Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dunes at Lompoul

Senegal lies on the edge of the Sahel desert and in Lompoul one can have the true desert experience by trekking through the dunes on camels, getting your Landcruiser stuck in the deep sand, and sleeping in tents. 

We met our guide at Lompoul village who directed me along sandy paths out into the open desert.  3km from the village the sand gets deep and you are surrounded by dunes and i had to shift into 4-Low, but eventually we were almost hub deep in the sand.  Luckily the guide figured out what i did wrong and after letting almost all the air out of the tires I was able to float/crawl the rest of the way to the camp.

There are a couple companies offering the camping in the dunes experience and we stayed with Lodge Senegal upon the recommendation of friends and it was an enjoyable experience (besides no bed nets to keep the mosquitoes away).  We lounged in the central tent before taking a couple camels across the dunes at sunset.

At dinner we found ourselves surrounded by Italians, French, and Spaniards and enjoyed a local meal of Senegalese couscous, a red stew with vegetables, and fried chicken.  This place was totally off the grid and the only light was by lantern.  However each tent had a private bathroom with a shower, flushing toilet, and sink with running water.  We got the resident rate at 35,000 CFA each and the camel rides were only 3,500 CFA each!

The next morning we headed to Saint Louis and I got the thrill of bombing down the dunes and through the deep sand back to the village and road.  At the "service station" next to the mosque in town a local refilled my tires and blew out my air filter for a moderate charge and we were back on the road.  If you follow the road to the ocean you can visit Lompoul by the Sea, which is a small fishing village with a large fish drying area on the beach.

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