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Jan 15 2013

Tambacounda

We are so glad that we have taken the time to explore Senegal, rather than merely rushing through.  And yes, there are little annoyances and irritations everywhere – the rubbish and litter being a significant one.  However, the friendly people go a long way to helping see the true heart of the country.

From Kael, our next aim was Tambacounda, the last big town before Niokolo Koba.  We set off early to avoid driving in the heat of the day – and were rewarded with a fantastic site: a flock of about 150 vultures were resting near the side of the road.  It started off by us seeing one in a tree next to the road … and then another and then a group in an adjacent tree.  Many more were in trees on the opposite side of the road, and the rest in a large group on the ground.  All were waiting for the thermals as the day warmed up so that they could take to the air. From what we could tell, both White Backed vultures and Ruppells vultures were amongst the flock.  Magic.

On to Tambacounda, where we stopped at the Oasis Oriental hotel (N13° 46.454’ W13° 41.555’).  They kindly let us camp in their car park – although the bungalows set in gardens were very inviting.  Here, while relaxing next to the pool, we met a local artist – Mara.  Such an interesting chap to chat to.  Amongst many topics, he similarly shared our concern about the environment, and expressed his opinions about tackling the issue of rubbish and litter.  Like us, he believes it all comes down to education.  His thoughts are that it needs to start with the youngsters in school, and be carried through by the parents setting an example.  But who teaches the parents?

A bit later, he told us about his work and showed us some of his pieces.  Truly beautiful African artwork.  He likes the human form, and has a gentle style of black figurines against a coloured background.  Tucked away is a map of Africa.  I look forward to seeing some hanging on our walls.

Next morning, we needed to replenish our provisions.  We dropped past a local supermarket – for luxuries like fruit juice and yoghurt before heading to the bustling local market.  In spite of the litter we do not seem to escape, the market was very clean.  The vegetables varied in quality – some looking more tired than others – but we found almost everything we were looking for.  Eggs continue to be easily available and we searched a bit to find a butcher.  In case I was apprehensive about buying meat in Morocco, this was a whole new level – not a fridge in sight!  The butcher we chose was making a concerted effort at covering his meat – so we went for it.  There was lots of fish available too.

Soon enough we were stocked for the journey and off to Wassadou.


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