Interesting Day Trip to M’bour
After an interesting, though long, series of meetings in Dakar, my host offered to show me around the city. I was very glad about the offer. I had always looked forward to an opportunity to dive into Senegal’s beautiful capital, having read and heard a lot about the place. We agreed to go on the city tour the next day—unfortunately, it didn’t happen. My host’s wife had a different plan; she deals in seafood, and needed to visit M’bour fish market to restock. Since there was only one car, we got stuck and had to shelf our plan. However, we made a good use of this opportunity as we all hopped into the car and headed to M’bour, a bustling fishing town.
The trip to M’bour was less than 2 hours. We set out at about 2 p.m., after attending the morning section of the event I was in Senegal for, and arrived a little before 4 p.m.—I didn’t quite check the time though.
The road was good and traffic-free except in few places. I spent the bulk of the time En-route to M’bour chatting with my boss, updating her about the event. Unfortunately, I traded the sights en-route for that chat as I could not pay attention to the signs and didn’t bother to ask my host who was busy with the wheel any questions about the places we passed, though I had a passive awareness that a number of towns and notable sites exist by the road. Of course, I could not have missed the Calèche—a donkey cart used for transportation in Senegal.
My host later introduced the city when we got there. M’Bour is in the Thiès Region of Senegal. It lies on the Petite Côte, approximately 80km south of Dakar. Tourism, fishing and peanut processing are the mainstay of the people there. He said the big M’Bour consists of M’Bour, Saly and Somone. Of the three, Saly seem to be the main tourism capital, while M’bour is renowned for its fishes.
As we drove through what my host called the big M’bour, I could tell the stark contrast between Saly and M’bour, though the two places are just some 10 minutes’ drive apart. M’bour is very traditional and pretty African, Saly on the other is more touristy, with nice resort area.
Beyond the fish market however, M’bour has evolved into an alternative base for tourist seeking luxury on low budget. There are many standardized hotels in the town that give guests the perfect tourist feel.
My host’s cousin works in one such luxury hotels in the middle of M’bour. We stopped by to say hello and he offered to show us around; the sight was magnificent. The hotel is close to the beach, and from its premises, I could see the glittering sea, joyous spray of fuschia flowers and people playing by the beach. I noticed two young wrestlers too, they were bathed in the fine sand of the beach—I guess they just finished training. Then when I saw what the hotel called its pool, for some minutes, time froze! The cool blue oasis of a swimming pool was simply amazing. I was so tempted to plunge into it. (Unfortunately, I was not with my camera here)
We had only about an hour before the fishermen return to the dock with their catch—they usually do at 5 p.m, and we had spent a bulk of the time at the hotel. We left the place at some minutes before 5 p.m and headed to the fish market.
I could tell that the dock was a major ‘fishing factory’ in Senegal from the smell I perceived before we even got there. As we approached it, I could see dozens of ornately painted vessels with anglers bringing in their daily catch. Then there was the crowd of industry players, contributing to the riotous colour, sounds and smell that characterised the scene.
We’d love to hear what you think of M’bour.