19
Sat, Aug

The Bijagos archipelago south of Senegal in Guinea-Bissau

One of 88 islands of the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea-Bissau. Sublime this jewel of biodiversity.

Outdoors

Manatees, antelopes, crocodiles of the Nile, & c. A miniature Africa preserved in a string of 88 islands forming a reserve of biodiversity where the earth fauna crosses the most beautiful marine species.


The boat runs at 40 km per hour towards the horizon. At this speed, the surface of the water becomes as hard as a metal plate on which the skiff ricochets. After an hour's sailing in a straight line, the coast disappears in the mist and the waves turn from brown to azure blue, a sign that one left the immense estuary of the Rio Geba, which flows into the sea near Of Bissau, the capital of the former Portuguese Guinea. But it takes another hour to reach the heart of the Bijagos archipelago. This set of 84 islands, which fit within 100 km on 100, is the closest tropical biodiversity reserve in Europe. Some see the remains of the mythical Atlantis.

The Bijagos are a strange people who live surrounded by water but who do not love the sea. This goes back to the eighteenth century. The Bijagos then engaged in piracy, attacking the ships passing aboard the kaniabak, the great canoes of war. Excessively, the Portuguese, who controlled the coast, launched a bloody expedition of reprisals, killing, burning and shaving the villages. The Bijagos concluded that the spirits of the sea had become angry with them. Since then, bijagos villages have been built at a good distance from the coast. On 25 000 inhabitants in the archipelago, there are no more 200 who practice fishing. The natives do not eat fish: they feed on rice and palm oil, as well as chickens, pigs and goats. The cows are intended for sacred ceremonies. Women pick up oysters, knives and crabs at low tide.

Science poison

Most fishermen come from Senegal and neighboring Guinea-Conakry, attracted by the fabulous fishery resources of the area. As long as they do not settle on the sacred islands, reserved for ritual initiation practices, they are welcome. Offenders are kindly warned by the elders. If they do not run away, they expose themselves to the formidable science of the Bijagos in matters of poisoning, and fall one after the other, struck by a mysterious evil. But this knowledge is also at the service of an incredible pharmacopoeia: the Bijagos treat almost everything with their plants, even the bites of pythons, mambas or other vipers of Gabon. And malaria. It is better not to fall seriously ill: there is a dispensary and a nurse in everything and for everything in the islands.

The Bijagos are welcoming, but their traditions must be respected. There is no question of setting up a tourist camp without their consent. This is the first thing Gilles Develay has assured himself. This former backpacker is a tall blonde of 54 years old, who fell in love with the corner during one of his innumerable trips. Eighteen years he frequents the islands, thirteen he lives in Bubaque, the largest island of the archipelago, with his Senegalese wife and their two daughters. "It's a perfect place. Everything grows, there is groundwater all year round, even in case of drought. There is no risk that mass tourism will destroy this fragile ecosystem. To build his hotel, Casa Afrikana, Develay had to import all the construction equipment of Senegal. It takes twenty hours of sailing in a large dugout canoe to join Ziguinchor, the main town of the province of Casamance. Even today, everything comes from Senegal, even the essence. For the rest, you have to be a handyman: Develay has installed everything himself, the parable, which connects him to the Internet, fax and telephone, radio, generator and billiards. His hotel is limited to four large rooms. Like all the camps of the Bijagos, which are counted on the fingers of both hands, Develay aims at a very "sharp" clientele: these are sports fishing enthusiasts. Bijagos: carangues, red carps, barracudas, various rays, sea bream, mackerels, emperors, soles, turbos, aiguillettes, cobias, Senegalese otholites, sharks ...

Popper or launch

Gilles Develay practices all kinds of peaches: Rapallo (a lure that is allowed to drag 2 to 3 meters under water), to the popper (other lure imitating a wounded fish), to the throw (with a piece of mule to Attract prey) ... The motor boats are equipped with a GPS and a sonar to locate the schools of fish. But all the technology will not replace an intimate knowledge of the seabed acquired throughout its years of fishing. In one week it is quite possible to bring back to the end of its line a tiger shark of 250 kg. However, this profusion does not prevent Develay from being respectful of resources: "On 30 fish caught, I keep only 4 or 5. I force customers to put the fish back into the sea, if only to calm their sense of predation, to teach them to respect their environment. "

However, these good resolutions weigh little on the damage caused by European and Asian factory ships, which cross offshore and bring back 10 tons of fish per trawl to keep only 200 kg of a sought-after species. These degradations are not solely the result of industrial fishing: large canoes from Senegal can carry up to 25 tons of fish, kept in large wooden crates with salt ice.

