in a garden-like space. These rooms of varying sizes are named after local musical instruments and they include: two Koras, one Balafon and one Tam Tam – I stayed in the Balafon. A two-storey building is close by where Dominique stays with her husband, and I learnt there were available rooms there too.
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. 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. The environment is neat, welcoming and quite relaxing.
Dominique mentioned that she and her husband play with a band most evening at of the spot 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 Reserve 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. The people are was very peaceful and I remember walking with Diallo back to a La Place des Bougainvillées around 12 midnight, after he brought some items I asked him to get for me. He had to get back M’Bour and he could only get a taxi at La Place des Bougainvillées. Of course I took a taxi back myself, but it was not because I was afraid. It was because it was dark and not too sure about the route.
I smiled and said, “You speak English?” He smiled back and nodded. He pointed to a shack and said it was his place, a restaurant. He invited me over. Show no fear. So I followed him into the shack. A female was inside whom he introduced as his sister. There was a guy older than him, who he said was his friend and another guy who was his brother. They were smoking cigarettes. I sat next to the girl, while my host sat next to me. He showed me a painting he did. Nice.
We made small gist. I talked about about El-Hajj Diouf the Senegalese footballer and Demba Ba and Papise Cissé. I told them I wanted to take photographs of the sea. So I stepped out and the guy came out with me. My mind was working. How do I lose these guys without giving myself away that I was wary of their set-up? Thankfully, the others stayed in the shack.
couldn’t really tell if they were just folks who were totally harmless, or if they would turn dangerous if the opportunity arose.
I took some photos and then I told him to give me his number that I wanted him to paint the picture I had taken. I showed him the picture of the beach. He was excited. He went into the shack and returned with the older friend who smiled and gave me his notebook. I explained again. So the first guy tore a strip and wrote his name and number.
“You are Max?” He nodded. The other one introduced himself as Bona. I promised Max I’ll call him the next day and then asked how I can get to Plage de Ngor. They told me it was just further down. “I need to get there.”
Max told me no problem and I realized he wanted to come with me. Bona meanwhile had scurried in to drop his notebook. Show no fright. I shrugged and we left, while Bona caught up with us. I couldn’t really tell if they were just folks who were totally harmless, or if they would turn dangerous if the opportunity arose. We got back on to the main road and walked on, as it got chillier with the dusk setting in.
We talked idle gist. I remembered a song from the ‘90s. “Yele, Senegalese music called Yele. Ancient African music called Yele.” It lit them up and they told me the name of the artiste – I can’t remember again now. I really wanted to turn back after a while. I knew I couldn’t go to Ngor at this time, but I wanted to get to place I was earlier in the day, even though my feet were tired.
We eventually got to Plage de Ngor and I took some shots. The pirogues were there moored at the beach, and I could see the island. We left and I told my companions I was too tired to walk back. They stopped a taxi and got in with me. I thought they would get off on the way, but they rode all the way to the hotel. I guess they wanted to hang out. I paid the cabbie and gave the change to Max. They asked if they should wait for me. I shook my head. I was really tired. They waited. I crossed the road and went in to the hotel.
I got in my room and called Bamba and asked him if we could hang out. He said I should get a taxi and I should let him speak with the cabbie. I said okay and flopped on the bed to relax a bit. It was a couple of minutes to 20:00. Just a little rest, and I’ll go downstairs and ask the receptionist to get me a cab. Then, I’ll call Bamba. A little rest. I woke up suddenly, sprang up and it was dawn. Damn! My feet were still my shoes – and I didn’t even lie down properly on the bed. There goes my Dakar night-out experience!
This article was first posted on the Afro Tourism website.
I was determined to get a taste of Dakar’s nightlife. Bamba had assured me on the plane that the city never sleeps and I eagerly looked forward to the fun and experience, since I only had that night before heading on to Saly the next day.
It was still too sunny by 16:00hrs, and I wanted to get to Ngor. I called Bamba’s number and someone picked and told me he was asleep. I had met Bamba, a Senegalese who works in Nigeria on the flight from Lagos. We sat next to each other and we struck up a conversation about the delayed departure and the nonchalant attitude of the airline.
