Senegal With JUMP Services: Sublime Saint Louis
As the world’s most famous destinations become ever more inundated with millions of overtourists, intrepid travellers these days are seeking out places off the radar of the masses. Relaxed interactions with unhurried locals, samplings of superb cuisines yet to be discovered by gourmet magazines, sights not found in any guidebook―these are the things that excite the more adventurous traveller for whom Venice, Paris, and Barcelona are so yesterday.
Senegal is a place that offers all of the above, especially the small city of Saint-Louis in the far north of the country. Surprisingly easy to reach but practically ignored by the world’s travellers, Senegal offers an array of special experiences long remembered after the trip home. At one time, Saint-Louis was the capital of the vast territory known as French West Africa. During the colonial era, it was one of the most important cities in Africa; today, the ramshackle charms of this UNESCO World Heritage site are gaining recognition from savvy Europeans looking for a sea change of the most exotic sort. As more of the grand old buildings are transformed from a state of disrepair to a state of beauty, the city’s glow shines brighter with each passing year.
One of the most charismatic of Saint-Louis residents is Marie-Caroline Camara, the phenomenal woman who owns Au Fil du Fleuve, the city’s most charming guesthouse. A former warehouse, Au Fil du Fleuve, which means ‘along the river’, is now a chic place to stay where the English-speaking Madame Camara welcomes her guests with a regal exuberance that never seems to diminish, day or night. With only four rooms available for guests, Au Fil du Fleuve is the perfect property for friends or families looking to have a place to themselves with a full buyout. This then makes the alluring courtyard and open-air living room a true home away from home, with the added bonus of nightly cocktails served at 19:00 to start evenings off in elegant simplicity amid the interesting artworks on display.
Saint-Louis has few specific sights to see; the city in its entirety is the main attraction as visitors meander along the streets admiring the art and fashion creations exhibited in the galleries and boutiques. The Museum Of Photography, however, is one of the sights that should be included on every itinerary. One of the most beautiful of restorations, the building housing the Museum Of Photography is a principal sight on the small island that is the Old Town of Saint-Louis; flanking the island are the traditional fishing village on a narrow spit of land between the river and the Atlantic Ocean to the west as well as the modern town on the mainland east of the island. The fishermen provide Saint-Louis restaurants with an abundance of the day’s catch, prepared with exceptionally delicious sauces to make every meal a memorable experience.
Many major airlines offer service to Dakar. If flying from the Asia/Pacific region, Senegal is easily reached on Emirates with a single change of planes in Dubai. From Dakar’s brand new, state of the art Blaise Diagne International Airport, a car and driver from friendly JUMP Services can take visitors to Saint-Louis in a few hours, perhaps with a stop in Thiès to visit the impressive MSAD, Senegal’s world-famous tapestry production centre. Public transport
in Senegal is not a viable option for anyone except the die-hardest of travellers looking to save a few dollars as they backpack across Africa; the convenience and reliability of a private car with driver make travelling to Saint-Louis an enjoyable experience serving as a harbinger of the pleasure awaiting at Au Fil du Fleuve and elsewhere around the city. To make arrangements with JUMP Services, contact Mr Astacko Seck by phone or WhatsApp on +221 776 344 850. JUMP Services provides cars and drivers at a reasonable cost without the need to engage in the hassle of bargaining; Mr Seck is highly experienced in working with international visitors who prefer a fair price up front. JUMP also has vehicles for hire for travellers who wish to drive themselves as they explore Senegal, one of Africa’s most exciting destinations.