Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip to Casamance

I spent 10 days in Casamance, Southern Senegal for work, researching about rice production, and it was difficult to be in work mode rather than holiday mode. Firstly I got there on an overnight very modern ferry (of course I also spent a couple of hours with the engine technicians and on the bridge with the captain and pilot). Secondly I stayed in a wonderful waterfront hotel.

The place is tropical, green, full of beautiful birds and scenery, with many ecological and ethnic microcosms and very friendly people. I am ready to work and live there, it's clearly the best place in Senegal. Paradoxically, although it has the best agricultural potential of the country with abundant rain and water resources, it is also one of the poorest and very food insecure. Too long of an explanation for a blog, but it is full of potential.

So here are a few photos to try to convey the feel of the place:

View from my hotel room. How can one think of work?

The French Cultural Centre, based on the local architecture and styles which included round compounds so that the circular roof would funnel water to the centre for a water source for people and animals.

Typical inland scenery with rice fields interspersed with clumps of trees.

Sunset over Ziguinchor boats (pirogues)

Termite mound next to a crop of millet, very commonly grown in "upland" areas and which is a prime source of staple food, after rice.

Typical view of the banks of the Casamance river from the ferry.

There are many waterways called "bolongs", some are lined with mangroves and also with salt-resistant varieties of rice.

Atmospheric sunset
Casamance premier beach resort place, called Cape Skiring, very mellow though.

A bus owner everyones love: "I love my mother. The customer is king", if only it were true!
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And now for the bird life I could photograph with my quick and easy camera

Some kind of swallow on a hotel pier

Storks nesting right in the middle of Ziguinchor

All sorts of seabirds, including pelicans (not this one though)

Also many kingfishers, but they are shy.

A hotel "pet", a crowned crane.