It was early morning and still dark when I stepped off an overnight flight from Washington, DC onto the tarmac of the small Dakar airport. The airplane had stopped for an hour to refuel and drop off and pick up passengers before continuing to Johannesburg, South Africa. I disembarked to visit a friend and her family for the next six days, and though I was tired, I couldn’t wait to explore Senegal.
A few hours after arriving we were on our way to Palmarin and the Sine Saloum Delta in rural Senegal. A well-paved highway takes you out of the city and further onto a two-way road through towns and villages. As the sight of Dakar faded in the distance, I looked ahead to the open road and couldn’t believe I was in Africa.
Scenes of meat and fruit stands by the roadside, unfinished buildings and crumbling sidewalks, women in colorful attire, roaming goats, salt flats and baobab trees, donkey carts and horse carts and women carrying water or pounding maize played out in front of me.
After Joal, we found ourselves on the worst road I’ve ever traveled. I thought we were going to lose a tire to the large potholes that filled the road. As we came out on the other side of that bumpy red earthy road with tires intact, I smiled.
I was on an adventure of a lifetime and on my way to spend my first night ever on the continent of Africa in a majestic Baobab tree at Collines de Niassam Lodge.