Langue de Barbarie National Park has a rich and varied ecosystem. It is a unique combination of environments (mangroves, sand dunes, the Senegal River, the Langue de Barbarie, tidal wetlands, the beach, and the ocean). Here many different species thrive, crabs, lizards, and over 160 species birds can be found throughout the park. It is a wonderful place for nature lovers, sightseers, photographers, and bird watchers to visit. The park is 18 km (11 miles) south of Saint-Louis in the region of Gandiol.
The Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie (Langue de Barbarie National Park) was established on January 9, 1976. The park was created for the protection of important sea turtle nesting sites and is also an important migratory bird sanctuary. The park is best known for its bird reproduction island and is an important stop on the European bird migration route. The site hosts over 160 different species of migratory and sedentary birds as well as numerous reptile species, crabs, monkeys and other wildlife.
The flavor of the park changes throughout the seasons offering a different experience depending on when you visit. Starting in February, bird populations are busy nesting and raising their young. This is by far the best time to visit the park. A trip to the bird reproduction island is an amazing experience. The gulls and terns gather and nest on the bird island hailing the start of the nesting season. Clouds of thousands of birds are seen swarming all over the island displaying mating behaviors, building nests, laying eggs, and raising their young.
Throughout the months the birds gradually change, each few weeks a different species of birds nests on the island. Slender billed gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, Caspian terns, royal terns, and others each take their turn nesting on the island ending in late may. These birds are not the only frequent visitors to the park, large flocks of pelicans and cormorants can be seen in the area and many small shorebirds pass through on their migration during the spring and fall months.
Summer, wet season, is probably the quietest time at the bird island, but in and around the village resident bird populations are in full breeding plumage and beautiful. Weavers are busy weaving their majestic little nests and raising their young, the beautiful long-tailed sunbirds are all decked out in metallic green and red, and common if you know where to look. This is the best time to take a walk near the village in the early morning hours, if you contact the park guides the day before, they may be willing to guide you on a walking tour. Take water, your binoculars, and a bird book and plan to come back a bit early as it gets very hot and the birds hide out during the day.
At the end of the summer to early fall an amazing thing happens, hundreds of pairs of cattle egrets and reef herons begin to nest in the trees just across from the bird reproduction island. This noisy heronry is quite an amazing site, just don’t get too close. One of the ways baby herons and egrets protect themselves is to vomit on an apparent predator. It is quite an unpleasant experience!
Finally, watch for birds while entering the region. There are a number of wetlands on your drive to the Langue de Barbarie including the Reserve de Guembeul. During the fall, winter and spring it is quite common to see large flocks of pelicans, flamingos, spoonbills, and other wetland birds throughout the area. If you are really into birds, try to visit at the end of the month during the bird counts. The Langue de Barbarie hosts monthly bird counts on the 24th and 28th of each month.
The 24th is a walking bird count starting at the park headquarters around 7:30AM until roughly 9:30AM The 28th is an amazing boat bird count starting at the dock next to the Zebrabar around 7:30AM and ending around 11AM The count goes all the way to the end of the Langue de Barbarie, the former mouth of the Senegal River. The park guides will not have a lot of time to explain things during the count, but will do so afterwords. It is a technical bird count and they need to concentrate, you may even be asked to give an estimate of the bird numbers.
Although one of the main reasons for founding the park was to protect sea turtles you will probably not see any during your visit to the park. The turtles only exit the water to lay eggs then leave for the sea again. The park has a sea turtle monitoring program. During the months of reproduction (July - October) the park conducts walks along the beach in the morning looking for sea turtle tracks. Sea turtles are an endangered species, but sometimes you see the carapaces for sale in St. Louis. Please do not purchase these shells. It will act as an incentive for people to continue the illegal harvest of these beautiful and endangered animals.
The Langue de Barbarie or the “Tongue of the Barbar” (the Barbars are an ethnic group from Maracco who lived on the Langue for over 100 years) is a narrow peninsula which extends southward from St. Louis and used to end several kilometers south of Mouit.
