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Published: August 25th 2017
Me, Pointe des Almadies
The westernmost point in the whole of Africa!
Greetings from home! Yay! I arrived back safely this morning after what felt like quite a long journey from West Africa, though comparatively speaking it really was only a trip down the road when compared to the long-haul flights from South America or Asia. I am tired, absolutely exhausted if I’m honest, and have been since yesterday morning. I believe yesterday my body realised I had just about come to the end of my trip, and decided to let me know it – I felt exhausted all day, and just stayed in my hotel room mainly until 4pm, when I thought it’d be a good time to take a taxi, brave Dakar’s traffic for one last time, and begin my final journey home.
A taxi ride later, a five-hour wait in the airport (my flight was on time, I just like to get there early when I have an international flight home, just to be sure!), a four-hour flight to Madrid, a four-hour layover in Madrid, and a two-hour final flight back to Gatwick, followed by a train to East Croydon station and then a taxi home from there. I arrived back around 11am this morning, and
really don’t know where the rest of the day has gone!
So, I write my final blog entry on this trip, with a few final thoughts and conclusions on what has actually turned out to be quite a challenging journey. I had initially chosen Senegal, and its comparatively peaceful neighbours of The Gambia and Cape Verde, as by all accounts the countries seemed to be the most peaceful and safest places to visit in what can really turn out to be a very volatile and dangerous part of the world. This did not mean that my trip was at all easy, in fact apart from Cape Verde when my travels between places was by comparatively luxurious propeller-winged planes, Senegal and The Gambia are still mighty tough countries to travel around. The only option for public transport is the shared, fill-up-and-go variety, there are no nice, air-conditioned buses which have on-board toilets and make rest stops. Whilst the average Senegalese and Gambian persons encountered on my journey were overall pleasant, welcoming and very nice, the streets are full of hustlers, all wanting a piece of you. It felt very much like India in this respect, but angrier and more aggressive.
Post-Trip Backpack Contents
A bit messier than before...
By politely refusing to oblige by the hustler’s requests, you are often met with insults and verbal abuse, which fortunately I couldn’t in the main part understand due to my lack of knowledge of French, or Wolof, swear words and nasty language – the tone was pretty obvious though. I believe I also mentioned that, with the exception of Cape Verde, which was a welcome change in the middle, there are neither the huge, must-see attractions that have filled my previous journeys with awe and wonder – no epic waterfalls, no stunning scenery, no native wildlife to write home about, and no bucket-list attractions. You have to dig down deep beneath the surface to find things which are attractive, and even then, it is not easy to visit these places as a solo traveller. No, I wouldn’t call Senegal “Africa for beginners”, Malawi or Kenya could easily displace it for that, I have felt the journey challenging and not always easy. Still, as I believe I have also mentioned, my trip was full of experience as well as enjoyment, and I have no regrets about visiting these countries on my summer travels for this year. I can now say I
A bit fuller than before...
have been to West Africa, I have covered this region of the world, I have added three more countries to my total to make 76, and I can probably safely say I shall not be returning to West Africa. I feel rewarded to have completed the challenge of five and a half weeks around the region, and despite returning home quite exhausted both mentally and physically, I am looking forward very much to the processing stage over the coming days and weeks – just getting to grips with what I have seen and experienced out there.
I attach a few final photos to this last blog entry for the trip – a few taken from a trip I did on Wednesday morning to the westernmost point of Dakar, itself the westernmost point of Africa – a place called Pointe des Almadies. I was able to stand on the piece of land sitting at the westernmost tip of the continent, and was glad to have done this. In the upmarket region of Les Almadies nearby, I also managed to do some last-minute souvenir shopping, and also include a photo of my yet-to-be-unpacked collection of items which I have gathered along
Off the Pointe des Almadies
the way (I plan to upload a proper photo of the souvenirs once unpacked, over the next couple of days). Indeed, I have found recently that one of the most enjoyable part of travelling I find now is the collection of unique and attractive pieces of local handicraft along the way. I still find it amazing that even setting off on a journey with two full backpacks, I am still able to somehow fit in all these little extras in there somewhere along the way. I attach a photo of my two backpacks and money-belt post-journey, which when compared to the same pre-journey, certainly seem a lot bigger and fuller. I also attach a photo of my travelling wares after having emptied the contents of said bags, and what a difference five-and-a-half weeks on the road can also make to these contents – again, comparing with the very neat pre-journey photo of what I packed, what a difference! Finally, I attach some photos of a few members of staff at the wonderful Hotel Oceanic, Dakar – a place I checked into a total of four times on my trip, and got to know these lovely people very well – what
a wonderful team of very happy, friendly and welcoming staff – thank you Hotel Oceanic 😊
So it is with great satisfaction and a wonderful sense of achievement that I conclude my travel blog for this summer trip 2017. I am currently blissfully enjoying my peaceful haven of a home once more, washing machine switched on and already tackling my travel washload, enjoying my favourite Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, and polishing off a nice packet of Marks and Spencer Salted Caramel Whips before heading off for a hot bath very shortly (I do feel quite crusty at the moment and full of African dust…) – bliss! I am looking forward now to being able to walk down the street without anybody wanting something from me, eating a meal without a dozen flies deciding to join in the feast, and sleeping peacefully at night without the worry of whether the air-conditioning will be working, or whether just a solitary fan will suffice…
Until the next time, my “Latin America/Africa/Asia” schedule is pointing to Asia next summer, with already a couple of ideas in mind for that one. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you as always
Pointe des Almadies, Dakar
travelblog.com for allowing me to record my journey and adventures this summer along the way.
All the very best
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