Senegal. Gore Islandand. It's been a long time since Dakar It stopped being a city with multi-colored houses, without noise or traffic or chaos, but not long ago that Dakar has become one of the most prosperous cities in West africa where many multinationals have laid their foundations for many Europeans and well-off people in Dakar to build neighborhoods for few and outsiders to an outside world that is the real world around them.
Africa has more or less prosperous capitals like Dakar that rule over the rest and remain outside the reality of these countries. Goree Island, an oasis off the coast of Dakar It is a clear example of how a city has changed for the worse, leaving behind what it was, opening the doors to consumerism and a necessary but not destructive wealth if the government and its policy handle it with caution. We are in Africa, where corruption is the order of the day, where a French franc is life and where respect and the roots of a town They are in small places in this city and everywhere outside of it. We embark on the island of Goree, a strange space if you only visit Dakar and a space where it shows you what this city was, an incredible slave output port To the new world, America.
Senegal today, one of the most prosperous countries in West Africa keep dreaming of the riches of Europe. As in the Sub-saharan africa the satellite dishes in the cities are the order of the day, where stars of the Mtv They show a non-existent reality with luxury cars and women with heart attacks and where Barcelona, Real Madrid or other English clubs open their doors to athletes from another galaxy, some of them from this area of Africa. It is not hard to find soccer schools around Dakar where kids from all over the country train in search of a dream, play in Europe. Most of them wear the colors of Barcelona and a few others from Madrid, and as in Spain, the rivalry is existing, healthier, but the big difference between them is that their shirts are not Adidas or Nike, but fakes from China or gifts from tourists. The boys who play in these fields come from all over the country from villages where drinking water or electricity is still far to come.
When you go to Goree Island from the port of Dakar you leave the reference port of this part of Africa, packed with merchandise ships. Instead, when the ferry Get to the coast of Goree, you get to another world, to another time. Wooden boats, fishermen, street vendors and heavy sellers everywhere, it is not Dakar, it is another story, it is a house for tourists and even if it is, it is an oasis of tranquility.
Way of the baobabs
Walk its streets, where children play football, where the flowers camp at ease, where the baobabs have their space, almost extinguished in Dakar, and where the roads are still of dirt or sand preserving that colonial charm, which although sad, has left beautiful buildings and an architecture reminiscent of certain populations in France.
The only way to tour the island is by walking, there are no cars, and even if they “assault you” to offer the services of a guide it is not necessary because of its size, you will not get lost, but that if, before visiting it it is advisable to read a bit of its history, because dreaming while walking is What makes this island special.
The best route is to depart from the port to the south, left for mortals, to climb the only hill on the island, where the Castel, with a panoramic view of it and overlooking Dakar.
Among its narrow streets you can find small squares and women tending clothes, although the quintessential visiting point is the Maison of the Slaves, with a disturbing story, that even the place does not contain any charm hosts one of the cruelest episodes in the history of man, slavery. Boats full of slaves departed from the Maison and in it the strongest people were selected, who "strange" to say people ..., the weakest directly threw them into the sea and separated the mothers of their children and the men of women to that shortly after they embarked to America to never see each other again in life. It is the history of man, we are cruel and invading by nature and Goree is a proof of that. In front of the Maison there is a statue in memory of this people, so that we do not forget, because stages like this are episodes that man should never have committed.
Already on the hill is the base of the Castel, a fortification built by the Dutch and that eventually some guns were added during the Second World War to defend the city of Dakar. On the hill it is also possible to find most of the stalls of the artists of the place where you can find from multi-colored clothes, pendants, necklaces or bracelets capable of dropping most of the tourists who visit them.
Gorée Island views
If you walk north from the hill you can leave different colonial buildings such as schools or administrative buildings where people live and even an unusual ground soccer field with two baobabs as goal.
The island can be visited on a long day or morning, although having lunch on it or taking a dip in its tiny beach are activities that cannot be overlooked to enjoy an island with history, an island that represents what it was Dakar and part of the history of man.
Once we have seen this tiny island we leave for Niokolo Koba, the largest national park in Senegal, but this is another trip and it is another story. Javier Blanquer
Gorée Island Beach
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When to go?
Visitable all year and a must if you arrive in Dakar. It is the first thing you see and it is the last thing you should forget, even if it is not the most beautiful in Senegal.
How to get?
Several Ferrys depart from the port of Dakar, yes, do not carry large tickets because they will not accept them. And the card, science fiction.
What to wear
The island is full of narrow streets, many of them dirt, so wear comfortable shoes. There are shops in it, so if you are hungry you can always calm your appetite in any of them.
Where to sleep?
There is some charming little hotel on the island, but we sleep in Dakar since accessing / leaving it is a precious time that we prefer to invest in Dakar. Returning to Dakar in the morning can be a small headache, because many people take the ferry to work.
The cheapest hotels are the ones facing the island of Ngor. Those in downtown Dakar, besides being expensive, are not worth it.senegalglobalpass