The ecosystem of the river has changed dramatically over the last few decades. During the night of October 3, 2003 a canal was made 5 km south of St. Louis through the Langue de Barbarie. The canal was cut to help reduce flooding in the city of St. Louis. It started out just 10 m wide but rapidly grew to about 1 km in size. It was made without conducting an environmental impact study and the ecological and economic repercussions have been drastic. The ecological balance of the region has completely changed and further compromises the quality of life for the people of Gandiol.
After just six months the natural mouth of the river closed, moving the mouth of the river north to the canal. This is causing major problems. Because of the geology and hydrology of the region, the mouth of the Senegal River is always moving south. Just off the shore of this part of Senegal, the ocean current is pushing sand southward. For a long time the mouth of the river was fairly stable and in 1920 the mouth of the river was just south of Mouit. Fort Balacoss was constructed to keep watch over the mouth of the river and a cannon was placed at the village of Guénye Gué to protect the mouth of the river from ships entering to go to St. Louis.
The mouth of the river was maintained near this location because the current from the river was strong enough to keep up with the pressure of the ocean current. However, a dam was constructed near Rosso (to stop salt water from seeping into land further up river) changing the output of the river and allowing the mouth of the river to push southward very quickly. You can see from old maps at the park just how quickly this occurred. Now history is about to repeat itself because the new mouth of the river is beginning to push southwards, unless something is done to stop it, it will be a matter of decades before the mouth of the river arrives at Mouit. This is a concern of the population as it would further disrupt the fragile fishing and farming practices in the region and destroy the ecology of the Langue. The loss of precious trees and turtle nesting beach would be devastating for the park and other wildlife living there. On the other hand, it may reverse some of the other problems the people living in the region now face.
The canal dramatically increased the level of salt in the river and soil of Gandiol pushing fields further and further from town. If you take just a short walk into the bush surrounding the village you can see that field after field have been abandon.
The canal has increased erosion of vital infrastructures such as roads and to the birds’ reproductive island (the park’s principle tourist attraction). This is due to the fact that the river was not as susceptible to the tides before the canal was dug.
Since the opening of the canal the species animals which use the river has changed. There has been a scarcity of fish in the river and the freshwater fish have moved on, being replaced by saltwater species.
A combination of the these factors in addition to the lack of infrastructure and income generating opportunities in the village has created an upward slope in urban migration in which, the educated and working-aged men, and to a lesser extent women, have migrated towards city centers like Dakar and St. Louis. Countless young men and their wives have left Senegal for the Gambia in search of better fishing opportunities. Increasing numbers of young men risk their lives to take pirogues to Spain or illegally migrate to other European countries where they hope to find work and a good income. This creates a serious development problem, widening gaps in both education and innovation throughout the region, increasing the workload pressure for women and leaving very little initiative for the youth coming of working age to remain in the village.
More often than not, it is the women that are left behind in these villages to care for families, raise children, and search for alternative sources of income to support their futures.
Flora and fauna
The park is rich with wildlife including birds, fish, lizards, pata (red) monkeys, and various other species of animals.
November marks the end of the hot season. December - May tend to be the most pleasant months to visit. The rains have ended and the weather is pleasantly cool. At times even cold. If you are visiting during these months it is good to pack a variety of clothes ranging from warm weather (22-32°C, 70s and 80s°F) clothing to jeans and sweatshirts for the cool evenings (10-25°C, 50s to 70s°F). June - September is the hot (32°-40°C, 90s to over 100°F) and rainy season. The rains come weekly to daily depending on the month but expect scorching days (hot and humid) with little breeze. If you are going to spring for a hotel with an air conditioner this would be the season to do so. October and November are still hot but the rains are stopping and the migratory birds are coming back.
Traveling to Mouit and the Langue de Barbarie National Park can be handled in many different ways. Since each person has a different budget here are a few ways that you can travel.
Rent a car: Prices vary according to the company and the car.
