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This Time Next Week…

I’ll be in Senegal!

Dakar, Senegal by Jeff Attaway (Creative Commons)
Dakar, Senegal by Jeff Attaway (Creative Commons)

I’m spending three weeks traveling around this West African country and visiting my friend, Kristen, who is volunteering with the Peace Corps there. Kristen and I have been friends since high school, and I’m excited to have her show me around the country she’s called home for the last year and a half. Neither of us speak Senegal’s official language (French), but she’s fluent in Wolof (the language of Senegal’s largest ethnic group) so I’m going to be relying on her quite a bit during this trip.

Kristen and me at our graduation from Tufts University (yup, we went to high school and college together)
Kristen and me at our graduation from Tufts University (yup, we went to high school and college together)

We’re planning to spend some time in the village where she lives and works — I’ll get to meet her host family and see what her day to day life is like. We skyped a couple weeks ago to discuss some trip details like how her home has no electricity and I’ll need to rent a bike because her village sprawls. As with my trip to India, I’ll be spending three weeks enjoying high temperatures (100 degree weather, anyone?) and squat toilets.

Lac Rose by Tom Burke (Creative Commons)
Lac Rose by Tom Burke (Creative Commons)

I’m flying into the capital city of Dakar, and we’re definitely taking a trip to Lac Rose (Lake Retba), which is a naturally pink salt lake in the northwestern part of the country.

Beyond these stops, however, our plans are pretty open-ended. Considering we both enjoy the beach (having grown up in a seaside Rhode Island town), we’ll probably spend some time on the Senegalese coast. We might also head to Niokolo-Koba National Park to see hippos in the wild. To be entirely honest, though, I haven’t done much research for this trip, instead putting my faith in Kristen’s tour guiding abilities. “Go with the flow” and “enjoy the adventure” are solid enough travel plans, right?

Last December, I bought my first smart phone, and my provider (T-mobile) has unlimited data in 150 countries. Unfortunately, Senegal is not one of those countries, but I’ll try to check in on social media and share a few photos whenever I have wifi.

This will be my first international trip of 2014, and my last big trip for the foreseeable future, so, let’s hope it’s a good one!

Have you ever been to Senegal? Would you like to visit?

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


  • annekebab

    Woah.. I’ve been daydreaming about making a trip to Africa but can never decide where. There are so many places and cultures to see.. I totally wanna go see that pink lake!

    • opportunemma

      I know what you mean — Africa is a huge and varied continent. I’ve been to Fes, Morocco and I absolutely loved it, so, if you’re considering North Africa, I can’t recommend Fes enough. Now I’m excited to see a corner of West Africa, and I’ll let you know if the pink lake looks as awesome in person as it looks in photos!

  • Jean O'Donnell-Northup

    I’m always anxious to hear of your travels and see your photos! This time, I’m also very interested to hear about Kristen’s Peace Corps experience..details please. Enjoy your time with your friend!

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