I arrived in Senegal on September 13, 2001, just 2 days after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. Despite everything that had just happened, it really never occurred to me not to go ahead with my trip. Senegal is a predominately Muslim country, and I hoped the Sengalese people would be as wonderful as all the other people in Muslim countries I have traveled to. I wasn't disappointed. From the moment I arrived in Dakar, everyone I met wanted to express their sympathy for what had happened. They were also quick to explain that Islam does not condone violence, but stresses peace and tolerance.
September is the rainy season in Senegal, which means not so much rain exactly but that it is really HOT and HUMID! It did rain a couple times, but it was pretty brief. This also means that many of the parcs I wanted to go to were closed for the season, which was disappointing. Everyone tells me to return sometime between November and February, which is the best season for wild-life viewing.
I spent 10 days in Senegal, starting in Dakar, going north to St. Louis, and then finally back south to M'Bour. I traveled by bush-taxi which is a beat up Peugeot 504 carrying 7 passengers and the driver. The roads can get pretty bad, it's not the most comfortable country to travel around. Despite the weather and bad roads, I had a wonderful, exciting time and met many interesting people. On a side note, I did not meet one single other American there the entire time. French and Wolof are spoken in Senegal, you will find some people who know a little English, but if you don't speak some French, you may be missing out on one of the best parts of Senegal; just sitting down and chatting with the Senegalese people.
Dakar & Île de Gorée