Hire a guide and car: Airport to any destination in Senegal. Prices start at roughly CFA 20,000 per day and increase depending on quality of the vehicle.
Personal taxi – Airport to St.Louis or Mouit: You should be able to get a personal taxi from the airport to St. Louis or Mouit for around CFA 60,000 depending on the condition of the taxi and negotiation skills. (4 people maximum.)
Some hotels or campements offer pick-up and drop off from the airport. Speak with them for their prices.
Transportation fees to and from the Gare (Garage) in Dakar and St. Louis: You will have to take a taxi take you from your hotel or airport to Gare Pompier (taxis range from CFA1,000-3,000 depending on your location in Dakar) and another taxi from the Gare in St. Louis to the Gandiol (CFA 3,000-4,000).
Sept-place (station wagon that transports up to 7 people) from Gare Pompier in Dakar to St. Louis (tourists on a budget): price of the sept-place: CFA 4,500/passenger, CFA 250-1,000 max. for baggage depending on the size of the bag and how many pieces of luggage. Other charges do not apply – some people try to take advantage of a tourists by telling them they need to pay a commission but this is simply not true. If you would like to tip porters who transport your bags, CFA 100-500 is normal. To rent out an entire sept-place it should cost about CFA 33,000-35,000 to St. Louis.
Mini cars (vans) from Gare Pompier in Dakar to St. Louis (tourists on a tight budget): mini cars cost CFA3,500 from Dakar to St. Louis and you would have to pay a small amount for baggage (CFA 100-500 maximum for most suitcases or bags). Carry valuable items with you personally – not in baggage which will be carried elsewhere. Sometimes things of value inside can go missing. Also prepare yourself for a long day. These cars have a top cruising speed of about 50 km/h and make frequent stops.
Ndiaga Ndiaye (pronounced jegg-in-jaay) (big white Mercedes buses) from Gare Pompier in Dakar to St. Louis (Tourists on a tight, tight budget): Ndiaga Ndiaye cost CFA 2,500 from Dakar to St. Louis and you will have to pay a small amount for baggage (CFA 100-500 maximum for most suitcases or bags). Carry valuable items with you personally – not in baggage which will be carried elsewhere. Sometimes things of value inside can go missing. Also prepare yourself for a long day. These buses have a top cruising speed of about 50 km/h and make frequent stops. They can also take several hours to depart considering that they fill all the seats before departure. Always look inside and count the seats which are open before paying for your pass. Operators often lie about how many seats are left in order to get more clients and you could end up waiting for hours at the gare, which is not always pleasant.
Private taxi from St. Louis to Mouit/Langue de Barbarie National Park: Once in St. Louis you can rent a taxi to go to Mouit for CFA 3,000-5,000 depending on the time of day. Night is always more expensive because there are fewer clients waiting to go to St. Louis. If you would like to visit the parks for the whole day you can rent a taxi for the entire day. Taxi prices range from CFA 7,000-10,000.
Bush taxi (taxi brousse) from St. Louis to Mouit/Langue de Barbarie National Park (tourists on a budget): bush taxis are shared taxis where each person pays a fixed amount and you wait for the taxi to fill before it departs. The bush taxis to Mouit run during daylight hours. Once in St. Louis getting to the Mouit/Langue de Barbarie National Park there are two places to catch a bush taxi. The Gare Gandiol is located in Sor at the northeast side of the round point just east of the long bridge. These taxis will drop you off near the market in Mouit and you will have to walk to the park entrance. The pass is 1,000 CFA if you are the only person going to Mouit or CFA 700 each if more than one person going to Mouit.
The second place is Gare Mbaumbaye at the Total gas station just south of the round point in Sor. These taxis are not always as nice as the Gare Gandiol taxis but the price is always CFA 700 per person.