The extreme poverty of Guinea-Bissau is at the same time its best protection and its worst defect. It was thanks to it that it was able to remain preserved, but it is because of it that the worst traffics there.

Giant lizards

No matter what, in any case disturb the frolics of sea hippos, monkeys and giant lizards that populate the archipelago. The Bijagos are both a natural reserve and a miniature Africa, "an Africa before the rampage", as Develay likes to say. There are gazelles, parrots, lizards, manatees, cobs of reeds, otters and even crocodiles of the Nile. Without counting the kites, the fishing eagles and the goshawk which crosses heavens that even Turner would have had trouble to imagine. Often, while men are fishing, their wives leave to discover the wonders of the Bijagos. On the 88, only about 20 are inhabited and, in all, there must be no more 200 rooms in the archipelago. Almost enough to take a Robinson.

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Why I Love Senegal

Experience the Saloum delta forest of the ocean (WEO)

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Experience the delta of Saloum the forest of the ocean

PARTICIPANT MOTIVATION

- Search for natural, cultural and historical authenticity
- Meet people
- Relaxation and rest in a natural setting
- To discover, to know and to acquire a positive experience
- Contributing to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage

HIGHLIGHTS OF TRAVEL

- Biosphere Reserve (1981)
- Wetlands of International Importance (1984 Ramsar Site)
- The Delta of Saloum and its vestiges of more than two millennia of human occupation are inscribed on the list of World Heritage of Unesco (2011)
- Allowed in the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World (2005)
- The Community Nature Reserve
- Variety and diversity of ecosystems and areas of observation: savannah and aquatic environment
- The fabulous mangrove ecosystem
- Forests of baobabs
- Easy access to observation areas
- Abundant and easy to see aquatic and terrestrial fauna
- One of the biggest ornithological sites in Africa
- The Biosphere Reserve is home to the Saloum Delta National Park
- Ecological trail in Bamboung
- Calm, insulation and natural beauty of the site
- Possibility of seaside activity (bathing supervised)
- Free ride in canoe kayak in the bolongs
- It benefits greatly from the sun and sea air
- Hiking without difficulty
- Location of accommodation in the middle of nature (Keur Bamboung) on ​​the banks of the bolong allowing easy access to the observation areas
- Meetings and exchanges with local populations
- Indigenous populations in hospitals
- Discover local products: restoration, crafts
- Discover traditional socio-economic activities such as fishing, gathering etc.
- Discover traditional local architecture
- Historic, Religious and Sacred Sites
- Discovery of archaeological sites (clumps of shells)
- dynamic and informative guides

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Why I Like Senegal

Dakar, cosmopolitan and historic city

Dakar, capital of Senegal and former capital of French West Africa, is built on a magnificent site, the Cape Verde peninsula, backed by the Atlantic Ocean and bounded by two headlands: the North, the Almadies with east beaches Ngor, Yoff and Cambérène. Its location at the western end of Africa has encouraged the first settlers, and trade with the New World, and gives it a unique position at the intersection of African and European cultures. A beauty legacy infrastructure of the colonial era - the harbor, the railway station, town hall, the Kermel market, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, the museum Théodore Monod African art in Dakar, the Cathedral of African Remembrance, the famous Sandaga market in neo-Sudanese architecture - were added newer buildings and attraction sites such as the great mosque, the Gate of the Third Millennium and craft village Soumbédioune. the Magdalen Islands, the two hills Udders, the mysterious island of Teunguène are among other attractions to discover Dakar.


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Why I Like Senegal

Casamance, a green Africa

A green Africa postcards with orchards, deep forests and vast beaches, Casamance region is a very special Senegal. Dense forests, beaches lined with coconut trees Cape Skirring in Abene, its islands, mangrove and mangrove forests, its mysterious villages and rice fields are as many prestigious hotel chains have settled. The people of Casamance have managed to preserve their originality and traditions.


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Why I Like Senegal

La Petite Cote, a beach area

With its villages built on piles of shells and beaches, the Small Coast is the tourist region of the country. It covers almost 70 km southeast of Dakar, between Rufisque and Joal Fadiouth. A still calm sea, protected by the Cape Verde peninsula that attenuates the effects of sea breezes, a succession of beaches interspersed with picturesque fishing villages but also baobab forests, an ever-present sun, this is the table that offer visitors the vision Mbodiène villages, Joal-Fadiouth, Joal Finio Pointe Sarene Yenne, Toubab Diallaw, Ndayane, Popenguine, Somone, etc.


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Why I Like Senegal

The Senegal-Oriental, the imagination of Africa

Real end of the world, the region of Eastern Senegal is certainly the richest in surprises and scenery of Senegal. It's a little urbanized region, Africa such as one can dream. This is the only hilly area of ​​the country with its stunning scenery, beautiful wildlife and ethnic traditions still well anchored.


