They say Africa is addictive and I can only confirm that. Over all these years of traveling to the African countries, I have to say that there is no other continent that makes me feel like I have seen something new, something that has changed my way of thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t like to travel to the other countries, but what I’m saying is that Africa really takes me out of my comfort zone and this gives me an experience to carry back home.
Of course there are inconveniences like food, electricity, transport, and more when traveling to Africa but even though that’s the case, it teaches me a self-mastery on handling my daily life once back in my home country.
This is the reason why I travel to Africa whenever possible.
That day we were visiting the Bandia Nature Reserve and we were supposed to leave for Ndangane after that.
Our driver was waiting for us at the exit of the Bandia Reserve, so once we finished the excursion as planned, we immediately left with him.
Being Ndangane located in Sinè Saloum area, public transport would have been too long with too many changes that wouldn’t have guaranteed the arrival on the same day. The fastest way to reach Ndangane was traveling by taxi. Ndangane has two parts: the tourist area, where the tar road from Dakar (160km) ends by the boat jetty, and the village proper. Our hotel, Auberge Boavista, reserved through the Booking.com website, was in the centre of the village. It was just fifteen minutes’ walk from the tourist area where, as you can imagine, most of the accommodations and eating options were.
When we reached Ndangane nobody was able to identify the name of our hotel; our driver asked for help around but no one seemed to know the place. And finally, we decided to call the owner who came to guide us to the hotel.
Hotel Auberge Boavista in Ndangane
In Senegal it was our first stay in a hotel run by a local. All the other places we had stayed in before were owned and managed by Europeans.
Although from the outside the garden and the huts seemed pretty and cosy, the interior was very spartan, totally different from the description given by the booking website: the bathroom had no door, there was no toilet seat, the mosquito nets were broken, there was a bird’s nest on the bathroom window, the fan had a broken plug, there were ants everywhere and etcetera etcetera.
The main problem for us was the toilet that didn’t flush properly. We were a little bit disappointed and somehow we were able to communicate with the owner Elhadiji, who spoke only Wolof and French, that at least the flush needed to be fixed. He repaired it immediately while Alessandro and I tried to clean the room with the broom.
There were mosquitos and insects everywhere. Fortunately, we had a bug spray and mosquito coils with us carried from Italy. Throughout my years and years of travel experience I have learned that this is a must whenever traveling to the African countries.
Only those who risk going far can possibly find out how far they can go! –T.S. Eliot–
Above all let’s say that it is unimaginable thinking that you wouldn’t find mosquitoes and insects in Ndangane because it is a swampy area with mangroves, lagoons, open forests, dunes, and sand islands but I was not meaning this when I said going out of my comfort zone. Anyways…. In Italy it is said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…
After getting through this hard time, we could finally relax in full for our two days in Ndangane.
The owner Elhadji, a Senegalese man in his 30s, was extremely helpful and accommodating, even giving us a free ride every evening with his own car to the tourist area for dinner.
Based on our experience in Senegal, Elhadji has proved to be one of the few natives that has worked hard to improve his life conditions and the services offered by him. Now, because of how we found the house I can’t definitely recommend it to you as one of the hotels to stay in Ndangane but I’m sure Elhadji will take that place to a higher level one day soon and in that case it will certainly turn out as one of the best hotels in the heart of the Ndangane village.
His attention to satisfy every one of our requests made our stay pleasant for the whole time. In the end, we were also happy about the location; because Auberge Boavista, unlike all the other tourist infrastructures of Ndangane, was situated in a great scenic and charming area that otherwise would not be seen by tourists.
Sleeping in that area allowed us to see much more than we would have by just hanging around in the main street fully equipped to satisfy all the need of the tourists.
Pirogue Tour in Siné-Saloum Delta
Among the things to do in Ndangane, there was certainly the pirogue tour across the lagoon. All the hotels in the town offered shuttle services to the starting point of the tour. Everyone in Ndangane offered this service and the price seemed more or less the same everywhere but at the endthey were always negotiable.
Once in Ndangane there is no sense leaving the town without doing this trip. You’ll see amazing landscapes, stunning birds, and beautiful small islands with people living around. It is just gorgeous.
We recommend the lagoon gran tour trip with Elhadji. He did his best to make it unique and memorable. He even found an English guide for us.
What to avoid in Ndangane
Many approached offering us the sail up to Gambia and thankfully we were smart enough to resist and say no all the time. They made it sound like something easy and feasible but later we learnt that many who sailed upriver encountered problems. Don’t get carried away by enthusiasm.