The next day we started our journey back towards St Louis. Of course, we took the scenic route along the Ile a Morphil. This is an island that runs for about 100km and lies between the main Senegal River and an adjacent channel. From what we could see, it was primarily agricultural in nature, with many people working the lands. We waved as we passed by, and received large grins and energetic waves in return.
Eventually, the road ended. Literally. Stopped.
There was a small track which we progressed down, until we thought it best to check we were going the right way. Turns out – not quite. We were advised to return to the village and take the ferry across the river. After passing the village again, we were directed through the village down to the water’s edge – and saw the little flat bed ferry attached to a rope spanning the river. Priceless.
The ferry emptied as only it could have – the guys started jumping from the edge of the ferry to the riverbank as soon as it was almost leap-able. The ladies – in their long skirts – waited until a little closer. However, with everyone pushing forwards on the ferry, the ferry became slightly “nose-heavy” and so was beached before actually reaching the riverbank! A little organisation ensued, and soon the ferry was correctly moored and the remaining passengers – those with shorter legs, longer skirts or just more patience – headed into the village.
The ferryman was all grins when he saw us. Not in a “here are tourists I can make a quick buck off” sort of way. He was proud of his ferry and the service he was offering and would only accept a very minimal amount to take us across. He said a ‘thank-you’ was enough. Our second attempt at boarding the ferry was successful, followed by us gently traversing the river. The locals on both sides of the river were amused – loading and unloading the vehicle was clearly the best entertainment they’d had in a while!
A short kilometre to the tarred road, and we were back on our way to St Louis.