It was a night flight and coupled with the delay, we had a stopover in Banjul before touching down in Dakar at well past 02:00. I would have been ripped off by the cabbies at the airport while trying to get to hotel, as they rattled off in Wolof, leaving me perplexed. Thankfully Bamba rescued me. He negotiated with one of the cabbies and dropped me off, giving me his number before continuing his journey.
I went out on a brisk city tour around 11:00, after a 6-hour sleep which didn’t come to me until around 05:25. After the tour which lasted about two and a half hours, I ordered room service and took a nap. I waited another hour before leaving the hotel. By 17:00, the harsh glare of sun was all gone and I set out to the beach in my jeans jacket, as the evening temperature dropped. It was not so far and I could sail to Ngor Island and back before it gets dark, I thought. Besides, those pirogues ran on motor engines.
I strolled along Rue de l’Aéroport, detoured at Hôtel le Virage, and got down to the beach. I remembered the two guys I met earlier in the day when the taxi took me to the beach, Samba and Souleymane. Although the latter was the first to latch on to me, he spoke no English, while Samba came along and told me about the Lebou tribe and Île de Ngor. I would have gladly jumped on a pirogue and sailed to the island right there and then, but I didn’t know what to do with the cabbie. So with a promise to return, I took their numbers and left.
I had called Samba the Lebou and told him I was coming before leaving the hotel; but now I can’t seem to find the right spot. The Atlantic coast spread along for miles and I must have misjudged the distance from the hotel, having arrived there in a cab. A quick glance around and I realized this was not the place I was looking for. This was not Plage de Ngor. I couldn’t see any island from the shore. This was Plage du Virage, instead.
Some youths were playing soccer on the beach. It was quite windy and the evening was already getting cold. I had my camera around my neck, and was admiring the waves when a guy spoke behind me. Show no fright! That was my first instinct. He looked rough. He could be a Senegalese version of an ‘area boy’ as we call them in Nigeria…
In the long run, everyone who visits the ‘Smiling Coast’ ends up in Kololi, on that famous strip – the Senegambia Strip. In truth, Kololi is the heart of tourism in The Gambia, the smallest country on mainland Africa. Of course, the country is much more than Kololi.
The Gambia has quite a lot to offer tourists when it comes to attractions and activities. River Gambia which runs right through the heart of the country plays a very important part in the country’s tourism business, with boat cruises upcountry being some of the best adventures.
Along with Kotu, Kololi (suburbs of Serrekeunda, the largest city in The Gambia), has some of the country’s best hotels and accommodations, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Of course, there are choice options in other parts of the country like Banjul and Bakau, but Kololi is the number one choice for the best night outs in the country.
In the day time, Kololi is still a lively spot and it offers some attractions like the Bijilo Forest aka the Monkey Park which is towards the end of the famous Senegambia Strip. The Monkey Park is good spot to enjoy a hike and see some primates and birds.
The beach is another thing that draws people to Kololi and it is a bustling place to be at. Different kinds of interesting characters can be found at the beach, such as peddlers trying to sell you souvenirs. If you don’t know how to bargain, they’ll rip you off. But you can make purchases at the craft markets in town instead.
A couple of shacks on the beach have reggae music playing and you’ll see some rastas doing their thing. Some may try to roll you a joint, if you’re given to that kind of fun. No need to fear, no one will harass you…
The bumster issue has been effectively resolved by the government with the creation of tourist police. However, you should look out for the flag to see if it’s okay to take a swim in the ocean.
But for those who know the real fun in Kololi starts after the sun retires from the sky and the night is lit by electric stars. No fear of sunburn or heat stroke as tourists walk the Strip in search of entertainment, fun, and good food. There are bars, casinos and different kinds of restaurants, serving continental dishes to titivate the senses.
They include oriental, Indian, Dutch, Italian, Danish, and of course African and many of them apart from the meal, offers you a serene and soothing ambience to listen to and enjoy good music from a live band.
