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Senegal 🇸🇳

New language, new experiences, new everything! As soon as I stepped off the ferry, I felt the warmth of the Senegalese people. My first night, a Moroccan restaurant owner in Rosso invited me to stay the night in his guest-room, my stay was also an opportunity for me to get a SIM card and money for the trip before I started cycling towards the city of Saint-Louis, the next day. The road was flat and the landscape was beautiful, a view decorated with baobab trees and colorful houses. I stopped at a local market and tried some Senegalese food for the first time, it was delicious. The people were friendly and curious about my trip, they asked me where I was from and why I was cycling through Africa. I told them my story and they wished me good luck on my journey. In Saint-Louis, a Moroccan medicine student hosted me, and I explored the city, admiring the colonial buildings and Faidherbe bridge. I also visited the Museum of Photography and the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, where I pondered upon thousands of magnificent birds, such as pelicans, flamingos, and storks.

Saint louis 01/03/2023

Despite losing my way on a sandy road and arriving at the Zebrabar camping late at night, I awoke the next morning to the serene sounds of tweeting birds. The camping, managed by a Swiss couple, was located just a minute’s walk from the sea and provided a perfect location to spend the night in the national park. It was at the Zebrabar camping that I unexpectedly met Cristina again. We watched the sunrise together and had a good chat. Unfortunately, I started feeling a bit sick that day, but I had to leave for Dakar to meet up with a friend. So, I continued towards the Senegalese capital.

Zebrabar Camping 02/03/2023

Along the way, I stopped at some small villages and was welcomed by the locals who kindly offered me tea and food. My first stop was at Lampoule, where I stayed with a Senegalese and Dutch couple and their adorable baby. The husband was an artist and they hosted a party in the Lampoule desert, which reminded me of Merzouga. There were many tourists and groups singing with the golden-coloured sand. The following day, I had to cover more than 175 km to reach Dakar. Despite feeling unwell, I pushed myself to the limit to cycle on a road that proved harder than expected and a traffic like I’ve never seen before. 60 km before reaching Dakar, even with a bike, I couldn’t move as the road was blocked by cars. So, I took an alternate route near Lac Rose and finally here she was, Dakar, a bustling city that reminded me of my Casablanca. Unfortunately, my little admiration moment was interrupted by a flat tire just 2 km before reaching my destination, and it was already dark, but I eventually made it to my Moroccan friend’s home. 

Lampoule 03/03/2022

In their company, along with another friend who came from Morocco as a tourist in Senegal, we decided to head the reserve and see some lions. We woke up very early and went to spend the day with big cats. You have to pay to walk with them. The lions have been living there since they were cubs, and there are four guides that give them food every day and who are like parents to them. It was the first time I saw lions, but I wasn’t necessarily scared as I saw they resembled cats more than anything else. They eat before you arrive, respect the guide, and you’re just near them. It’s like they’re not living the wild life that they wanted to live. 

Fathalah 04/03/2023

After that, we went to Saly, a beach near Dakar that’s very touristic. We shared some meals with locals and went on a typical tour for newcomers around the river. At this time, I realized that I enjoy the wild life more than touristy places. To me, not every touristic and famous place is a must-see. I prefer the human experience that’s not the same as when you’re in a local and tourist-free area. Of course, they’re not cheap, but I believe that speinding money and time there is an enriching experience on top of helping the local economy.

I was planning to go to The Gambia but renounced to my plans since next month is Ramadan, and I want to stop cycling and fasting. I don’t want to eat the whole month (you can eat when you’re traveling and fast after Ramadan, in Islam teachings). So that week in Dakar was just for relaxing since I was very sick. It wasn’t malaria, just a cold because of the climate and potentially food from a shop when I was on the road to Dakar. I met two other cyclists, Momo and Jorg, while I was in Dakar. Momo is Moroccan-French and he hosted Jorg for two nights. We explored the city together and they helped me fix some problems with my bike. I met other people from my country in Dakar, then I headed in the direction of The Gambia. The first day was from Dakar to Saly, in my Moroccan friend Tarek’s house, who works in West Africa.



Cycling out of Dakar, the traffic was crazy. It was very hot in some areas, and then it was very cool to be on Saly beach. The following day’s weather was no joke either, it was so hot that I lost my way at the beginning. Maps took me to a village where I got stuck in the sand for one hour but thankfully, kids from the village helped me. After that, I took the national road with a headwind and a temperature of 42°C. Some buses were driving very fast, and I tried to be careful. I was invited to lunch in a Shell station with workers there where I had an interesting talk with with one of these men. We talked about Africa and how Moroccans and Senegalese people are such good friends. We talked about how Africa has too much to offer, yet doesn’t get a chance to, even with all our riches and the natural reserves we have. We talked about colonization and how it suffocated us to our metaphorical death, and got into details on the West’s attempts to help Africa. Our exchange conveyed a message of hope, dreaming that the new generation can change the situation of our beloved continent, stop the wars, and find ways to profit from what our Earth gifts us with. Since we are both big fans of football, we also talked about what Morocco did in the last World Cup in Qatar, and he expressed that he would love for Morocco to organize the next one. African people are very passionate about football, and in every place, you will see kids playing.

I continued, after lunch, to Kaolack road and stopped to drink coffee in one of the neighbouring villages. The road was very busy and long. Along the way, I saw women working under the sun, selling cashew, cold water, and fruits. African women are very strong, and yes, I have to say that in every blog and vlog. May God bless them and give them the tranquility that they deserve.

I stopped 20 km before Kaolack in another village and asked a woman if I could spend the night near their home, and they accepted. Here in Senegal, every family lives together. In this family, they were in a zone that looks like a small village. There were 20 or more family members, the father, grandmother, and cousins. They have a lot of room and space for everyone to live comfortably. I stopped my bike, and Maryama, a girl of 20 years old, led me to where I can take a shower and gave me a Senegalese dress since it was very hot there. I followed her lead, and stayed with them. We shared food, and at night, they took the TV out, and we watched it together, including a football game.

I went to buy water from the shop and bought something for the family too to thank them for hosting me. They gave me mangoes and cashew, and I was very happy with that. I received a lot of proposals from the men in the village, and I always told them that I’m married and going back to my husband after the trip, just to avoid having a big conversation about this. The next day, I left taking breakfast, coffee, and bread with chocolate. The grandmother made the traditional goodbye by throwing water in the air after me, so that blessings and good follow me wherever I go. Kaolack was very close, and I didn’t get strong wind in the morning. I withdrew some cash for the road from Orange Money because it was my bank here. The road was very beautiful, with big trees, and the people were very nice. In the middle of the road, I stopped to buy water and ended up drinking tea with the guys who wanted to show me the shop. Then, I stopped to rest there for a bit and ended up having lunch with two different families. This is the Pays de Targana, and they are very kind and hospitable. The man talked in Arabic and wanted to visit Morocco, he specifically, wanted to visit the Tijani place in Fez that people from Senegal visit every year. After more than two hours with them, I left in a good mood and don’t know how I found myself bordering The Gambia. I didn’t initially want to cross this day, my heart was lingering in Senegal but I eventually ended up doing it anyway. They asked me for money in the border, even if Moroccans don’t need a visa for The Gambia. The officer was a woman. I pleaded and told her that I’m her African sister, and she needs to help me as an African, but she told me that she needs to see a visa for Moroccan citizens. I argued that this is something that is out of my control and which I can’t change. I’m a traveler, and I’m here for Africa, so she finally let me enter. And this is the story of my third country in this trip. Welcome to The Gambia!

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