Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parc National de Langue de Barbarie Excursion

“This park includes the far southern tip of the Langue de Barbarie peninsula, the estuary of the Senegal River (which contains two small islands) and a section of the mainland on the other side of the estuary. The park covers a total area of 2000 hectares, and is home to numerous water birds, swelled from November to April by migrant birds from Europe. If you choose to come to the park independently, you must first go to the park office at Mouit to pay your entrance fee. At the river you can hire a pirogue (traditional canoe). ” -Lonely Planet Book: Senegal

On 10/24/2008 (our last day of class before we would begin working our final projects), we had an excursion to the Langue de Barbarie. This has been one of the highlights, of not only my stay in St. Louis, but during my entire stay in Senegal. The park was absolutely gorgeous, there were no trash piles, the water was clean and “blue-ish”, the amount of green, lush vegetation was almost overwhelming, and there were lots of migrating birds. As a group we had a chance to ride in pirogues down the river and had an informative talk on the birds of the region, as well as the park. Our pirogue ride lasted about an hour and was followed by a picnic (catered by La Louisiane, featuring yassa poulet and Swiss cheese sandwiches, bananas, watermelon, and fruit juices) and swim on the beach. We had a really good opportunity to spend time with the Senegalese students, jumping and swimming in the water with our clothes on (because only about three people brought bathing suits).

**Random tidbits about the day: There were two Spaniards that we picked up and spent the entire day with, Myra had a mild a mild case of malaria, Val was at Myra’s side in the hospital the night before until 4AM, Anne-Marie became extremely ill half-way through the day and was driven back home with Yakham…

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