Fees and permits
Park entrance fee: CFA 2,000 per person
- Boat tour. Boat tours leave from the Langue de Barbarie National Park headquarters on demand throughout the day from 9AM to 4PM The pirogue tours last approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours and visits either the “Bird Island” or the lighthouse at Pilote, visitors choice. Pirogues can also be hired to transport you back to St. Louis or to one of the campements on the Langue de Barbarie north of the town of Pilote, if you wish to do this you will have to discuss a price. 1-3 people CFA 7,500; 4 or more people CFA 2,500/per person. Mandatory guide: 1-5 people CFA 3,000 per group; 5 or more people CFA 5,000 per group.
- Bird Count Tour - Walking Tour. Each month the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie offers visitors a special treat.Professional bird counts are held on the 24th and 28th of each month, this offers visitors a unique opportunity to help with the count. On the 24th a walking tour leaves from the Héron Cendré Restaurant. Visitors can walk along with an écogarde and help spot water birds. Several other species of birds can also be seen during the count. Space is limited to 4 people. CFA 3,000 per group.
- Bird Count Tour - Boat Tour. On the 28th of each month the écogardes count the bird species from the Zebrabar to the old mouth of the Senegal River. This unique opportunity allows visitors to experience the full length of the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie. Gulls, terns, herons, sandpipers, plovers, pelicans and osprey are commonly seen. to 3 people: CFA 10,500; 4 or more people: CFA 3,500/person. Maximum 6 people. Add CFA 1,000/person if you would like breakfast at the end of the river.
- Bicycle Rental. A bike rental brochure is available which points out some interesting sites in the area and gives you a little information on each of them. 1 hour: CFA 1,500; 1 day: CFA 3,000.
Mouit is a small village so you can walk anywhere that you would like. The park guides at the park also rent bikes for CFA 1,500 for 1 hour or CFA 3,000 for the day.
Travel within the region of Gandiol
You can get from one village to another by taking a bush taxi, mini car, a horse-drawn cart, or a pirogue (boat). You can also be adventurous and hike to other villages.
- The Lawmare. A small tidal wetland in the shape of a crescent moon constitutes the eastern limit of the park. It is a great place to see shorebirds and many other species of migratory birds.
- Dara Salam. Discover the traditions of the Maures with a visit to the small village of Dara Salam situated about 7 km (4½ miles) south of Mouït. This is the village of Nogoye Fall. She would be happy to show you her village. Dine with a local family and stay for tea “attaya” under a Moroccan tent or talk with Noguaye to take a camel back ride. If you need assistance with communication the écogardes at the park can help.
- Fort Balacoss. Visit the ruins of Balacoss a military fort built in the 1920 during French colonial rule to help control access to the Senegal River and the capital of St. Louis. It is situated on a large sand dune which offers an extraordinary view of the river.
- The Cannon. Located near the village of Gouye Ren on the main road through Gandiol, the cannon was installed as part of Fort Balacoss in 1920. It was positioned at this strategic point to protect the former mouth of the Senegal River from invasion by sea during French colonial rule.
- The Salt Ponds. Gandiol is dotted with small salt ponds. These rich and inexhaustible ponds fill with water each year during the rainy season then dry up leaving behind a crust of valuable salt which is then extracted, treated and sold by the people in the surrounding villages. One can see piles and piles of salt covered with whatever is handy lining the edges of each of the ponds. The period of extraction is from January to May and is a major source of income.
- View the Island. Enjoy a great view of the “Birds Reproduction Islandˮ from the village of Moumbaye. This observation site offers a place to rest after your journey as well as a place to purchase a refreshing beverage.
- The Fields. Gandiol is the onion capital of Senegal. The onion fields can be found tucked between the sand dunes where the soil is perfect for raising the vegetable. Carrots, peanuts, parsnip, tomatoes and other vegetables are also grown throughout the region.
- The Lighthouse of Gandiol. Visitors can climb to the top of the 25 m tall Gandiol Lighthouse. Once used by foreign vessels to navigate the Senegal River the lighthouse continues to be maintained for the local fishermen and lighthouse lovers. CFA 500.
- Petit Musée. Found in the center of Tassinère, the Petit Musée is a charming little museum featuring the history of local art. Local art is sold in a small shop associated with the museum. CFA 500 entrance fee.