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Why I Like Senegal

The Sine-Saloum, between land and sea

Ramsar site in 1984 for the importance of its wetlands, World Heritage in 2011 and the title of Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1980, 2005 also admitted in the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World , the Saloum delta is one of the most beautiful natural areas of Senegal. It is a vast territory between land and sea, where hundreds of islands and islets covered with small savannas, mangroves or mangrove, is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa. We meet many mammals and many species of birds. Marine life is also abundant.


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Why I Love Senegal

Saint-Louis and its parks, a heritage region

In addition to a society whose lifestyles and conviviality are so unique, Saint-Louis is a treasure trove of infrastructures and buildings, witnesses to the glorious history of this former capital of French West Africa. Located on an island in the delta of the Senegal River, the city of Saint-Louis or the majestic "African Venice" is classified in the world heritage list by Unesco. Its natural parks, its charming beaches and its famous fishing district of Guet-Ndar also make the destination Saint-Louis a great attraction of Senegal.


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Why I Love Senegal

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Cap Marniane, a certain idea of ​​paradise in the islands of Saloum (WEO)

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Why I Love Senegal

Cap Marniane, a certain idea of ​​paradise in the islands of Saloum

PARTICIPANT MOTIVATION

- Search for natural and cultural authenticity
- Meet people
- Relaxation and rest in a natural setting
- To discover, to know and to acquire a positive experience
- Contributing to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage

HIGHLIGHTS OF TRAVEL

- Biosphere Reserve (1981)
- Wetlands of International Importance (1984 Ramsar Site)
- The Delta of Saloum and its vestiges of more than two millennia of human occupation are inscribed on the list of World Heritage of Unesco (2011)
- Allowed in the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World (2005)
- A beautiful landscape of savannah, mangroves, roniers and baobabs
- Close observation of birds and the fabulous mangrove ecosystem
- Calm, insulation and natural beauty of the site
- Between sea and land, an environment of great ecological wealth
- Location of accommodation in the middle of nature on the banks of the bolong
- Possibility of seaside activity (bathing supervised)
- Free ride in canoe kayak in the bolongs
- It benefits greatly from the sun and sea air
- Hiking without difficulty
- Traditional African Villages, Authentic Cultures
- The African bush
- Colorful and eventful market
- Discover traditional local architecture
- Welcoming and Welcoming Indigenous Peoples
- Ethnic diversity
- Meetings and exchanges with local populations
- Cultural event: Yippi dance
- Mysticism and local belief
- Historic, Religious and Sacred Sites
- Discovery of the traditional daily and socio-economic activities of the populations
- Discover local products: restoration, crafts
- dynamic and informative guides

PourquoiJaimeLeSenegal

Why I Love Senegal

Cap Marniane, a certain idea of ​​paradise in the islands of Saloum (WEO / DEVIS)

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Live between mangroves, villages, sacred places and fine sand (WEO)

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Why I Love Senegal

Live between mangroves, villages, sacred places and fine sand

PARTICIPANT MOTIVATION

- Search for natural and cultural authenticity
- Meet people
- Relaxation and rest in a natural setting
- To discover, to know and to acquire a positive experience
- Contributing to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage

HIGHLIGHTS OF TRAVEL

- Biosphere Reserve (1981)
- Wetlands of International Importance (1984 Ramsar Site)
- The Delta of Saloum and its vestiges of more than two millennia of human occupation are inscribed on the list of World Heritage of Unesco (2011)
- Allowed in the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World (2005)
- Sangomar Marine Protected Area (2014)
- A beautiful landscape of savannah, mangroves, palm trees, coconut palms and baobabs
- Close observation of birds and the fabulous mangrove ecosystem
- Calm, insulation and natural beauty of the site
- Between sea and land, an environment of great ecological wealth
- Location of accommodation in the middle of nature, in front of the sea
- Possibility of seaside activity (bathing supervised)
- Rowing canoe trip in the bolongs
- It benefits greatly from the sun and sea air
- Hiking without difficulty
- Traditional African Villages, Authentic Cultures
- The African bush
- Colorful and eventful market
- Discover traditional local architecture
- Welcoming and Welcoming Indigenous Peoples
- Ethnic diversity
- Meetings and exchanges with local populations
- Mysticism and local belief
- Historic, Religious and Sacred Sites
- Discovery of the traditional daily and socio-economic activities of the populations
- Discover local products: restoration, crafts
- dynamic and informative guides

PourquoiJaimeLeSenegal

Why I Love Senegal

Live between mangroves, villages, sacred places and fine sand (WEO / DEVIS)

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