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An Eco-Adventure in Senegal?

Africa is a place that I have always wanted to visit.  Senegal is on the west coast, making it one of the closest African destinations to North America.  Senegal has several interesting attractions for eco-travelers; here are some of the things I am adding to my bucket list:

Kédougou
I really had to dig deep to find out about this and I’m still waiting to hear back from Senegal tourism for all the fine details, but what better way can there be to find all of the best spots in Senegal than with the people that live there!  The small village of Kédougou, offers eco-tourists an experience you won’t find too often, a chance to be a part of the village.  For the cost of $40 U.S., the village will take you in for a week as one of their own.  The $40 is paid directly to the villagers themselves and has allowed them to greatly increase their quality of life.  Mind you, this village is not going to provide the level of comfort amenities that will be found at the average tourist attraction, but I am thinking that this will be the best way to be able to see all of the hidden secrets of the landscape and wildlife that I am looking for.

Lake Retba (the Pink Lake)

Probably the most well-known of Senegal’s tourist attractions is Lake Retba known as the pink lake.  This lake, which looks like it is filled with Pepto Bismal, is colored pink because of a breed of rare algae that is found in the water.  The algae are attracted, because the lake contains an extremely high salt content in the water, which also allows people to float on the surface of the water effortlessly.  I didn’t see terribly much to do at this location but I would surely want to stop and take some pictures.  This lake is also located nearby the Village des tortues (turtle sanctuary), which would be a great spot to check out on the same day as the lake and make a full day’s trip.

The African Renaissance Monument
The statue, unveiled April 3, 2010, has sparked a lot of controversy in Senegal.  So many residents of Senegal live in poverty that the statue is widely criticized as a poor choice of Government spending.  However, that controversy does not take anything away from the magnificence of the art.  The figures depicted in the artwork clearly illustrate pride, success, momentum and companionship, so I can see exactly why it was built.  It is a shame that the standard of life within the country is at a level that would take away from the pride that should be associated with this piece.  People sometimes need a symbol to associate with a region, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, or the Pyramids, maybe this artwork could attract much needed attention to Senegal and end up being worth the money.  The statue is larger than the Statue of Liberty and I consider on the must see list for a Senegalese tour.

Gorée Island
This island is well known as being a symbol of liberation from the Atlantic slave trade.  It has been argued by historians that this island was not actually nearly as active a hub for slave-trading as the nearby island of St. Louise, but this theory remains disputed by the locals.  Gorée Island is home to the Statue Des Esclaves (The Slave Statue) and the Maison des Esclavesthe (House of Slaves) where it is said that millions of abducted Africans were held while waiting to be shipped to the western hemisphere to serve as slaves.  I am particularly interested in the Statue which looks to be a very inspirational piece.  Aside from all of the historical items, Gorée Island has a beautiful landscape and beach.

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