- The Mangroves. The mangroves offer nature lovers and photographers a unique experience to see many bird and animal species unique to the habitat. Found throughout the region, the mangroves are a great place to visit and explore.
- Réserve Spéciale de Faune de Guembeul. The 750 ha (1,900 acre) Reserve of Guembeul is home to scimitar-horned oryx, addax, Saharawi dorcas gazelle, and gazelle dama mohor. At one time common throughout the country, in the early 1900s, hunting or starvation wiped out the local populations. Efforts to bring them back have paid off. Partnerships with Spain, Israel, and Canada have allowed these animals to return to their native home. Guembeul is also home to the African spurred tortoise, the largest tortoise in Africa, red monkeys, monitor lizards, over 190 species of birds and many other species of wild animals. Fees: CFA 1,000 park entrance per person and CFA 3,000-5,000 for a guide per group.
There are several different tour ideas for visitors to the region.
- Half-day tour: In the morning you can easily rent a taxi from St. Louis to bring you to the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie. If you arrive around 10AM to 11AM you can place your order at the Héron Cendré restaurant before heading out on your boat tour of the park. By the time you get back you can have lunch at the restaurant and stay for a cup or two of tea before heading back to St. Louis.
- Day tour: In the morning you can rent a taxi from St. Louis to bring you to the Park National de la Langue de Barbarie. Place your lunch order and head out on the boat tour. Have lunch and a cup of tea before heading off to the Reserve de Guembeul for the afternoon, getting back to St. Louis by early evening.
- Two or more day tours: Visit each park – the Langue de Barbarie and the Reserve de Guembeul. You can camp at either one of the two parks for a rustic experience or stay at one of the many campements in the area.
- Rent a bike for the day and visit some of the historic and cultural sites in the area. If relaxation is your goal, visit one of the surrounding villages to have a henna artist create lovely semi-permanent designs on your hands and/or feet. Or have the artist come to you! The “tattooing” process takes about 3 to 5 hours and the beautiful designs last from two to three weeks. If you have your fingernails tattooed it will last until they grow out. If you don’t want the henna on your fingernails just ask the women to put tape over them.
- Take a hike: While there are no designated hiking trails the countryside is riddled with small paths. It may take a little while to find an entrance point, but if you simply follow a road that looks like it goes no where, there is usually a trail at end. There is one of these roads near the grand mosque in Mouit and others near fort Balacoss. After you do find a trail there are several forks but as long as you always know what way is west you really can’t get lost. There are some really cool birds and animals to see once you get just a little ways out into the bush. Although, snakes and scorpions are very rare in these areas just know they have the potential to be there and to avoid them if you see one.
- Souvenir Boutique: Support the local women’s groups by purchasing items from the souvenir boutique.
- Héron Cendré Restaurant: The Héron Cendré restaurant is run by the park guides. It is not part of the park, nor does it get any funding from the park. These local women will be happy to share their culture with you through local foods. The restaurant prepares one local meal per day, if you would like to call ahead you can request the type of meal you would like to try. Senegalese dishes take a long time to prepare so please be patient. It is difficult when a person simply shows up to whip something together quickly because there is no refrigeration on site and everything has to be purchased fresh at the morning market. It is best to arrive in the morning and order your lunch before you leave for the boat tour, it should be nearly finished by the time you get back. If that isn’t possible please call ahead and specify the time you would like to eat. Breakfast and dinner can also be prepared on demand. Regular operating hours for the restaurant are from 9AM to 5PM
Here are a few of the dishes which you can order.