Hey! But that’s not where all the fun ends, particularly for young at heart and those who enjoy clubbing, Kololi is the destination to be if you’re in The Gambia. The clubs starts to fill late into 23:00 hours and it don’t stop until the early morn! Best believe it, everything you’re looking for at the club is there in good quantity: music, drinks, and dancing bodies…
Well, if you’re planning a holiday soon, or perhaps a quick romantic getaway for the Valentine weekend, think of The Gambia, West Africa… and do get in touch with us:
Call or WhatsApp: +234 703 968 3785, or +234 803 767 0156
Or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Ola!That’s Portuguese for ‘Hello!’ – If you didn’t know before. That’s an expression you’re going to hear a lot when you get to Mozambique! You’ve heard about Mozambique, right?
Mozambique is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Africa. It’s a lovely country with one of the longest coastlines on the continent, and those beautiful beaches are all so alluring, while the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean invites you to dip in.
There are over 740 bird species to be spotted, over 60 species of reptiles, an abundant wildlife, and a very rich marine life. Mozambique is one of the few places on the planet where the rare dugong can be seen!
There is more! Mozambique boasts of several uncharted islands with pristine white sand beaches on the Mozambican Channel. Along with its slew of exotic resorts and plush accommodations, Mozambique is a significant honeymoon choice and cheaper alternative to the more popular and costlier destinations.
Aside from all these, Mozambique is a food lover’s paradise, thanks to its multicultural heritage that has influenced its gastronomy. The people are very friendly, and you are sure to have a pleasant time in the evenings at any club, bar or hangout in Mozambique.
Mozambique is that place you visit once and you know you must return. It is a magical mosaic of culture and beauty waiting for you to explore!
Well, what are you waiting for? Pack those bags and get ready to discover MOZAMBIQUE! Okay, one step at a time. If you’re interested in discovering Mozambique, kindly call or WhatsApp:
+234 703 968 3785, or +234 803 767 0156
You can send an email to: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Hello! Today, we are going to enjoy the final part of @nadinescakesng‘s story: Honeymoon in Zanzibar. This is the tour of Stone Town, known as Mji Mkongwe which in Swahili means “Old Town.” It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000. This is actually Day 4, but if you’ve been following, it was a case of ‘saving the best for last.’ So we skipped this and saved as the finale. Please enjoy…
This day was for our Stone Town tour. It is advisable to start off in the morning before it becomes very hot as the tour entails walking throughout. It is conducted through the many alleys and pathways that make up Stone Town. The name Stone Town comes from the use of coral stone as the main construction material used in building houses.
Our guide told us that it was even against the law to use cement blocks as the government wanted to promote the purchase of corals. You could easily get lost navigating the many passages.
One moment we were passing rows of shops that sold Arabian styled female wear, the next we were popping out at the spice market. I particularly loved the spice market as I was able to purchase freshly ground Indian spices like Garam Masala and Tandoori Masala. They also sold native soaps like lemon grass soap.
The fish market was not too far from the spice market, and we witnessed an auction. Usually, they auctioned off large fishes. Those of normal sizes were sold at fixed rates. They also had street vendors selling locally made juices. Fresh fruit juice is easily available on Zanzibar.
The tour took a sober turn when we visited the site of the Old Slave Market. We were shown tiny underground rooms were slaves where kept, and a slave monument.
The Anglican Cathedral of Christ Church is in the same premises and its altar was built on the same exact spot where the whipping post of the slave market was. Behind the altar was the tomb of Edward Steere, the Bishop who actually built the church.
We were shown a cross that hung in the church and were told that it was carved out from the tree where David Livingstone (the Scottish missionary that fought for the abolishment of slavery) was initially buried.
Other attractions during the tour include The Old Fort, House of Wonders and Forodhani Gardens.
It was interesting to find out that the late Freddie Mercury, the former lead singer of the band, Queen was born in Stone Town. We were shown the exact flat that his family lived in and I imagined young Freddie Mercury listening to records in that flat.
Zanzibar truly is a wonderful place to visit, with its beautiful beaches, clear, blue waters, refreshing seasonal juices, delicious Indian cuisine and the greetings of Jambo(hello in Swahili) wherever you go.
That’s it folks. I think @nadinescakesng would make a good tour guide if she decides to be one. She certainly had a good time on the magical island of Zanzibar with her husband. I’ve been there myself and yes Zanzibar is really beautiful. It’s a place you want to return to – at lease I want to… You can share your experience with us. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org