Tag Archives: Senegal

Postcard from Senegal, Part II

2 Jun

After a week of meetings in Dakar, we had a nice opportunity to get out of the capital city and go on a field trip: first to a farming cooperative east of Dakar and then south to the Bandia Wildlife Reserve. It was lovely to be able to see a bit of the countryside.

The area around the farm and the reserve (and in fact, a large part of Senegal) is savannah. The landscape is dotted with the famous baobab trees, which store water in their trunks and can live for thousands of years:

… and also with acacias (new foliage, left; old vine creeping around acacia trunk, right).

On the farm, okra plants were in bloom. I had never thought about okra flowers before (which shows that I have never grown okra)–but I now know that okra flowers are quite lovely–as are the pom-pom like flowers of the Acacia robusta trees lining some of the farm’s roads.
We did not make it to the Wildlife Reserve until the afternoon, when most animals would normally be taking a siesta in a shady spot, but we were lucky to see monkeys, antelope, warthogs, ostriches, zebras, rhinos (from a suitably safe distance), and giraffes.

Postcard from Senegal, Part I

26 May

After two weeks away, it’s amazing what has happened in the garden in my absence–but more about that later. I spent the first leg of my work trip in Senegal. In and amongst all-day meetings, we were able to get out a bit and see Dakar and Goree Island, and to go on a day trip to a farm and wildlife preserve.

It was a lovely trip, the only downside being that I never got a good photograph of any of the delicious things I ate, including  Thiéboudienne (a traditional Senegalese dish made with fish, rice, and stewed vegetables in a rich and flavorful tomato-based sauce) and Poulet Yassa (another favorite, made with chicken in a lemony onion sauce). Since Senegal is on the coast, seafood figures prominently on the menu–with the exception of the Poulet Yassa, I had fish almost every day.

In the early evenings, people gather at key spots on the beach in Dakar to buy fish straight off the small, colorful fishing boats (I took the photo below from a moving car, so it leaves a bit to be desired, but gives an idea of the lively beachside fish market).

Here is another photo of the fishing boats, taken on Gorée Island, a trading post from which slaves were transported; the House of Slaves shows the cells in which the slaves were kept and features a museum as well.


The island is very colorful–boats, walls, and flowers.  I was struck by a blue bench at a small eatery on the island, and a splash of orange bougainvillea against a yellow wall.