- Ceeb-u Jen (pronounced cheeb oh jin) or Rice and Fish: Ceeb-u jen is a local favorite. This dish was created by a very famous woman who lived in St. Louis around the turn of the century. It became a fast favorite of Senegalese people throughout the country and is probably the most commonly prepared meal in this part of Senegal. You can get either ceeb-u xonq (red rice and fish) or ceeb-u weer (white rice and fish). The main difference in these two are that the red contains tomato paste and the white does not. The basic preparation is to make the sauce which contains oil, water, onions, garlic, white bisap (hibiscus flowers), tamarind, tomatoes, and buillion. The fish and vegetables are boiled until they are well cooked. They are then removed along with some of the sauce and the rice is cooked in the rest of the sauce. Traditionally the rice is spread over a large plate or in a large bowl. The veggies and fish are piled in the middle and everyone eats surrounding the bowl. It is a very tasty dish and should be tried at least once during your trip.
- Maffé Gerté: While this peanut butter-based dish is tasty it is not for those who suffer from acid reflux. It is a very rich and heavy meal and is usually served with meat or at times fish. The maffe sauce is served over a large plate of white rice.
- Yassa: This wonderful dish is one of tourists’ favorites. It uses relatively little oil and has a light and tangy flavor. There are two types yassa, yassa poisson (fish with onion sauce) or yassa poulet (chicken with onion sauce). Onions are chopped up small and are sautéed with oil, vinegar and some other ingredients. The sauce is served over white rice with the chicken or fried fish nestled on top.
- Thiou Yapp: This is basically rice with meat, it is sort of a mix between ceeb-u jen sauce and yassa sauce and is served with meat (usually lamb, but sometimes goat or beef) depending on what is available at the market that day.
- Domoda: This is an unusual looking sauce served over white rice. It is light brown in color and usually served with meat and potatoes over a bed of white rice. While it may not look all that appetizing it is surprisingly tasty.
- Moroccan Kous Kous: This is an excellent plate served with kous kous pasta with a yassa type onion sauce and with chicken. It is very good and highly suggested.
- Soupakanga: Spelled phonetically here, soupakanga is an okra-based dish often times served with fish or seafood. The sauce is red in color and has an unusual texture. If you enjoy okra you will love this plate.
- Omelet Sandwich: Onions, fries and eggs are served inside the sandwich. Expect a short wait as they items will need to be purchased from town.
- Dishes with fish – CFA 1,500 to 2,000
- Dishes with meat – CFA 2,000 to 2,500
- Dishes with chicken - CFA 2,500 to 3,000
Western meals and beverages (including alcoholic beverages) are served at all of the other hotels (campements) in the region. Prices vary depending on the hotel.
- Soda (small) – CFA 500
- Soda (large) – CFA 1,000
- Water – CFA 1,000
- Deserts – CFA 500
Alcohol is not served at the Héron Cendré.
Western meals and beverages (including alcoholic beverages) are served at all of the other hotels (campements) in the region. Prices vary depending on the hotel.
- Zebrabar, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Owned and operated by Ursula and Martin Dürig, a Swiss couple. 18 km south of St. Louis, this is the largest campement in the area and is popular with overland travelers. It is located on an island on the river front. There is a tall observation tower so you can get the lay of the land. They have many different choices of accommodations ranging from very basic to luxurious depending on your budget. The campement is run entirely by solar power and gas. There is a small playground for children (be sure to supervise your children as some of the equipment can be dangerous). Guests are also invited to use the canoe, kayaks, or wind surfing equipment for no charge. There is a bar and restaurant associated with the campement. They have the largest capacity of any campements in the region with many different choices: Camping, Mauritanian tent with bunk beds, small hut with beds only, and bungalows. Camping CFA 2,000/person. Dorm CFA 7,000. Bungalows shared bath single CFA 10-12,000, double 15-18,000, triple CFA 24,000. Bungalow private bath single CFA 15-23,000, double CFA 22-34,000, triple CFA 30-45,000..
