As she welcomed me into her home to take this photo, I was told her backyard view was the best in the Casamance, a region once condemned for a separatist violence that has since slowed tourism almost to a complete halt. She did indeed have an incredible elevated viewpoint, showcasing one of Cap Skirring’s best stretches of beach. Unfortunately, governments continue to run tourism advisory warnings against visiting this area of Senegal, even though the region is now safe and open for business.
He was busy plowing the family fields when I visited his village on an island in the Casamance region. His village works hard for several months, then takes the rest of the year to relax and enjoy life. Children will leave the island to attend school, but often return after graduation to help with farming, and because the island lifestyle can’t be beat. I visited while on a guided boat tour from Cap Skirring, with a company who does a wonderful job educating tourists on the local way of life.
She was selling vegetables in front of her husband's art gallery, located in a once popular tourism hotspot along the coast of Senegal. Now that the stigma of ebola is finally fading, visitation is increasing again. Senegal had only one confirmed case in 2014, yet the disease decimated tourism and caused a major downturn in the economy. She was shy with me at first, but eventually warmed up. I could sense that she’s ready for tourism to return once again.
Senegal has a long-running peaceful political history since gaining independence from France in 1960, and it shows. Running into laid-back and happy locals like the young man photographed here is an everyday occurrence. He owns a clothing stall, which I was drawn to for the quality and style of the women’s fashions he had on display. I asked if he loves his job and he said “of course, I get to socialize and be outside all day.” Stress-free living in the beach towns of Senegal.
Say hello to West Africa's welcoming coastline where delectable seafood, a lively music scene and friendly locals will have you coming back for more.
Makes a Comeback
Far away from the capital city of Dakar lays a slip of land called the Casamance, which is separated geographically from the rest of Senegal by the boundaries of neighbouring country Gambia. In the past the region has been afflicted by sporadic violence, due to a separatist movement that surfaced in the 80s and 90s. Today, international travel advisories continue to warn against travel to the area, even though violence has disappeared in the last couple of decades.
All of this aside, if you're looking to relax on a deserted beach, eat fresh seafood, go on an island tour to experience authentic Senegalese farming life, hang out at a bustling bar scene or settle into a quiet beachside resort, then Casamance is for you. Senegal is a quick flight from Europe, and the regional Casamance city of Ziguinchor has daily flights into the area.