It was only a short hop down to the Zebra Bar from Saint Louis, which is probably just as well as I really was not feeling much like cycling, although I have to admit to enjoying the sandy piste to get there once the tarmac ran out! Tim (Cullen) spoke very highly of this place and I could see why, it’s in a beautiful setting and the accommodation options range from camping to pretty luxurious huts. I of course chose camping.
After enjoying one of the few beers I’ve consumed this trip (an enormous bottle of Gazelle) and then a warm shower, I wandered around. It didn’t take me long to snap a few pictures of the local wildlife and already I was wishing I didn’t have to leave so soon for Dakar and the British Embassy.
The beach was beautiful, with pirogue boats moored up waiting for tourists to explore the waters. Given more time I’d have enjoyed a trip myself and as I’d paid the fee for the Langue de Barbarie National Park (the Zebra Bar lies within it) I fully intended returning, that is until given the news by the Embassy in Dakar.
As I had no idea what hoops I’d have to jump through to sort out my missing passport, I set off the next morning for Dakar. I decided to try save mileage by riding down the beach as much as possible and It was an amazing ride, each time I approached a group of birds they’d rise into the air – a wonderful sight. I saw many fish eagles, a memorable tick to my list of birds spotted.
Dakar is a huge city and it took me some time to get my bearings. The rough guide map really was of no use at all, so I ended up riding round for quite a while trying to build up a mental map – not a good idea given my memory! The sun was high in the sky making photography difficult, but it was good to stop and take a breather in the heat occasionally as the temperature hovered around 32 degrees.
Immediately noticeable on entering the city was the smell (and taste) of diesel. It’s quite suffocating and for the very first time I wished I had a face mask as the pollution is hard on the lungs. I had seen the haze as I’d approached Dakar but not twigged this was pollution and not the heat haze. When you see the condition of most of the buses and the stuff they belch out, you begin to understand the problem.
Many of the taxis, cars and in particular buses I saw were in a pretty bad way, their is obviously no MOT here!
As I cycled on, dominating the western skyline was the €20 million monument commissioned by President Abdoulaye Wade: Father, Mother and Son (papp, yaay, doom) and you can’t help but be impressed, although speaking with a local about it later apparently the majority of Senegalese believe it is money wasted.
I have tried unsuccessfully to sort out the passport and visa problems here in Dakar, an expensive mistake in both time and funds. However I’m now left with a emergency passport that doesn’t allow me to re-trace my steps, so I’m looking at other options. Flying is not one of them unless I abandon my trip, but thanks for your suggestions.
I will try to log on when I can.