- Teranga (Gandiole), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Open from November to May. The Teranga is a family-run campement (hotel) run by the Berraz family. Jean-Pierre and Josette and their son Theirry and his wife Samantha. This beautiful little campement is located 15km south of St. Louis near the village of Tessinére. Once in the area you can simply follow the signs to find it. There are four bungalows available for 2-3 people each and a large tent available for rent as well if you are looking for something a little more authentic. The campement has a small bar shaped like a mini car (common public transportation throughout Senegal, it looks like a large van and usually has young men hanging off the back), restaurant, pool, souvenir boutique, 4X4 rentals, and several excursions. They also have pick up and drop off services to the airport in Dakar, for prices and more information see their website. Thierry speaks a little English but no one else at the campement does, so bring your French dictionary and a bottle of mosquito spray (they can be pesky around sunset). Also if you are taking public transportation such as taxis make sure that they know to go to Teranga near Gandiol, Tessinére not the one on Hydrobase. That is a common problem and you should be aware.
- Niokobokk, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. The Niokobokk is managed and owned by Isabelle et Didier Bouilly. This quaint little bed and breakfast is located on the Senegal River 16 km south of St. Louis. The Niokobokk is an eco-lodge and is run entirely on solar power. It faces the Senegal River and from the roof you can see the river, the ocean and the canal through the Langue de Barbarie which was dug in 2003 to stop the flooding of St. Louis. It has grown from just 10 m wide to almost 1 km in size. The rooms are beautiful and comfortable. A pool is available for guests to use. The inn is located about 2 km north of the Lighthouse in Pilote. It is the only building in site. It is kid friendly with a swing set out front and babysitting services are available. The owners speak both French and English. Meals can be purchased at the inn for a reasonable fee. If you are traveling by public transportation around Senegal it would be best to have your meals at the hotel as it would be difficult to find other restaurants in the area. They can be found but they are 2-3 km or a boat ride away. This is a small bed and breakfast type inn. The capacity is 6-10 people. Single CFA 35-40,000. Double CFA 38-43,000. Breakfast CFA 3-5,000..
- Campement Ocean & Savane, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. WiFi from 19:00-24:00. Electricity 18:00-24:00. Tent on platform with exterior private bathroom CFA 29,000; bunglaows with interior private bathroom CFA 43,000..
- Those traveling on a tight budget can ask for the Chief of the Village (Chef du Village) in Mouit. He has a room he keeps for guests who are looking for a place to stay. He loves to have visitors but make sure you arrive before 22:00. He does not speak French or English so you may have to find someone who can help interpret. While he may not ask for anything in return it would be a nice gesture to offer CFA 2,000-5,000 per night or bring the family a nice gift (fruit for example).
- Camping. The campground is owned and operated by the écogarde of the Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie. This small campground is very basic and perfect for those traveling on a budget. A tent is not necessary because you can rent them from the park. There is a small bathroom with a western style toilet and shower. You will need to provide your own toilet paper and soap. Grills and a fire ring are available for use and you can probably find someone in the area to purchase wood from. There are several boutiques in town where you can purchase snacks and supplies or you can order all you meals from the Héron Cendré Restaurant or visit one of the local campements for meals. The écogardes speak very little English so you may want to have your French dictionary handy. CFA 500 per person. Tent rental: 2-person tent CFA 1,500 per night, 6-person tent CFA 3,000 per night.
Mouit and the surrounding area are quite safe. Simply use common sense and keep valuables locked up. Overall the Senegalese are an incredibly friendly and hospitable people and you will meet many people who are genuinely interested in just talking to you and making sure you are having an enjoyable time in Senegal. In case of emergency, there is a police station and a hospital located in St. Louis.
The Senegalese are a very friendly and hospitable group of people. In order to ensure receiving their friendliness, please follow the steps below.
Always greet and ask how their day is going.
Shake hands as a greeting. Warning – there are some men and women from a specific Muslim sect (hibadou) that do not touch members of the opposite sex. Do not be offended if a member of the opposite sex does not shake your hand, it is their culture. Instead clasp your hands together and clutch them to your heart in greeting. Never use your left hand to shake hands or give something to someone. It is not respectful. If you have gotten close to a person it is custom to shake their left hand when parting for long periods of time.It is a wrong that must be corrected at some point in the future, so it is a way of saying that you will see each other again someday.
Never tell a Senegalese that he/she is lying, even if you know they are. It is considered very rude.
