8 December 2022, Dakar, Senegal
Leisurely preparations for 9:30am tour. Still full of last night’s Pinnacle Grill dinner, so ate just a little muesli + orange juice + coffee. I did go outside to take photos of our approach to Dakar, Senegal.
Our ship docked about 9am. Actually, cleared at 9:15am for passengers to go ashore.
I waited for the first rush of passengers to leave before debarking ms Zaandam. Steep gangway, but a crew member held my arm.
When I booked today’s tour two days ago, Across Africa Tours Megan emailed, “Please look for a sign that says “DAKAR HALF DAY TOUR, as we do not have a group leader. . .”
Yesterday AAT emailed, “Thank you for trusting AAT to organize your adventure in Dakar. . . Guide details. . .Pickup Time 09:30am.”
I kept walking until I found the Across Africa Tours sign held by a girl who showed me my “Dakar Half Day Tour” van. Only five of us. I took a good window seat.
“Embark on a tour of the main sights of the city and learn about the history of Senegal’s capital. Pass by Dakar Railway Station. Continue to the Museum of Black Civilizations.”
By now our lovely lady guide had been joined by supervisor Gambo Mhandeni, who added Assam to help guide this tour. Across Africa Tours had pulled out all the stops for the five of us and the driver.
Their first question was, “What do you want to see first?” “The Market” We all agreed, but the Museum of Black Civilization (Musee Civilizations Noire) was on the way. And this 2018 museum opened “amid a heated debate about reclaiming plundered art. Its focus is on black cultural contributions around the world.” Stunning building, great exhibits. Senegal is like France and Quebec. The language is French, period. Our museum guide spoke little English, so our lady guide translated.
We saw exhibits on the beginning of human life in Africa. The tall centerpiece sculpture was therefore a metal family tree. We went upstairs hoping for a gift shop. Found exquisite exhibits of prominent black leaders, especially women. Masks, sculpture, costumes, modern art. Black pride.
I sat down to rest, and Gambbo joined me. He remembered seeing me on tour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Maybe when I visited that good museum. He led Mary Anne’s day 2 tour to a distant historical city. I did not take that tour.
Gambo works with Jane Goodall, who studies primates. He showed me a video on his phone of the two of them together. She looked strong and fit for 88. Gambo’s business is Experiential Travel Africa.
“Visit the Kemal Market, and explore its many stalls known for their high quality of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and crafts.” Wish that my crafts photos were on the iPhone to be able to share easily. Many are on my easier to use Sony camera.
We walked through everything and finally found the crafts. Bought a $1 magnet.
Tried to buy a nice old mask, but they wanted $60. I finally (with the backup of our lady guide) paid $20 for the mask.
Tried to buy a 6-meter length of nice African fabric. Not $60! I offered the fair price of $10, and the sales lady argued loudly. Two of our guides witnessed this loud back and forth. Angry, stubborn sales lady, so we left. Then she agreed to $10. The sales lady changed totally. High fives to me. She gave me hugs & kisses and put a gift bracelet on my wrist. She even handed Gambo a gift made of fabric and then smiled for my photo. Shopping is serious business.
Next we drove to see a huge Baobab tree and a nearby Monkey Fruit tree.
When we started out, our lovely lady guide held my hand to walk up to the Museum. The last time that she held my hand to step down from the van with my hiking stick, she said, “You’re stronger than the rest of us.” Maybe not as fragile as I look?
“Stop at the Cathedral.” Beautiful church.
“Pass by: Grand Mosque of Dakar, the Palace of the Republic (official residence of the President of Senegal). See the National Assembly (where the government bodies convene) and the African Renaissance Monument (a 49-meter-tall bronze statue).” I had asked about the Old Town Medina, and that was pointed out as we sailed past.
Saw a cat and three big-eared kittens at the fish market. Later saw a group of full-sized black & white Nubian goats.
Back at the ship, we had two guides and a driver to tip. I gave Gambo a Port Angeles brochure and also one about the Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway.
Hot and tired, I managed to walk the distance to the gangway and board the ship. I was in my room at 3:30pm, happy with the day.
Dinner tonight was with Charlotte & Bill, because Jan & David were not back from their tour. I ate the Spicy Coconut Crusted Meatballs appetizer, Grilled Salmon with capers and dill. Finished wine bottle #7 and enjoyed Jasmine Green Tea.
I did not go to the movie offered for evening entertainment.
Waiting back in my room were two chocolates, tomorrow’s Daily Program, and the notice that, “Tonight the ship’s clocks will move backward one hour.” 🙂
Quote of the Day: “Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”
Photo Gallery by Barbara Cummings
About this Port
Dakar (/dɑːˈkɑːr, dæˈkɑːr/ UK also: /ˈdækɑːr/; French: [dakaʁ]; Wolof: Ndakaaru) is the capital and largest city of Senegal. The city of Dakar proper has a population of 1,030,594, whereas the population of the Dakar metropolitan area is estimated at 3.94 million in 2021.
The area around Dakar was settled in the 15th century. The Portuguese established a presence on the island of Gorée off the coast of Cap-Vert and used it as a base for the Atlantic slave trade. France took over the island in 1677. Following the abolition of the slave trade and French annexation of the mainland area in the 19th century, Dakar grew into a major regional port and a major city of the French colonial empire. In 1902, Dakar replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa. From 1959 to 1960, Dakar was the capital of the short-lived Mali Federation. In 1960, it became the capital of the independent Republic of Senega (Source – Wikipedia)
One thought on “Grand Africa, voyage, day 60, Dakar Senegal”
Much bigger city than I expected. I liked your museum photos.
The skeleton of first human was interesting, because he was very tall.
Keep posting and stay safe.