As a tourist, you will be asked by many people to give money or gifts. Even if you want to, please do not give out money, candy, pens, etc. By giving local people items you could be making them dependent on foreigners and their aid. This also encourages the harassment of tourists and hurts tourism in the region.This can cause an already fragile economy to falter even more. If you really want to give something to the community, please go to the local schools, the écogardes at the park, or ask the campement owners where you are staying if they can help you. The principal can distribute school supplies to children most in need.
School supplies needed by children:
Notebooks Pens (blue, red, green) Folders Binders Protractor Compass (for drawing circles) Triangle Ruler Colored pencils Pencil sharpener Pencils Erasers Books in French (If you have any that you are no longer want please bring them along and donate them to a local school. Books in Senegal are very expensive! Even books in English or other languages are welcome as students may be studying a foreign language.)
It costs CFA 4,500 plus school supplies to send a child to school for one year. That is a very small price to pay but when you have 10 - 20 kids that are dependent on one provider it is impossible to send them all to school.
People from developed countries in general carry a lot of guilt because of the income gap .Please don’t let that guilt continue to hold Africa back. Because of donations that were made on the street, tourists have be swarmed by people asking for things. These people may not leave the refuge of the campement again, therefore spend no money in town.So you can see these practices can harm the local economy.
Candy is a treat that parents can easily afford. Kids eat a lot of candy the way it is. Dental hygiene is not the same in Africa as it is in developed countries. Most people never go to a dentist and many children and adults have rotting teeth early in life. If you do choose to give a treat give fruit! And please remember, the greatest gift you can give is an education.
When it is OK to give to beggars:
- Talibè - these are the small beggar boys on the street. They are Quranic students (studying the Quran - Islam). They are sent to live with marabouts (religious leaders), sometimes far from their homes. They are very young ranging in age from 4 years old to the early teens. They are supposed to be begging for food (not money) but times have changed. Some marabouts exploit the kids and they spend more time begging out on the street than they do studying the Quran. Most do not go to regular school and this may be the only education they receive. If you feel the need to give something to a talebè, please consider donating a piece of fruit or some food they do not have to cook, like a piece of bread. If you donate money you could be contributing to the further exploitation of children.
- Disabled and elderly people - These people are common beggars and do need your help. Even Senegalese people give to these beggars. If you feel like contributing money to someone these people can use your assistance. They are usually found in the larger cities - not towns. They have obvious disabilities or are old, they are not usually young, healthy individuals.
- Baye Falls - These young men dress very unusually. They carry gourdes or small, plastic dishes, have dreadlocks that are usually under a large stocking cap, wear clothing that is either tie-dyed or are patches or strips of fabric sown together. They are asking for money to help build a mosque or other causes for their religion.
Beware: In some cities and towns there are scam artists who ask tourists to take them to the store and purchase large amounts of groceries. In general, do not trust these people as they are usually working aged and in good health. They may just want a free ride. Use your best judgment, but many of them will say they have a sick child or other problems to make you feel bad and want to help them. Some may even appear well dressed and educated - just be wary.
Going back to St. Louis by bush taxi
Wait by the main road and flag down taxis. It should be CFA 500 each. This is very difficult some times of the day and you may be in for a bit of a wait. At night it can be next to impossible.
Every hotel in the region also has taxis that they can call to pick you up. Prices are more expensive then taking the bush taxis but you have the ease of choosing the time of your departure and not having to haul your luggage to the road. Prices range from CFA 3,000-5,000 (2009).
Several times throughout the day Ndiaga Ndiayes depart from the market area in Mouit for St. Louis. Price should be around CFA 300 and they are not on a set schedule although there is usually one around 09:00 and another around 10:30.
Every day except Sundays there is an early morning Ndiaga Ndiaye which departs for Thies or Dakar at 06:00 It often runs a little late. You can catch the bus near the only hardware store in Mouit. It should be CFA 2,000 each plus no more than CFA 500 for luggage (2009).